The increasing demand for more colour and design elements for kindergartens and schools is easily achieved with wallpapers featuring interesting patterns and materials. In recent years there has been a lot of progress in terms of wall décor for class rooms, common rooms, canteens and hallways, especially in some of the larger cities. Nevertheless, there is still a predominance of conventional (and, quite frankly, boring) glass fibre wallpapers because they are low-maintenance and meet both practical as well as legal requirements.
But modern designer and pattern wallpapers often also fulfil the criteria of fire protection, cleaning characteristics and robustness, as well as health and safety. In addition, they are enormously beneficial in terms of the psychological effect on body and soul - a very significant aspect in educational facilities.
In this Guide, we'll look closer at the design options with wallpaper in kindergartens, playschools and schools and explain practical and functional requirements. We will examine questions like the following: Which designs encourage creativity and energy, or contribute to a sense of relaxation during periods of rest in the relevant rooms of educational facilities? Which specific criteria determine the choice of wallpapers for these facilities?
When it comes to patterns, motifs and materials, this Guide can only provide suggestions as most schools and kindergartens have a specific, individual educational concept that the school environment should reflect. As a consequence, generalisations simply won't work.
Stipulations and requirements for wallpapers in kindergartens and schools
Fire protection, cleaning and care characteristics, robustness, health and safety aspects, and light-resistance are the most important parameters for wallpapers in kindergartens and schools.
- Fire Protection
In terms of fire protection definitions, wallpapers belong to the "textiles" category. In public buildings (e.g. kindergartens and schools), these need to come with the classification "flame-resistant" (or "of low flammability"/"hardly flammable"), according to European Fire Safety Standards DIN 4102 or DIN EN 13501-1 (Construction Material Class 1/B1). The term "flame-resistant" means that even though these wallpapers can burn, they have a self-extinguishing effect which prevents fires from spreading. This effect is the result of a special impregnation coating.
In the United States, the Standard NFPA and the Californian Testing Standard CA 1237 are the main fire protection regulations for textiles in public buildings. In Asia (India), there is, amongst others, Certificate F-13039.
The article descriptions of our wallpapers provide information regarding fire behaviour under the header "Characteristics". In terms of fire protection regulations, the qualification "flame-resistant" alone is not sufficient proof - a written certificate is required. If you are an interior designer or outfitter for kindergartens and schools and are interested in a specific wallpaper model, please don't hesitate to contact us so we can let you know if a fire protection certificate is available for it.
- Robustness, hygiene, climate
Any place where a large number of children and teenagers come together daily requires robust wallpapers. Impact resistance, tear resistance, abrasion and rub resistance, as well as water vapour permeability are the main factors that need to be considered in schools and kindergartens. This is why it is so important to choose the right material with the relevant characteristics. Fleece, textile and some natural wallpapers (e.g. cork and grass models) are particularly suitable.
Cleanability is determined by the following categorisations: water-resistant, wash-resistant, highly wash-resistant, scrub-resistant and highly scrub-resistant. For kindergartens and schools, wash-resistant to scrub-resistant wallpapers are best, bearing in mind that coatings and finishes should be examined in terms of pollutants/harmful substances and climate properties. We are happy to help you with all your questions.
- Absence of pollutants
Unfortunately, reports of harmful emissions in schools and kindergartens are anything but rare. However, it is of the utmost importance to rule out the presence of any pollutants in educational facilities. This can only be achieved by choosing products very carefully and with sufficient background information, based on seals of approval and certificates.
The younger the child, the more delicate their immune system as it hasn't been able to develop to an adult's strength. Young bodies still need to produce antibodies for many illnesses. Due to this fact, non-toxic wallpaper is a top priority in facilities used by children.
But how can harmful substances - and the degree to which they are present - be identified? Legislation clearly defines requirements and maximum levels, but at the moment, no labelling obligation is in place. This puts the onus on those responsible for purchasing wallpapers. Seals of approval, quality marks or certificates are extremely useful pointers, as is any relevant information provided by the manufacturer.
In Germany, where Wallpapers from the 70s is based, there are two seals of approval associated with (the absence of) noxious substances:
1. RAL Certificate
In Germany, the RAL Certificate is the relevant indicator for wallpapers which contain no harmful substances and do not exceed the legal limits for specific substances. Wallpapers with the RAL Certificate comply with the European DIN Standards EN 233 and 266 and are free from verifiable vinyl chloride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), volatile plasticisers, lead, cadmium, pigments that contain heavy metals, and chlorinated or aromatic solvents. Any formaldehydes present are below the legal limits.
