Office Color Psychology: Choosing the right color for your office
In the 1970s, color psychologist Angela Wright showed us there’s a correlation between colors and human moods and behavior – and this correlation is not just subjective. While certain factors such as age, gender, and cultural background can influence our perception of color, our reactions to many colors are universal. Colors can make us feel hopeful, warm, and empowered, or anxious, angry and confused.
Wright also discovered that the intensity of color also affects our moods and behavior. For example, a highly saturated, bright blue will stimulate our senses while a low saturation grey-blue will soothe our senses. Likewise, warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange are invigorating while cool colors such as blue, green, purple are calming.
Some colors appear to have a stronger connection with specific areas of our bodies – red with the physical body, blue with the mind, yellow with the emotions, and green with the balance among mind, body, and emotions.
So what does that mean for the office? The right color can give a boost to employees’ productivity, job satisfaction, happiness, and health. Color also has a positive or negative impact on your clients. It’s worth it to explore how you can best use color in your work environment.
Properties of individual colors in the office
Here are some of the most popular colors, how they can affect your workplace, and some ideas for how to best incorporate them into your office space.
Blue – Blue stimulates the mind and is the most productive color for people who focus on details. Blue colors soothe and calm the mind, encourage clear thinking and reduce mental strain. Blue colors also can reduce stress by lowering peoples’ blood pressure and heart rates. Darker shades of blue can evoke feelings of sadness.
Do your workers perform mental, repetitive work? A primarily blue office can help increase productivity and reduce mental fatigue. That’s why light blue is the favored color for accounting offices. It’s also a good choice for workrooms and collaboration areas and meeting rooms. Therefore a blue room is a great place to hold an effective team meeting.Since blue is a cool color, combining it with a warm color such as yellow or orange can provide a little balance.
Green – Another cool color, green is the color of balance, harmony, and nature. Green colors are perceived as restful and reassuring and promote balance among the mind, body, and emotions. Green can also help relieve feelings of anxiety. The natural color is easy on the eyes, so working in a green office can be less tiring, especially where the lighting isn’t ideal or employees work long hours. Green can be perceived as stagnant and inert, so it isn’t the ideal color to use in areas where there is a lot of activity. You’ll find shades of green used in medical offices, financial offices, computer rooms, libraries, and research rooms. An easy way to incorporate green into your office is to add plants!
Red – A warm, vibrant color, red evokes feelings of strength, excitement, love, passion, danger, and urgency. Red stimulates our energy levels, increases respiration, heart rate, the rate of blood flow, appetite, and mental alertness. It also increases the speed and intensity at which we experience emotions. Being exposed to too much red can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration and can even cause headaches. Since it is linked to the body, it is a great color for spurring physical activity. For example, it can improve productivity in construction workers. You probably won’t want to paint the entire office in red but an office with neutral color using red as an accent color can energize an area without being overwhelming. You might make one wall red and the others a cream color or use red furniture or paintings in a gray office. On the other hand, using red as the primary color in a lounge or hallway can help ensure employees won’t linger there!
Yellow – The color yellow is associated with emotions and evokes feelings of happiness, positivity, and warmth. It can boost the ego and stimulate creativity and even support memory by heightening our attention levels. If it’s too bright, however, it can evoke feelings of hunger, anger, annoyance, and frustration. It can also over-stimulate the eyes. In an office, yellow is best used as an accent color. You’ll find the color yellow used a lot in ad agencies and other creative businesses. It’s also good for training rooms because it helps promote retention and teamwork areas since it promotes feelings of friendliness and optimism.
Orange – As a combination of the physical (red) and the emotions (yellow), orange stimulates both areas. It is associated with happiness, friendliness, fun, and success. A vibrant, warm color orange can energize a room, but too much of it evokes feelings of hunger, anger, frustration. It works well in a casual lounge area or an area designated for collaboration.
White – White can be perceived as fresh, clean and modern or sterile, intimidating, or uninviting. It’s a highly reflective color, which can cause eye strain, and it is not a color that invites relaxation. White can be used to advantage in laboratories or hospitals. Mixed with other colors, white brightens spaces and helps create balance.
Black – Black, which absorbs natural light, denotes power, authority, and control. Too much black can be intimidating and evoke a sinister atmosphere. Used sparingly, it can give a room an elegant look. It can be used effectively in a corporate executive suite.
Making the right choice for your office
Using office color psychology in the office can make a big difference in your place of business. Using different colors and varying intensities of those colors can have a huge impact on your employee’s energy levels, ability to focus, moods, health, and job satisfaction. The colors and intensities you select will depend on many factors – the type of environment you want to create, the main purpose of the space, and your type of business. At Clarus, we know that every part of your office is an integral part of office productivity, atmosphere and employee and consumer satisfaction which is why we want to make sure you have everything you need to create the perfect office space for you.