The normal human eye can distinguish about seven million unique colors—resulting from our perceptions of light, hue, tint, tone and shade. Color influences our moods, our work, our memories and our feelings. Therefore, it is not surprising that color is an integral part of office design.
The right office color schemes can facilitate creativity and even help boost productivity. Colors also enhance or detract from natural light—another key element of effective workplace design. Let’s examine the importance of color to human productivity and then explore ways to incorporate effective color design into your workplace.
The physical and psychological importance of color
Color impacts people both physically and emotionally. On a physical level, color can increase or decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and anxiety levels. Color also creates psychological effects that elevate or dampen employees’ moods and stimulate optimism. For example, a study at the University of Texas reported that bland, neutral offices (gray, beige or white) created feelings of sadness and depression in employees.
These physical and emotional factors have a direct impact on your business. Studies show that colors influence employee concentration, creativity, mood/morale, output and stress. These are all key factors in the overarching productivity and innovation that drives business success.
How to design the best professional office color schemes
Because color can have a profound effect on employee well-being and moods, it is important to get office color design right. Here is a guide to help you choose office color designs based on how colors influence people:
Stimulating, vibrant colors
- Red is the physical color. Always an attention getter, it stimulates and excites, increasing heart rate, brain activity and breathing. Red is the color of both passion and anger. It should be used as an accent only and is best-suited where physical labor is needed.
- Yellow is the color of optimism, stimulating and energizing employees. It can be good for creatives that need high energy spaces. Don’t use it in meeting rooms; too much yellow can produce anxiety and irritability in some people.
- Orange is an energetic color that has been shown to increase brain activity by improving oxygen supply your brain. But use this bold color sparingly. The University of Texas study showed too much orange (or purple) depresses mood, especially in men.
Calming, restful colors
- Blue is the color of intellect. A UK study showed that blue decreases blood pressure. Both soothing and calming, blue makes a great workspace color for technical workers and others who need sustained productivity.
- Green is the color of balance. Like blue, it reduces anxiety. A mixture of cool blue and warm yellow, green promotes innovation and creativity, making it a great color for most offices. Green reduces eye strain, making it ideal for computer users’ workspaces.
- Gray can make a nice neutral accent in a room of other colors. However, gray lacks energy and confidence. When used too heavily, it can foster feelings of depression.
- White is used in nearly every office. Resist the temptation to paint your entire office white. It’s a sterile, boring color that doesn’t evoke attention or emotion.
- Brown shows up in many offices in the form of wood flooring or wooden furnishings. Brown provides a rich depth and accent to other colors.
Select the right intensity and saturation
In addition to selecting the right colors, you will need to match the intensity and saturation of each color to the desired effect. Very intense, bold colors (especially yellow and red) may overstimulate employees in the environment you are trying to create. On the other hand, washed-out, lower saturation colors may dull the senses and fail to inspire.
Put office color design trends to work for your organization
When combined with other workplace design elements, such as open and closed spaces, natural light, ergonomic furnishings, and biophilic features, color has the ability to greatly enhance employee well-being and productivity in the office. Asure Software workspace solutions can help your business make office space more pleasant and functional for your workforce.