Latest trends in classroom layout to get the best engagement from your students

28 January, 2020

Latest trends in  classroom layout

A classroom is more than just four walls, a roof, and some desks. For many students, a classroom is the epicentre of their learning, so it should come as no surprise that a quality classroom can make all the difference when it comes to student performance and outcomes.

But, did you know that classroom layout and design can have a huge impact on a student’s ability to engage in their own learning and perform at the top of their academic abilities? While many classrooms follow a traditional format with rows of desks and a teacher in front of a chalkboard, these days, we know that different classroom layouts can impact student learning in meaningful ways. 

Coming up, we’ll discuss some of the latest trends in classroom layout so you can help your students perform at their best. Here we go!

Humble beginnings

If you spent time within a traditional school system, you’ve probably experienced the classic classroom layout. In this model, students are seated in rows of desks with their focus placed firmly on the teacher at the front of the room.

This kind of traditional classroom design stems from a philosophy that teachers hold all the knowledge and that students are sponges that need to sit and listen to learn as much as they can. These days, however, we know that some of the best learning happens when students actively engage with their education - not when they’re passive entities.

Thus, the traditional classroom model just isn’t sufficient to meet our students’ learning needs. The answer? A progressive classroom layout. Here are some ideas:

Contemporary classroom design

These days, many teachers are bucking up against the traditional classroom design trends, in favor of more progressive classroom layouts that better engage students and facilitate their own learning. However, not all non-traditional classroom designs are the same. Indeed, if you’re looking to shake up your current classroom layout, there are some best practices you ought to keep in mind:

Keep things flexible

While the traditional classroom model is rigid and stable, new classroom design trends leave behind those bulky desks in favor of furniture that can be customized to best meet the needs of your lessons. For example, newer classroom furniture offerings make it easy to rearrange a classroom for a full-class discussion or small group projects at a moment’s notice, so your students can always be set up for success.

Opt for collaboration

Although traditional teaching systems focused on the growth of the individual, contemporary approaches to education recognise that students get a lot out of collaborative projects. So, when setting up your classroom, look for furniture and designs that better enable students to work together in collaborative workspaces.

Multiple seating options

Have you ever noticed that traditional classroom chairs are hard and uncomfortable? While some people think that uncomfortable seating can make it more difficult for students to doze off or daydream, many contemporary classroom designs include a wide array of student seating options, from traditional chairs and desks to bean bags, couches, and exercise balls. Every student is unique, so having a variety of seating options on hand can help each student find what works for them.

Consider design factors

Although new furniture and an abundance of different seating options can help students feel more comfortable in a classroom, simply throwing together a bunch of different chairs and couches isn’t guaranteed to improve your students’ learning outcomes. Rather, it’s important to consider the effects of individual design elements in your classroom on your class’ performance.

Indeed, classroom design can have a large impact on your student’s academic progress. The main factors that influence classroom design and student performance include:


The light in your classroom can affect the feel of the space. In fact, the more natural light - and the better quality of the light in your classroom - can encourage engagement. However, it’s important to be able to control the level of lighting to suit different activities.


As we’ve already mentioned, the ability to re-arrange your classroom to meet the needs of your students and your lesson plan can better facilitate learning and skills development.


Especially when it comes to seating, it’s important to give students choices. What one student might find comfortable in a chair might be completely at odds with another student’s preferences. A classroom with a number of different seating options can help students take ownership of their own well-being in the class.


A good balance of color and visual stimulation around a classroom helps foster a sense of excitement and can help increase student engagement.


Good interior design is simple, yet varied, with plenty of order built-in. Strive for a variety of different decor that works together as part of cohesive whole for better balance in the classroom.

Ultimately, every classroom is different, so when it comes to revamping your classroom layout for the upcoming school year, you want to first consider the needs of your students and work from there. By starting with your students’ needs as the foundation of your design, you’ll be able to create a better learning environment within your classroom that enhances your lessons instead of detracts from them.

Regardless of how you choose to design your classroom, remember that trends in classroom layout tend to shift and change as new research demonstrates the impacts of different design elements on student learning outcomes. The important thing is to stay flexible, open to feedback, and attentive to how your classroom layout affects your students during the upcoming school year and beyond.

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