Approaching interior design for the education sector demands a careful approach. Whereas in your own home you can let your taste guide your way and your budget set your limits, buying for a room you will not use presents very different considerations. This article offers a brief look at what you need to consider when buying for interiors in a residential education setting. Taste The first casualty of buying interiors that others are to live in is
your own taste. When choosing the right look you need to jettison your taste, or at least as much as you can. Consider the age-group of the residents and how much time they will spend in the accommodation. Hotel room design is a good starting point, as although this will be the resident’s home for a while it still retains the generic needs of a hotel room, in that the main aim is to be as neutral as possible. You cannot possibly cater to all tastes so it is better to at least offend as few as possible. If you have a child of the same age-group or a member of your wider family that is a student then ask them to take a look at some ideas of fabrics and colours to see what they like, or failing that find out what they really dislike. There are specialist companies that supply both the hotel industry and the education sector and these websites can be not only a good starting point but a cost-effective source for your needs. Safety There are strict fire regulations around what is called ‘sleeping accommodation’ when it is provided as a service. Make sure you have read the current regulations and follow the rules on fire-retardant bedding, curtains and furniture. Again, a reputable company that is set up to supply to the hotel or education sector will have all products clearly marked for their fire-retardant qualities. Function The key phrase here is ‘hard-wearing’. Children and young adults have rarely ever bought their own bedding or curtains and this means they will not respect its cost or its care. There is no point in putting your faith in rules, except the rule that you should plan for disrespect of the room you provide. Buy products that are hard-wearing and even if the initial cost is higher this will save money in the long-term. Also, keep in mind that the rooms you will buy for are, in part, for studying. If it is a higher education setting then the room will be a primary location for the student’s reading and computer use. Colours, lighting and the placement of furniture should fit the function of a room where reading will be a daily activity. For a private boarding school environment little extras like black-out curtain linings can add something to the design of a room, demonstrating consideration for a child who might struggle to sleep away from home. Costs In the current economic times cost consideration is more important than ever. If you are fitting out a number of rooms then of course it is best to buy in bulk from one supplier. The more items you can source from one place the stronger you can negotiate on price. All rooms needn’t be the same, though, you can theme rooms by breaking them into three or four groups so that adjoining rooms are differently accented in colours and fabric patterns. Fire retardant fabrics can be expensive when bought from the household name shops, so again look to firms that understand the budget constraints of buying for the education sector.