Have you ever thought about the significance of creative classroom setup in the productive learning experience of students?

Studies say that the seating arrangement of students in a classroom or the structure of a classroom design has a lot to do with the overall teaching and learning results.

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Understanding the importance, schools are going for creative ways to make the classroom design learning-friendly for students which enhances their thinking ability, creativity, and teamwork.

Learning is also about how spaces are allotted smartly in classrooms and how students utilize individual spaces wisely.

However, not all designs are apt for everyone as this depends a lot on student age and size, teaching style and objectives as well as classroom size and shape.

Here we are discussing some of the most commonly followed creative classroom setup that can promote thinking in students while enhancing the learning outcome.

1. Traditional Rows/Columns

classroom setup

This is suitable for all class sizes but is more of a teacher-centered arrangement. However, this format encourages productivity as it gives options for individual work.

When it comes to test-taking, demonstrations, and presentations, this is the best available choice. It is a lot easier to supervise and there are minimal chances for cheating and disruption.

2. Clusters

classroom setup

In this arrangement, desks are clustered into small groups. This is a learner-centered classroom setup ideal for classes of all sizes.

This arrangement gives students a personal and safe environment to convey their ideas.

Moreover, it enhances teamwork and cooperation. In addition to promoting thinking skills, its possibilities will trigger and develop problem-solving, reflection and communication skills.

3. Horseshoe Setup

classroom setup

This is an amazing classroom setup where interaction among students and between student and teacher is possible.

This is one of the best formats where interaction with the whole class is made easy.

When it comes to presentations, the class area will be good enough. This setup encourages student participation and fosters the better connection between educators and students.


classroom setup

This is an efficient classroom arrangement if there are students of different learning levels or behavioral problems. This format gives the flexibility to group students according to their preferences.

For example, students who prefer individual work can be seated in rows and those who are into discussion-based activities can be arranged in a mini horseshoe set up in another part of the classroom.

‘Google Room’: This is a wonderful classroom for students of all categories. The design will have lots of colors, structures, and shapes. Have different light sources in the arrangement and more of natural light if possible.

This design will have flexible options for students to work in groups, in pairs or individual learning if needed. This format can include standing, sitting, openness and collaboration all in one space.

5. Geometric Mix

This is a fun and interesting classroom setup that takes away the boredom of traditional chairs and desks concept.

You can be more creative in this approach and go for a mix of rows, semi-circled tables or groups. The idea is to give a geometry finish to your classroom by creatively combining tables and desks.

6. Standing Desks

classroom setup

This type of arrangement is very popular in teaching subjects like graphics where students have a lot of drawing to be done. How about making this a regular classroom setup?

Despite the type of subjects, students would love to go for this kind of arrangement. Moreover, the student posture in this setup can benefit them a lot in being more creative.

7. Two Sides

classroom setup

This is a variation of the traditional classroom setup with a few additional benefits. The classroom is split into two halves and each side will have desks arranged in rows but facing each other.

Teaching strategies that make use of talking and discussion will have better results with this design. You may even go for angled rows.

8. One Group + 4 Rows

classroom setup

In this interesting classroom setup, there will be a single group which will be complemented well by 4 rows. This is an ideal design when a group of students is working on a particular project but the whole class is commonly working towards another single project. This approach can be used collaboratively for better results.

9. Two Circles

classroom setup

This is an amazing classroom set up where students can see each other and participate better during conversations.

Also Read: Top 11 Classroom Challenges According to Teachers

One big circle may not be a feasible option for larger classes and splitting it into two circles can do the trick.

Teachers will also have better control over the activities and paves way for good and flexible classroom management.

10. Giant Oval

This type of arrangement is commonly used for team building activities. However, you can extend the set up to a regular classroom arrangement for better learning outcomes.

Teachers and students can have productive and interactive sessions for seminars, discussions, debates and Accountable Talk.

11. 2 Groups + 2 Rows

This is a variation of the One Group + 4 Rows arrangement that was discussed above.

However, this design will have 2 groups and 2 rows which give the hint that the class is almost split into two equal halves.

This method is ideal when 2 groups are working on two projects and the entire class is working on a common one.

12. Runway

This is an alternative option that can be tried for smaller classes where the prominence will be more on the educator. In this arrangement, there will be two rows of facing desks and educator makes use of the runway between them to teach the subject and convey the ideas more easily.

This format can be great for discussions when students can easily express their views without any hindrance.

13. Differentiation Stations

You might have heard about differentiation stations when looking for activities to help students with engaged learning. Why not make this a regular classroom setup which can very well enhance the learning outcome?

The idea is about physically grouping students based on their reading level, background knowledge and individual skill. This will help them to think, understand, and learn the subject in a way that fits their ability.

