My preschool room walls have moved from primary colours to pastels and finally, FINALLY magnolia (it was a tough battle but I got my dream in the end) and I honestly can’t tell you why I wanted them magnolia except for the fact that it was a neutral colour. No, I hadn’t done loads of research to discover the hidden benefits of magnolia but in all honesty, when was the last time you read up about colour theory when choosing paint, flooring, furnishings, etc? You like what you like and not every minute decision needs to be justified. That said, I do think it is important to constantly reflect and know why our environments look the way they look.
For me, the aesthetics of my environment are balanced heavily with my pedagogy. Open-ended resources are my thing, they harness creativity, inclusivity and play - many of these resources just so happen to be made of wood or come from foraging in nature (conkers, stones, sticks, etc) and all of those things are usually varying colours of brown.
I invest in quality resources that will last, plastic toy cars are notorious for breaking so I choose to invest in wooden cars and other wooden toys.
A neutral back drop is open-ended; my wooden dolls house (it’s entirely plain wood) can become whatever the children want it to become. I have seen it become a jungle with the addition of wild animals and faux grass or a spaceship with tinfoil flooring and even just a house with the addition of hand drawn rugs - so many more possibilities than providing a plastic dolls house with all the fixtures and fittings already in place.
I have read quite a lot about the benefits of natural light and magnolia is a great colour to bounce the light around the room.
I have a lot, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT of resources. I want them to be available all of the time because I want children to have freedom to choose what to play with, when to play with them and how many times they’d like to revisit them but this can look very overwhelming. A neutral colour pallet actually removes the overwhelm without removing any of the resources.
When you question why everything is beige it’s like going to a forest and saying ‘All this green is so boring, where is the variety’ because the variety isn’t often in the colour but in the textures, the uses, the smells and the shapes. Just because a room is filled with variations of brown/beige doesn’t mean that it’s not filled to bursting with opportunities!
As a final note, I would like to point out that art and creativity is also central to my pedagogy and we have a wide range of art supplies in varying colours, inevitably though, the children mix all the paints to a rather drab brown!
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