9 Elements To Consider When Designing Your Next School Dining Hall

Whilst every school is different, the challenges faced within school dining tend to be the same. Feeding hundreds of students in a timeframe generally no longer than an hour is undeniably a feat. Many of the best restaurants would be hard-pushed to achieve the same results.

1. Sound Management

Dining spaces are subject to a lot of excess sound. A number of ongoing conversations causes an increase of noise, to which students often respond to by speaking louder to be physically heard by their group of friends. Due to eating spaces requiring easy-clean finishes, walls and floors are often hard, which further increases sound reverberation.

2. Lighting


Lighting is one of the most important features of dining hall design. It can make all the difference to the overall dining experience. Take a look at the way your dining hall is lit  – is there a lot of natural light, or are there areas that fall outside the direct sunlight coming in the windows. 

3. Food service & traffic flow

Giving students easy access to food service is a crucial part of dining hall design. Consider traffic flow within your space, and pay particular attention to entrance and exit routes.

4. Hygeine and waste disposal

In today’s world correct handling and recycling of waste products, along with improving hygeine standards call for an effective waste management system.

5. Décor and display

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Choosing the right design style for your dining space is important. If you are designing your space for younger children, choose brighter colours and functional furniture. For older students, a more adult café-style design may be appropriate.

6. Furniture

Always choose dining furniture that will give you the best whole-life value for money. The heavy use of dining spaces means that furniture will need to withstand a lot of wear. Look for suppliers with long guarantees and quality products, not necessarily the cheapest price.

7. Flooring


Flooring is an often overlooked part of the dining experience. Due to the heavy daily use, dining hall flooring must be durable. However, it needn’t be boring. You can add colour features and patterns to add interest to the space.

8. Ventilation, Temperature And Odour Control

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Extracting the smell of freshly baked food into the surrounding area can also help to increase school dinner take up. Try creating positive atmosphere pressure in any cooking areas adjacent to queues.

9. Student experience

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Offering your students an excellent dining experience is without a doubt an important part of their learning experience. It may be beneficial to create a range of eating spaces, to cater for a range of tastes and users – especially for older students and 6th formers. 

There is a lot to consider when it comes to designing your new dining hall! 

Creating an inspirational school refectory is not as easy as it seems. It is important to bear in mind all the different factors. Before making any changes, it is necessary to establish the aims of your project, and form an idea of what the desired outcome should look like. Having a clear objective helps you to focus your efforts, and ensure that you are working towards a change for the better – not just refreshing your space for the sake of it.

Want to get started?


Make sure that you are getting the best return on your investment from your project by speaking to an experienced company today. Minimise wasted time, stress and hassle by guaranteeing that your chosen design will work for your students right from day one.

Here at Envoplan, we believe that happy people do more. We are passionate about helping schools and colleges to offer their students an enhanced learning environment. We build creative, well-designed furniture and interiors to help schools to enhance results, improve behaviour and attract talented students and staff. 

We have over 40 years’ experience in creating inspirational learning environments.Get in touch to find out how we can help you to create an inspirational dining space.

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