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What colour to paint the office?

Blue Office Walls

Blue is often considered the colour to choose if productivity is important.

Painting the office may seem like a straight forward task that requires minimal thought. However, when choosing what colour to paint the office it is important to consider what impact the colour may have. To make a complex finding simple, colour (more so the intensity of the colour) has a direct and profound effect on a person’s behaviour. How you set the environment you work in can significantly affect your creativity, energy and focus.

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There are four psychological primary colours which each have different effects.

  1. Red –  Body
  2. Blue – Mind
  3. Yellow – Emotions, ego & self confidence
  4. Green – Balance between mind, body and emotions.

If you were to combine two colours, for example blue and yellow, you would get a colour that effects both your emotions and mind.  Blue is often considered the colour to choose if productivity is important. However, consider what type of productivity you are trying to achieve. If your job involves using your mind, for example an accountant, then blue is the way to go. Blue is also ideal for open plan offices as it often promotes trust and communication, which makes it good for brainstorming too. Interestingly blue has been known to help reduce blood pressure, pulse and respiration.

If productivity to you means designing or creating new things or products, then perhaps yellow would be a better option as it stimulates your spirit, ego and optimism.  Yellow is perfect for high-paced environments as it energizes and mixed with a bit of red to make orange can spark enthusiasm. Avoid yellow in conference rooms, too much optimism or stimulation can increase anxiety levels, making it more likely for people to lose their tempers.

For those who need to be physically productive then red is a good choice. Red stimulates people physically, so great for labourers, sportsmen and the like.  Red is also good for those people that work during the night or who have detail-oriented tasks as it increases brain wave activity. To the contrary of blue, red stimulates the pulse and increases blood pressure. If you are painting the office red, make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand, red induces hunger!

Green is great when balance and trust are required for productivity, for exampling signing agreements and exchanging money. An awesome colour for harmonizing and it can also boost creativity and innovation too. Green is also known to reduces anxiety levels and eye strain.

Even though grey is psychologically neutral, the colour lacks energy, it is the colour of concrete and warships after all. So, to keep moral up, avoid it. The over use of grey can reduce confidence levels and even cause depression. In small amounts, grey can be useful to offset bright colours but use it carefully.

The shade of the colour is important too. A highly-saturated hue will stimulate you when compared to a lowly-saturated hue which is more likely to soothe you. Consider using accent colours as this help to create balance.  Try not to have a rainbow of colours, instead stick to a couple of accents.  Red is a perfect accent for the negotiator or anybody that needs to be heard. Paint comes in gloss, matt and in a range of textures too, it is known that glossy paint elicits high energy, so consider this if your work place is high paced. It can be easy to fall into the trap of painting your office the same colour as your home, after all you know you like that colour. It is important to differentiate between home and work, so always go for a different colour, this includes the home office.

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