Dining Halls

Important considerations for your dining hall

The dining hall should be a pleasant place for students to recharge, relax and develop important social skills in.

Amenities have a big impact on a student’s choice of school or college so think carefully about how you can create the most attractive dining experience.

Trends in dining hall design

There has been a shift towards a modern, restaurant feel style design when it comes to school dining spaces, which is a far cry from the traditional large, stuffy dining halls of the past. Comfort and convenience are key to modern school dining facilities along with providing a welcoming design that facilitates eatingand socialising.

Temperature

If your dining hall is too hot or too cold students are likely to rush their meals and get out into a more comfortable environment. This can result in poor digestion which will have negative impacts on the child’s learning and concentration levels when they are back in class.

Lighting

Bright lighting in dining environments has a stimulating effect, encouraging students to eat well. Make as much use of natural light as possible as it helps to enhance wellbeing. If students are able to see out of a window this helps to connect them with nature which is proved to have a motivating effect.

One of the simplest ways to create a calming environment is by controlling excessive background noise. Being able to hear each other properly is important for students to develop their social skills.

Acoustic felt panels offer an affordable solution to managing excessive noise AND can add a little creativity to your dining hall.Our Ȍra acoustic felt panels are available in three options to suit your budget; coloured panels, printed murals and bespoke printed panels.

Ȍra acoustic panels are durable, resistant to staining and easily cleaned which makes them a highly practical solution for dining halls.

Decoration

Dining halls should have a bright, fresh feel but before choosing your wall colours consider carefully the psychological impact and the emotional effect that different colours can have. They can animate or depress, stimulate or tranquilise, unify or divide, make larger or smaller, invite conversation or disagreement, and provoke interest or confusion!

Think carefully about the atmosphere you want your dining hall to create and plan your colour scheme accordingly.
Including wall graphics will add visual interest and can act as informative signage for designated areas within the dining hall, for example the waste disposal area.

Creating a stimulating environment helps to make the lunch hour an enjoyable experience for students.

Flooring

The flooring in your school dining hall needs to be highly versatile to sustain the hard use it will get, this may mean that you will need to spend a little bit more on the flooring initially but you can be assured that you won’t have to replace it for years to come. It must be easily washable to allow for suitable hygiene standards. There are now so many highly durable and practical floorings that also offer pleasing aesthetic design.

Age Appropriate Furniture

For younger children mobile bench tables are an ideal solution. These table seating units can be set up and moved around easily and with their attached seating they can serve 25%-40% more students than tables with separate chairs in the same space. They are available in a wide range of colours, giving you the opportunity to make the dining experience more fun for your younger students.

Groups of smaller tables and individual chairs or poseur height tables with bar stools works well for older students. A variation of dining furniture options in a dining area for older students gives them the choice of where to sit and take a break.

Furniture Materials

Dining hall furniture needs to be made of durable materials to ensure that they'll give maximum use over a long period of time. Furniture with solid surfaces such as Trespa and tough grade laminate are more resistant to damage and stay in safe, hygienic condition for longer.

For any upholstered furniture in your dining hall we suggest that you select fabrics such as vinyl that are easy to keep clean. Some vinyl fabrics also have antimicrobial properties, developed to provide a high level of protection against attack by micro-organisms. This makes it a higly practical fabric for use in areas in which food is consumed.

Comfort

A comfortable environment will encourage students to take time eating their lunches, this is good for developing good manners and prevents hinderance to digestion. Disturbed digestion could lead to drowsiness and a lack of concentration in the afternoon. But it's important to get the balance right, students also need to be encouraged to get some physical activity and fresh air.

Design & Aesthetics

With an almost inexhaustible range of dining furniture available, the school dining hall is one of the easiest areas to create an inspiring design that follows a specific theme or style. For example, you could create an industrial style by pairing black wireframe dining chairs with concrete-effect table tops.

Flexibility

If your dining hall is likely to get used for other activities outside of dining hours such as school assemblies or indoor PE, consider opting for furniture that easy to move and store. Mobile flip top tables are an ideal solution and can be nested into each other to store neatly. Mobile bench or stool table units are also a perfect for setting up and packing away efficiently. Choose dining chairs that are stackable and preferably that come with a transport dolly.

We have a range of resources to make planning your Dining Hall refurbishment easy and hassle free.
You can download our Project Panning Guide packed full of key considerations and options for different layouts and you can also get some visual inspiration from our image gallery.
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