2. Phtalate-Free Seal of Approval
Phtalates are plasticisers that are harmful to health and environment. The relatively new German seal of approval "Phtalate-Free" guarantees that products which have been awarded the seal are checked for toxic substances, based on European quality criteria. The values determined have to be under 0.01% to receive the certificate.
In this context, the seal "Blue Angel" ("Blauer Engel") should be mentioned. It is awarded for products and services that are more environmentally friendly than comparable conventional products and services. Under its mantel, products and services from various categories are checked - amongst them "Paper and Print", which includes wallpaper. For instance, wallpapers with the Blue Angel certificate are made of 100% recycled paper and only non-toxic colours and lacquers and low-emission glues are used in production.
Applying for seals of approval is the responsibility of the manufacturers. If you'd like to find out more about the absence of pollutants in individual wallpapers in our range, please do not hesitate to contact us; we will get the relevant information from the manufacturer.
- Light Resistance
Kindergartens and schools are often equipped with large windows and glass fronts and usually require intense lighting. Consequently, light-resistance is an important topic when it comes to choosing wallpapers for these facilities. The term defines the ability of a wallpaper to retain its colour(s) after exposure to light. These are the classifications and their titles:
- Excellent light-resistance/light-fastness - Value 7
- Very good light-resistance/light-fastness - Value 6
- Good light-resistance/light-fastness - Value 5
- Satisfactory light-resistance/light-fastness - Value 4
The light-resistance/light-fastness value is determined by the light conditions in a room and the demands on the wallpaper. We recommend a thorough analysis and consultation before choosing wallpapers. Feel free to contact us with your questions - we also provide an experienced architect service to support you.
Positive effects of design wallpapers
Interior design concepts with innovative wallpapers in schools and kindergartens have a positive impact in various ways. Let's look at first impressions, for instance. It is important that parents and children feel comfortable even when they first visit an educational facility, and one of the main aspects to achieve this is visual perception. A wood-panelled concrete block won't leave the same impression as a friendly, open and creatively designed space.
Wallpapers can set the scene and emphasise the underlying guiding principles of the school as well as its historic background and values. Patterns and colours have a proven psychological impact on us. In hallways, corridors and common rooms, they stimulate communication, in study areas they help with concentration and activities, in recreational and quiet areas they have a relaxing and calming effect. Patterns evoke associations and create meaningful connections. Sterile atmospheres are lightened. Nature or textile wallpapers can positively influence the objective and subjective sense of warmth. In addition, nature wallpapers provide excellent climate-regulating properties.
Today's children spend more time in kindergartens and schools - a fact that has lead to a re-think of which factors promote well-being, especially in all-day childcare facilities. Wallpapers are a great way to create comfortable spaces for youngsters.
Integration of wallpapers in educational concepts
Every kindergarten and school has a specific pedagogical concept which is reflected in its furnishings and interior design. One of the practical examples are forest and nature kindergartens which introduce children to the flora and fauna in their surroundings and to topics like the protection of the environment and environmental awareness in a playful manner. Choosing nature wallpapers with surfaces made from grasses, cork bark or bamboo emphasises this pedagogical concept and creates a healthy climate in classrooms. Child-friendly floral wallpapers cover the entire spectrum of plants and are another perfect option for forest kindergartens.
The interior design approach using pattern and material wallpapers has to meet a variety of requirements and cover different ages so that both children and teenagers enjoy them. In other words: The chosen wallpapers should be attractive to everyone.
Kindergartens, schools and private environments are fundamentally different in terms of how they are used. In educational facilities, the emphasis is on the transfer of knowledge and social development, whilst at home, relaxation and leisure activities take precedence. Therefore, patterns and materials that are perfect for the home are not always suitable for kindergartens and schools. Budgeting is also a significant aspect, as premium-quality design wallpapers that match home needs are not necessarily a financially feasible choice for the classroom.
Good planning is the key to coherent, harmonious, cost-effective interior design with wallpapers that also meets all requirements.
