There’s an infinite number of colours available to paint your office and it’s likely that you have seen a scheme which you have liked the look of and may want to incorporate into your own office. Before making any firm decisions, check out the psychology behind different paint colours and balance these with your office space and brand colours.
In Brief: The Dominant Colours Suited To Different Offices
The Thinking Office Should Be Blue
Financial sector businesses, solicitors, teachers of the Science subjects…
The Emotional/Creative Office Should Be Yellow
Creative industry businesses, marketing departments, teachers of the Arts subjects…
The Physical Office Should Be Red
Construction, sports and fitness sector…
The Balanced/Calm Office Should Be Green
Psychologists, designers, health & beauty professionals…
Trendy offices (you see in pictures on Pinterest or Instagram) might feature lots of minimalist white space and design, this is actually detrimental to creating a productive and healthy work environment. It’s explained in-depth here, by Nancy Kwallek, in Stephanie Vozza’s blog post. But, basically, white is too cold, clinical and dominating. We need colour.
We’ll cover it in short, but this equally brilliant interview with a world-famous colour psychologist, Angela Wright, explains some of the science behind the relationship between colours and the human mind.
We all respond to colours in an individual and unique way. And it’s subconscious. The way a colour reflects the light and is processed by the human eye and mind and emotional centre is different from colour to colour and person to person. This is why the level of saturation of your chosen colour is important. And it’s also dependent on context.
Saturated Red (left) and De-Saturated Red (right). They both have the same colour profile but a very different ‘feel’ on the eye.
Whilst blue might be typically the most productive colour, if a person’s child has kept them awake all night, their partner has lost their job, bills are mounting, and an elderly parent has fallen ill; working in a blue office isn’t going to make them suddenly all-productive.
The better colour for this fictional example employee to be working in may be a soothing green or calming pastel yellow. But they work for an accountancy firm so the office is blue.
It’s a pity that the managers didn’t choose a blend of colours when they decorated the office, because people’s state of mind and emotional mood dictates how much influence the office colour has on them at different times of the day or week and in respect to whatever else is happening in their lives.
Including a blend of colours is important.
Be Sure To Mix The Colours In Your Office
We don’t naturally respond to single colours in isolation. Whilst “blue might promote productivity”, you can’t just make everything in the office blue and expect everybody to be more productive 100% of the time.
This is because we all respond to colours individually and don’t operate in a single emotional state at all times.
Sticking with the blue office hypothetical example, there may be times when a team of accountants or solicitors or quantity surveyors – all highly calculating and cognitive job roles – need an emotional boost (yellow) or a high-pressure situation may need a little defusing (green). If everything in the office was blue, there would be times when productivity was actually harmed thanks to an overloading of the colour which was chosen to boost it.
Therefore you need to include a blend of colours when deciding to paint your office.
How to make them look good and work together is another can of worms altogether, but remember we don’t respond to individual colours in isolation, paint manufacturers don’t produce just bold primary colours. You can mix and match colours to suit your tastes and desires and you can choose colours which actually incorporate a blend of the colours relating to your areas of concern:
- Productivity – Blue
- Emotion/Creativity – Yellow
- Physicality/Activity – Red
- Balance/Calmness – Green
Choosing The Perfect Office Paint Colours
Get out those colour charts and start creating your own colour scheme. Here’s how to choose which colours to paint your office:
- Decide which of the following is of primary importance in your office: Productivity, Emotion/Creativity, Physicality, Balance/Calmness.
- Decide which area is of secondary importance.
- Centre your colour scheme around the corresponding colour to the primary concern and get out the colour charts for inspiration.
- Remember; the stronger the saturation and closeness to the original primary colour, the more focused it is towards that one feature. Brilliant Blue is exclusively targeting productivity, for example, but people don’t operate and respond to their surroundings in a singular fashion.
- This means you need to choose colours which are a blend of the different colours related to your primary and secondary focus areas, but are strongest in your primary area of concern.
- You may want to include striking features of bold, primary colours to inject a hit towards your primary goal.
- Be considerate of your office size and amount of natural light. You need to balance all this colour psychology with also making your office as full of natural light and the feeling of spaciousness as possible. And you might be under certain brand constraints – but these should be a final concern. If in any doubt, speak to the professionals.
Have You Thought About Furniture Too?
Because colours alone might not be enough, you should also think about furniture to go in your newly decorated office. We have put together a free guide book to help you work out what you need and stay organised.