14. Learning Labs

This classroom setup is more about arranging the unit to let students have some collaborative learning space. This design helps students to stand, sit and easily move around while working towards the final goal. You can make use of the high desks which are usually seen in science labs to get the maximum benefit.

15. Rotating Groups

This format of classroom arrangement is more focussed on the lesson design and workflow and has very little to no impact on the shape of desks.

The purpose of the idea is to let students to work together in groups in whichever way feasible to achieve a common goal.

This design can be implemented just for a single class or for a particular week or for extended periods.

16. Stadium Seating

classroom setup

This classroom arrangement can remind us of a stadium except for the fact that all are facing on one side.

This is a variation of the runway and traditional row configuration in which desks are grouped into clusters that faces the educator.

Even when this is ideal for teacher-centric classes, there is a great scope for better interaction and discussion.

17. Fishbowl

This is another learning strategy that can be designed as a classroom set up for an extended period or as a permanent solution. In this format, there will be a student group in the middle of the classroom and the rest of them form a circle outside which faces the other group.

The student group in the middle will be engaged in reading roles, solving puzzles or art analysis when the outside circle participates as a backchannel. This format gives a chance for everyone to share their voice or thought.

18. Middle Circle, Outer Square

This is, in fact, a geometric variation of the arrangement we see in the fishbowl setup. This format will have a circle on the inside and square on the outside or it can even be vice versa.

However, the size of the circle can be modified to make it feasible to include a large cluster of students which makes it ideal for daily classes.

19. Open Square

This classroom set up is more or less similar to the giant oval arrangement. However, the design has included an open square within the arrangement and this open side will be set up to face the board.

A big table can be arranged in the middle where everyone can keep their materials.

20. Teacher in the Middle

This is an interesting variation of the regular classroom set up. In common traditional formats, the teacher will have space in front of the classroom where they have a chair and table.

In this format, the teacher will move to the middle of the class which gives him/her better control of what is happening in the class. However, it depends on how effectively the teacher makes use of the option as this gives great scope for better interactive sessions.

21. Function Pods

This is more or less similar to the differentiation station classroom arrangement. The idea here is that the focus is more on task and lesson differentiation. This is more like literature circles where each of the students will have a particular role.

Instead of using it as just an activity for a particular period, the whole classroom is designed in that setup.

22. Maker Spaces

classroom setup

The way the design is implemented is highly dependent on the student grade level, content area, and the available space.

However, experts say that any type of classroom can give a dedicated making space even if space is restricted. The focus should be on how to make it happen in the given space.

A mixed approach of Google room and learning labs strategy can work well with this concept.

23. Flexible Seating

classroom setup

This is a wonderful classroom concept where there is no restriction for the seating arrangements. Students can go for their favorite ones depending on their interests.

This helps them to be more relaxed which lets them think freely and express easily. The setup can include multiple options like rocking chairs, couches, high tables, stools, coffee tables or even a bathtub to relax during free hours.

24. A Learning Studio

classroom setup

This has nothing similar to a traditional classroom setup. It can always be a collaboration of design studio mixed with a maker space along with a library and a lot more.

The basic theme of the arrangement can be something similar to a popular design like that of Starbucks. This helps students to learn smartly without actually having the feel of learning.

25. Innovative Classroom Arrangements

In addition to the creative classroom setups that we have already discussed, you can incorporate one or more of the following ideas in the designs to make it even more awesome. Let us see a few ideas:

  • Set up a classroom stage which trains students to learn more about public speaking
  • Include a globe, colorful supplies, and calendars for lower grade students
  • Have exit slip magnetic baskets to have quick informative feedback
  • Go for weekly agenda charts to keep track of weekly work
  • Set up small classroom libraries to improve their reading skills
  • Display book covers on walls to invoke their interest for reading
  • Wall decor with inspirational quotes and classroom rules
  • Set up a space to exhibit excellent student works

To Wrap it up

It is also a great idea to involve the students before deciding the classroom setup. This will give them a sense of belonging and they will come up with out of the box ideas that you cannot imagine.

Whichever setup you choose for your class, make sure that there is enough space for collaboration and creation, writable spaces and most importantly a space for showcasing the learning skills.

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It is also important to clear walkways when designing an arrangement so that students and teachers can access every point of the class without many hurdles.

Teacher-Student proximity is the key to any arrangement and it is a must to consider whole class cohesiveness before the final design.

The best part is that it would be a great idea to change the arrangements once in a while. This will not only avoid the boredom but helps students not to develop a fixed mindset. Moreover, this will enable them to be more open to fresh ideas or changes at any time.