Maximizing Campus Space: Space-Saving Outdoor Furniture Solutions

Maximizing Campus Space

| Jan 4, 2024

Space-saving outdoor furniture is designed to optimize the use of small or limited spaces. Universities and colleges often must accommodate various activities on campus while providing comfortable seating and gathering areas. The goal of space-saving furnishings is to minimize the amount of space they occupy outside or stored away indoors, and these options typically have multifunctional uses.

If you’re looking for outdoor furniture for small college courtyards or limited spaces, we’ll help you find ways to use available space strategically and get the most out of any campus area.

The Importance of Maximizing Outdoor Spaces on Campus

Campus spaces, such as courtyards, gardens, and open lawns, play a vital role in enhancing the overall experience for students. These areas provide opportunities for relaxation, social interaction, and recreational activities among students, faculty, and staff. A well-designed campus landscape is functional and convenient while also being aesthetically pleasing. By maximizing outdoor spaces, a college can create vibrant campus environments that help foster a sense of belonging.

The benefits of spending more time outside start in childhood and continue into adulthood. Being outdoors — whether studying, dining, or socializing — remains essential for the health and well-being of college and university students.

There are many more reasons why maximizing outdoor campus spaces is so important, including:

  • Health and wellness: Students and staff will feel more inclined to spend time outside, which will help improve their physical and mental health. Access to green spaces has been shown to lower stress and anxiety and improve focus and attention.
  • Cost-effectiveness: As your student population grows, renovating campus grounds and adding outdoor furniture is less expensive compared to the investment of constructing brand-new campus buildings and facilities.
  • Sustainability: Outdoor spaces help conserve natural settings and provide opportunities for green designs and features.
  • Multifunctionality: If designed well, some areas can serve many purposes, from outdoor study areas and eating spaces to gathering and meeting points.
  • Accessibility: Outdoor areas need to be accessible for everyone and applicable to a variety of students’ needs. Site furnishing designs must follow accessibility standards, and there should be furniture options for both group collaboration and individual alone time.
  • Connecting with nature: Students, faculty, and staff spend many hours indoors, attending class, studying in the library, and completing day-to-day responsibilities. Getting outside and engaging more with their natural surroundings has the ability to benefit every member of your community on campus.
  • Enhanced creativity: Studying and collaborating outside can inspire creativity and promote new ways of thinking. For example, a student can study while sitting at a picnic table to experience a change of scenery from their dorm room or the library.

4 Ways to Use Space-Efficient Outdoor Furniture for Colleges

College and university campuses are well-designed, but as more students enroll, additional facilities and dormitories need to be added. This growth can lead to less space for integrated routes between buildings and areas for students, faculty, and staff to gather outdoors.

In terms of admissions and recruiting, one of the first things prospective students notice is the campus and landscaping. Keeping your campus in pristine condition can help attract talented students, but doing so can be challenging for smaller colleges or those in highly populated areas.

Here are four ways that colleges and universities can optimize their campus areas with space-efficient outdoor furniture:

  1. Maximize space with outdoor benches: Benches can be placed at building entrances and along campus trails for students to sit or study. You can even customize benches by adding your college’s logo or using them to honor donors and alumni. Consider choosing similar bench colors and designs for consistency across campus.
  1. Create varied outdoor learning areas: Students are often looking for new study spaces to change up their environment. Providing dining sets with tables and chairs enables them to easily form study groups. Plan the layout so that some tables are placed in the shade, or add commercial umbrellas to provide shade on sunny days.
  2. Keep spaces clean and litter-free: Everyone on campus can pitch in to keep the grounds looking their best with strategically placed trash receptacles. Colleges can also show their support for the environment by adding recycling receptacles.
  3. Use every bit of space wisely: With a wide variety of outdoor accessories to choose from, you can find a purpose for even the smallest spaces. For example, if many students and faculty bike to campus, install bike loops at the entrance of each building to provide convenience and promote a more eco-friendly way to travel.

What to Look for in University Campus Space-Saving Seating

Outdoor furnishings are different from typical indoor furniture. For campus grounds, outdoor furniture consists of tables and chairs, benches, and trash receptacles. It’s important for these site furnishings to enhance the university’s appearance while providing both comfort and function.

Consider these key factors for your college’s outdoor space-saving seating and furniture:

  • Materials: Outdoor campus furnishings come in a range of materials, each with different durability levels, maintenance requirements, and costs. Most wood furniture requires annual maintenance to make it last, even if the wood comes pre-treated. Metal is stronger, more durable, and flexible, but can heat up in the sun. Many plastic furniture options are weather-resistant and easy to clean but may need to be stored or mounted in extremely windy conditions.
  • Weather durability: Does your campus experience frequent rain and wind? Does it get extremely hot during summer or cold in the winter? Typical weather conditions could affect the choice of outdoor furniture. For example, colleges in windy areas can benefit from heavy or mountable furniture, while rust-resistant options are ideal for rainy locations or campuses near the ocean.
  • Stationary placement: It’s always a good idea to bolt down large furniture like benches and tables. Taking this step is critical to ensure stability and safety, and keep furnishings from blowing over. Bolting down your furniture also ensures students cannot rearrange tables and chairs. 
  • Versatility: Every campus is unique, and it takes creativity and the right design to use every area properly. College outdoor furniture should be versatile in its potential uses and applications.

Optimize Your Campus Space With Outdoor Seating and Furnishings

At Wabash Valley Furnishings, we offer site amenities and furnishings for universities and colleges, and many more industries. Partner with us to help make your campus even more beautiful and enjoyable with high-quality commercial outdoor furniture that fits your unique specifications and budget.

Browse our products online and create your bulk order to get started today.