Four General Chemistry laboratory rooms were renovated at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln over the span of one year and at a cost of $1.6 million. The rooms were designed in conjunction with the development of a new laboratory curriculum that aims to teach methodological proficiency and critical thinking. Assessments were developed to determine the effect of the renovated space and the new curriculum on student learning, student attitudes, student retention, and teaching assistant evaluations. The most significant result was that students retained positive attitudes toward chemistry due to the interventions. Two key ideas that led to the final room design were the elimination of assigned desk drawers and a scheduling change that allowed students to enroll in any laboratory section. The rooms were designed to be flexible for students, teaching assistants, staff, and instructors. Student-student and student-TA interactions are enhanced by the student bench design, linkage of monitors to each bench, improved sightlines, and improved safety features.