Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, you might remember the canteens with the fixed tables and rows of fixed blue seats… . they were industrial, ‘wipe clean’ and brutal to look at and use. There certainly wasn’t modern break away spaces or chill out zones to eat your lunch in comfort. This was it, you ate fast and left.

Cafeteria design has gone pretty posh, with more schools moving towards a sensory approach as well as a practical one. Thanks to Jamie Oliver, things have moved away from ‘Chips and Gravy ‘to healthier ‘Salmon Nuggets and veg’. And it’s clear the environment where we eat our delicious meals is changing too.

Here are a few ways to get your school canteen design in this decade:

Salad buffet tables

Stations that are dedicated to fresh healthy salad can be really appealing when done right. If you have space, a well-presented fruit and vegetable station can be really enticing for children.

Trendy décor

Metro tiles, wood panelling, neon lights, colourful signage… If it feels like a restaurant a teenager would enjoy then you have nailed it. We understand not every school has the space or budget for this kind of design, but small details like cool tiles and signs can make a big difference in giving a space some branding and style.

Different seating options

Lunch anxiety is a real thing for school kids. Some children prefer smaller tables tucked away with their close friends, some children sit on large tables in the centre of the room. Giving children options can change their school experience. Try adding a range of table sizes for open spaces, enclosed booths for shyer children and high stools and tables to separate spaces. Canteens don’t need to be uninspiring.

We pushed the boundaries and offered a creative school canteen design for Eaton Square School, with playful colours, lighting and serving options. Even if your options are limited due to restrictions on space, adding colour and funky lighting can change the way a cafeteria feels.

In conclusion, the days of bland, industrial canteens are long gone. With a focus on healthy eating and sensory experiences, schools are now designing their cafeterias to be more inviting and enjoyable spaces for students. Looking for a new canteen design? We have heaps of experience. Get in touch with us for a bespoke school cafeteria design, and we can promise no fixed blue seating (if you don’t want it!)