Take a moment to look around your office. What colors do you see and how do you they make you feel? Research behind the psychology of color suggests that color scheme alone can have a tremendous influence on mood, productivity and even physical health and well-being. Deciding which colors to incorporate into your workplace design requires careful consideration and planning in order to stimulate the desired response from employees and visitors. Whether mulling over paint swatches for office walls or picking out new furniture pieces, understanding the science behind color can help organizations choose their optimal color scheme. Let’s explore the basics of color psychology and how you can design an environment that maximizes employee potential.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Wunderman and BIenalto Offices in Sydney, Australia
The Transformative Power of Color
Color is one of the many ways we understand the world around us. It heavily influences our choices, thoughts and daily interactions. We think about color when we choose what to wear, we rely on it during our commute and we associate it with our favorite brands. Colors act upon the body as well as the mind, and a great deal of research has found that both psychological and physiological changes occur when we are exposed to certain shades. They can stimulate and energize, relax and rejuvenate, increase appetite and create feelings of warmth or coolness.
Design choices within the built environment should be made not only through stylistic preference, but through the understanding that designing with color can drive certain behaviors. The color scheme of your workspace will have a profound impact on employee motivation and productivity, whether that be negative or positive. While personal and cultural differences will affect the emotional responses triggered between individuals, basic generalities can be outlined and taken into consideration when designing interior spaces.
Red, a high-wavelength color, is a vibrant shade that can be used to energize and boost motivation. It is most often seen as a “call to action,” drawing our attention and demonstrating a sense of urgency. Known to increase heart rate and cause a rise in blood pressure, red is a great accent color and can add depth to a space. Avoid overusing the shade, however, or use it in lower traffic areas as it can make it difficult to concentrate after prolonged exposure.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, PwC Experience Center in Chicago, IL
Orange & Yellow
Used in office décor, orange and yellow can help boost innovation and creativity within employees. These fresh shades are most often linked to feelings of optimism and confidence, keeping occupants clear-headed and alert. Even the slightest touch of a bright color palette can drastically lift the feel of an office and create a positive first impression for visitors and guests.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Bumble HQ in Austin, TX
Purple, Blue & Green
Low-wavelength colors, such as purples, blues and greens, are office design favorites as they lend a sense of well-being and improve efficiency and focus. You often see these colors used within healthcare environments, encouraging healing and relaxation within patients and families. Outside of healthcare, shades of blue will promote thinking, creativity and performance within employees, while maintaining a tranquil ambiance through tough meetings and long stretches of heads-down work. Purple has age-old associations with royalty and communicates superior quality.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Silicon Valley Bank in NYC
In addition to improving efficiency and focus, green helps bridge the gap between nature and the built environment. Whether implemented through living walls, paint or upholstery selections, the application of this shade will harness mother nature’s undeniable psychological and physiological benefits for employees and visitors. Benefits include, but are not limited to, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, a heightened sense of creativity and improved productivity levels. You can read more on the positive effects of biophilic design and additional ways to connect your office to the outdoors on the CDI blog.
CDI Showroom in Waukesha, WI
Neutral shades of white, grey, brown and black are often used to complement other colors and create depth within workplace design. Healthcare environments utilize these colors as they bring a sense of comfort and cleanliness to a space. While a monochromatic palette boasts modern appeal, a complete lack of color and stimulus may cause employees to become distracted and bored.
Choosing Your Color Scheme
Color has the powerful ability to connect people to an organization and it is important to view the built environment as a tool with which to express your brand identity. Understanding your organization’s culture and how you want to shape it with workplace design is the first step in identifying and implementing a color scheme that is beneficial for your employees and guests. Together with a basic knowledge of color psychology and how humans are affected by their surroundings, employers can design an environment that tells the story of their unique brand and positively influences employee productivity and well-being. Contact the CDI team for guidance in incorporating color into your workspace and how you can harness its powerful benefits.
Featured Image Source: Office Snapshots, Mattress Firm Offices in Houston, TX
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Corporate Design Interiors (CDI) is an industry-leading commercial furniture dealership whose award-winning product knowledge, thoughtful design coupled with strategic planning deliver functional and inspiring interiors designed to foster employee well-being, productivity and engagement. CDI’s relentless focus on delivering positive workplaces mirroring the culture and vision of companies while delivering a high value investment has earned CDI diverse clients including; established Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits/public sector and energetic startups.
As a “Select” Kimball dealer, CDI’s excellence in sales, partnership, quality improvement, community involvement and overall business best practices earned it the 2017 Kimball Premier Partner Award. CDI was selected among 52 other Kimball Select dealerships throughout the country for this industry-leading honor, earning additional praise for its company culture and enterprise practices.
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