Wallpapers designs for kindergartens
The main function of kindergartens is to introduce small children to the idea of socialisation with others and to foster and train their development of motor and sensory skills. Furthermore, playschools and kindergartens are exceedingly creative spaces, providing plenty of room for the imagination. Pattern wallpapers are a great choice for relaxation rooms and activity rooms alike, and entrance areas can also benefit from their cheerful effect.
Clear geometric patterns, e.g. diamond shapes, circles, dots, or stripes in basic colours promote perceptive abilities and the distinction between shapes and colours - and they add joy to the room, too. Animal characters are an essential part of any child's play world. For instance: wallpapers with animal motifs, a fun-filled zoo or mysterious underwater-worlds are a good choice for foyers or playrooms.
Activity wallpapers are a fabulous opportunity for the smallest kids' self expression. Amongst them are, to name but a few, washable wallpapers which can be scribbled and drawn on with chalk, or wallpapers with empty picture frame designs which can become a pin board for the artistic creations of your children. The frame wallpaper is also perfect for a portrait gallery of the staff, so kids will find it easier to identify them.
Kindergartens usually have relaxation or nap areas. Wallpapers with relaxing patterns, e.g. stars, clouds or sheep, are the perfect backdrop for a little snooze.
The designs and colours should always be suitable for boys and girls alike. Unusual kids' wallpapers are a fabulous idea for feature walls, for instance in changing areas. Check out our Wallpaper Shop for models like Emma, Marga or Ralo.
Wallpaper pattern inspirations for schools
In terms of patterns and designs, secondary schools are faced with the challenge of achieving acceptance from students of all ages and genders, whilst also trying to find a sense of harmony with the pedagogical concept and help with important aspects like concentration, discipline and willingness to learn.
As mentioned above, the difference between school and home life is an important issue for children and teenagers. Even though school should of course be a place of well-being, the sense of freedom and leisure and the "homely" feel are counter-productive here. Consequently, the patterns and motifs of design wallpapers should be selected according to the purpose of each space. Feature walls should be given preference to avoid a sense of being overwhelmed. Wallpapers should neither be too distracting nor too stimulating for students. They should either pick up on the teaching subject or provide a relaxing effect.
In primary schools (children aged 5 to 11), wallpapers with letter or number patterns as well as simple geometric motifs help kids understand the subject areas and enhance motivation in classrooms. Colours should be pleasant, light, not too garish or bright, as this would distract and overtax children. For corridors and hallways as well as common or break rooms, the chosen patterned wallpapers can be stimulating to the imagination and selected to create a specific topical ambience. How about a tropical jungle, a palm garden or a lush natural landscape?
For secondary schools, e.g. comprehensives which include secondary modern schools, junior high schools and grammar schools, pattern designs can be selected based on various criteria:
If classrooms are predominantly used for specific subjects, the pattern can align with the the topic. Examples: geometric wallpapers for subjects like maths, chemistry, or physics, as this creates an interesting and topical visual connection. Floral models are most suitable for subjects like natural history and bio-chemistry. For rooms where English and foreign languages are taught, typographic wallpapers are perfect. Arts and crafts lessons suit abstract and unusual, colourful patterns. Individual wallpaper sheets can be arranged in any number of ways (why not let the students have a go?) to create individual pattern images which combine theory and practice in a beautiful manner.
Classrooms and libraries are places of calm and concentration. Single-coloured textile wallpapers provide a comfortable atmosphere conducive to working and learning. Dining halls, cafeterias, corridors and break room are areas for a bit of light relief, to switch off for a little while and gather new energy. Here, a bit of colour and stimulation does not go amiss, as long as the theme of the pattern/motif wallpaper isn't too specific and meets the needs of various ages and genders. Modern graphic patterns, relaxed retro designs, fascinating geometric patterns with multi-dimensional effects, or realistic imitation wood in matching colours are a great choice.
For foyers, central corridors and hallways or stairways, patterned wallpapers with historic themes or those referring to the guiding principles, values and focus areas of the school are a stylish and befitting idea. Many schools are named after famous personalities like poets, authors, artists or scientists, and specific wallpaper patterns can create a direct or indirect association with them. Architectural characteristics, the era the building was built in, or other historic connections can be reflected in Baroque or Art Nouveau, Bauhaus or Modern Art style wallpapers. Many educational institutions are based on pedagogic concepts which can be visualised with wallpaper motifs. The possibilities are almost endless. Get in touch - together, we will find the ultimate wallpapers for your facility.