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5 important things to consider when refurbishing your boarding house

Updated: Feb 14

We would like to share our wealth of expertise in working with boarding schools and have decided to put together an honest and concise guide to help you make the right choice when refurbishing your boarding house.

You should consider the following five things:

1. Durability and quality

Refurbishing or building a boarding house should be considered an investment.

Quality should be a fundamental consideration when deciding which supplier to use. Ask the question of whether the manufacturer uses chipboard materials, or instead (our choice) MF MDF.

Does your manufacturer provide a warranty with their furniture? Have you visited their factory or other schools where the furniture has been designed? Have you asked the manufacturer for references from other schools? Have you been provided with a physical sample of the material that will be used?

All of these queries should be raised when investing in a project. Remember, your boarding house will be used by students every single day, therefore it is vital that the furniture can withstand the rigours of everyday boarding.

In the long-term it will be cost-effective to invest in a trusty furniture manufacturer and have your furniture last 15+ years, as opposed to replacing broken drawers and units every 3 years.

2. Privacy and Safety

A boarding house should be a home away from home. Students should feel safe and have enough privacy when sleeping and completing work. Most boarding schools today are encouraged to have at least one lockable storage unit so that students can keep their personal belongings safe. You should consider this when requesting designs for your units and raise the question of whether your manufacturer can provide you with fitted locking bars, padlocks and keys.

Equally, when reviewing the design of your room you should consider the amount of privacy that each student has. Is there a designated space for students to work silently? Would you like to have a divider to separate some of your beds? Will the height of the divider vary in size, depending upon the age of your students?

3. Adequate storage

Storage space is an absolute must for students of all ages and this is a huge factor in determining which bedroom design that you prefer.

By using a bespoke furniture manufacturer you will be able to tailor your room to your school's individual needs. In idealistic terms, you want to aim to maximise as much space as possible so the room does not look cramped and cluttered. Always consider how you could utilise the space underneath each bed.

Ask yourself: how many drawers will your students need? Could storage be built into the headboard? Will your students require shoe storage at the end of the bed?

Our personal preference is to create drawers underneath the bed for small clothing items, as opposed to creating sliding doors where clothes are simply thrown inside. You should also consider the storage space in your students' wardrobes. How much open hanging space versus shelving will they require?

4. Functionality

To put it bluntly, does your boarding house serve its purpose? Given the fact that most boarding schools in the UK are in beautiful locations and in buildings that come with a wealth of character, your residential bedrooms need to look the part.

Parents are paying annual fees to send their children to schools with impeccable facilities and an outstanding education, therefore it is important to showcase the rooms that their children will be sleeping in. Bedrooms need to be comfy, homely and most importantly, functional. Thus, you should consider options for flexi-boarding, overnight stays and the logistics of how one child might be able to brush their teeth while another student is occupying the bathroom. Our vanity units are a popular option to deter this from happening.

Today, technology plays a central role in the lives of young people. Subsequently, students will also need to have allocated space to charge their electrical devices when sleeping and working. Consider integrating plug sockets and USB ports into your furniture.

5. School image

And finally, last but by no means least, how do you want others to perceive your boarding facilities? Having a colour scheme for your furniture can really give your school the 'wow' factor. Consider contrasting wood finishes with light grey or add vibrancy to your room with a contrasting wood and colour finish. Always ensure that your design compliments the room, considering the age and character of individual buildings.

At Castles UK, we specialise in designing and manufacturing bespoke furniture. We will create unique designs that add even more character to your buildings and when designing your rooms we will consider how to keep it as light as and as spacious as possible.

Get in touch today by emailing us at or call 01423 359624!

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