Paint color choices have been shown to affect mood and behavior. Although color is often thought to be subjective, many research studies done by designers and psychologists suggest that particular colors evoke similar responses in most people and have an effect on mood and behavior. A widely cited study* by the University of Texas suggests that color affects mood and profoundly impacts productivity.
Tips to consider before picking up that paint brush.
- Don’t paint your walls white, gray, or beige, which is the color of most office buildings. These colors are drab and tend to depress mood. The University of Texas study finds that women had a huge drop in productivity when surrounded by these colors.
- For men, productivity plummeted when they were placed in orange or purple surroundings.
- Blue is the most popular color choice among men and women. Blue has been shown to calm the senses and increase attention. Also, since blue appeals to most people, it is a good color choice for large common areas.
- Green is another color with a wide appeal to both men and women. Green is thought to be fresh and vibrant, probably because of its close association with nature. This color is a good color choice among employees who need to work as a team, as it may promote a harmonious balance among workers to keep the peace while inspiring creativity.
- Need a jolt of energy, some passion, and excitement? Use red in areas where high concentration, creativity, and exciting collaboration take place, such as in conference rooms and large assembly areas.
Choosing the best color choice for your office.
- Yellow is generally associated with happiness and can boost employee self-esteem. Using yellow or accents of yellow may help in offices were employee moral or boredom is a problem.
- Black should be used sparingly as it has a darkening effect and can be depressing.
- If you love neutral colors, stay away from white as it is too institutional. As stated from the previous study, beige, brown, and gray can depress mood. If you really love these colors, use them to complement a well-liked color, such as blue or green.
- Pastel tones of any color may benefit a darker office environment that does not have natural light coming in from windows. Pastel colors, like blue and green, tend to have a calming effect which can help with concentration and focus.
- Too bright of colors can cause eye-strain and feelings of anxiety. Consider the saturation of colors (purity), degree of lightness, and the overall palette of colors in the room—including the carpet and furniture—before painting.
- While painting patterns and designs is trendy, it can have a negative effect on productivity and mood. Patterns tend to promote over-excitement and excess energy. Avoid stripes and patterns in areas where high concentration is needed.
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*Kwallek, N., Soon, K. and Lewis, C. M. (2007), Work week productivity, visual complexity, and individual environmental sensitivity in three offices of different color interiors. Color Res. Appl., 32: 130–143. doi: 10.1002/col.20298