Set the tone right in your classroom

I have been fascinated with color, art & design since I can remember. I’ve read Feng Shui: Harmonizing your inner & outer space a few times and re-painted my apartment in Reykjavik several times because I know that colors influence the way I think, feel, and behave—often without my conscious awareness.

Colors affect the way we feel. For example:

  • Yellow is associated with happiness and motivation. Soft, subtle yellows promote concentration while brighter shades can stimulate the memory and increases metabolism.
  • Orange has a distinctly social nature, inspiring interpersonal communication and putting people at ease.
  • Pink creates a calming atmosphere.
  • Green has been shown to increase reading speed and memory. Green has a soothing effect on the body and mind, reducing anxiety, promoting concentration & is associated with calm, growth and compassion.
  • Blue calms the mind and body, lowering blood pressure, heart rate and respiration and decreasing feelings of anxiety and aggression.


I have tried to bring colors into my classroom to create an environment for my students that fits best what we are doing. I wasn’t allowed to paint my classroom so I had to figure out other ways to create a cozy atmosphere. For example I bought these lamps and turned them on whenever I wanted a real calm feel to my classroom. I tried incenses, relaxing music, posters on the wall, flowers, candles and so on.


But I was never fully satisfied with the results. These lamps, with regular incandescent light bulbs, weren’t enough to bring the room to life. I could easily bring a calm setting to the classroom by turning the lamps on, putting on relaxing music and even candles and thought that was all I could do since I’m not allowed to paint my classroom (I’ve switched classrooms every year as well…)

But then I saw this ad:

I was amazed and instantly thought:

tji_brightidea copy

“This is what I want for my classroom”.

And I still do. But most people laughed at my idea because:

A: It’s $199 for Three Hue light bulbs, One Hue bridge + an extra bulb is $59…. which sounds like a lot of money.
B: They think I just want this to incorporate more technology in my classroom

They are both right. $200 is a lot of money for light bulbs and I do want to incorporate more technology into my classroom (where we already have a 1:1 iPad program).
But changing the light bulb 14 times instead of once is a hassle, having to paint my classroom every few years is draining and I can’t change the colors to fit what we are doing unless I re-paint.

Hue is supposed to last around 15000 hours, it should be on for 10  hours a day for 200 days of school… that means you shouldn’t have to change this light bulb for 7,5 years…. that’s $200 / 7,5 years …. which adds up to about $25 a year for this. I know most teachers don’t have $200 laying around to buy 3 light bulbs but I know some districts give teachers $ to buy things they need for their classroom every year. I suggest you spend this years budget (if you get one) on this. I believe HUE would bring a great atmosphere to the classroom and you could set the tone to fit what the class is doing.

I went and did the math to see how much it would be 7,5 years down the road. Is it cheaper in the long run to replace 25 of my old incandescent light bulbs with Philips HUE LED bulbs?


I know classrooms don’t all use regular old lightbulbs like these:


But again we might have a lamp here and there in the classroom that has them which we could replace with these:


I don’t know why they say it’s a lighting system for your home… In my mind it’s mainly a lighting system for a classroom and schools. I see a lot more use in these within my classroom then my home. First of all, we are in our classroom for about 8-10 hours a day. And there are about 20 people in there at once. Your living room usually holds 1-4 people for 3 hours a day and the lights would usually be the same setting… (relaxing night setting I guess). In a classroom you have to do different things, and set the tone right.

For reading, communication and social projects you’d put on a green tone, for lightness & creativity you’d put a yellow/orange tone on. For a calm, kind and relaxing atmosphere you’d turn the color to blue, for meditation and imagination you’d bring purple lighting in and so on.

The Colors of the Classroom

Pale yellow/almond
• Best colors for not irritating anyone
• Good general color for school hallways

Light pink/rose
• Very soothing
• Suitable for a room where the activity is high

• Creativity…is inspired by the color green
• Green is a great color for an art room
• An excellent choice for a creative writing center

• The color of academics
• Best color for a science or math room
• Light blue is a good overall classroom color because it’s calming

Orange, yellow and red
• Bright yellow excites the brain and body
• The color orange seems to agitate

Source: Color and Learning: How does Color Affect
Our Thinking and Feeling? by Barbara Pytel.

What is good is if you would move classrooms or schools you’d just bring the light bulbs with you. I for one am going to buy this next fall to try it for myself. Hope you do it to.

Happy HUE-ing

Ingvi Hrannar
Icelandic Elementary Teacher

Other stuff:

Coloring your home

Thanks to:

Inforgraphic from:

Photos from:

Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson

Creator | Educator | Designer | Everything I produce is work in progress | Stanford Alumni in Learning, Design & Technology Twitter: @IngviOmarsson / @IngviHrannar

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