Is there a way to affect staff productivity, lift your mood or calm clients simultaneously? The simple answer is color. It’s long been known that people are affected by color. Color is culturally symbolic, but more importantly, color can help us focus, maintain energy or reinforce a tranquil mood. Color psychology is used in designing everything from hotel rooms to cereal packages. Colors affect emotions, concentration, even our well-being—and there is even evidence to show that in a school environment, color influences learning.
While we know that the color of a work or retail space can have a direct influence on the bottom line, Erika Woelfel, director of color at Behr Paints, says the top picks for commercial office spaces are: Canvas Tan (light tan); Brandy (a pink-and-brown mash-up); Ozone (grayish blue) and Zen (sea-foam green). She notes that neutrals are practical choices for commercial space since they are easy to maintain. But is the investment in these colors paying off? Do these colors support productivity or lull staff into complacency? Experimenting with color in the workplace may pay off in the long run.
So where do you start? Between paint, flooring and furnishing, a business owner has limitless choices to apply color to the environment, but which colors work? And what moods do they trigger?
- Blue: According to Frank H. Mahnke, President of the IACC—International Association of Color Consultant/Designers, blue is the peacemaker of colors, inviting relaxed cooperation. Wearing blue clothing to job interviews symbolizes loyalty and may offer a soothing visual cue to potential employers. In the home, blues make an excellent choice for bedrooms, but has been shown to suppress appetite so not the best color for dining rooms.
- Green: Evokes natural settings and a relaxed mood. Greens are one of the five most populardecorating colors. In the performing arts, backstage areas where performers wait to appear are traditionally painted with green to calm tense nerves. In the office or home, green is a cooling color and creates a soothing atmosphere which makes it suitable for any room.
- White: Choosing a neutral white will coordinate with everything. White reflects all light and makes small spaces seem larger. Therefore, white and light colors are often used in production areas, small rooms and hallways. White symbolizes cleanliness and order, which is why it is also used frequently in clinical settings. Interestingly, pale grays are known to inspire creativity, and are considered elegant colors. Lighter grays work well in living rooms and kitchens, while darker shades work well in bathrooms, bedrooms and dining rooms.
- Red: Red is easily the most emotionally intense family of colors, as red stimulates higher pulse andaccelerated breathing. Shades of red attract attention, which can make it a great accent color. Red stimulates the appetite, and it has been commonly used in restaurants, so is an excellent choice for your dining room. Similar to red, orange is warming but is less intense. Oranges create a welcoming, friendly mood which makes it a great choice for social spaces like living rooms and family rooms.
- Yellow: If optimism had a signature color, it would be yellow. While yellows can enhance concentration, it has been shown that people lose their temper more often in rooms with warmer colors than in cooler colors. Yellow works well in low light areas such as hallways and foyer areas. Subtle shades are also suitable for bedrooms.
- Brown: Earth tones in the brown family are soothing, elegant and subtle. These are popular accent shades. Browns work well in social and private spaces. From the darker reddish shades to the lighter tans, browns work almost anywhere in the home.
- Black: Black signals sophistication and power. Black is an authoritative color, associated with dignity and sophistication. Used sparingly, it can work well in home or business. Offset black’s power with a lighter neutral color.
Color can have a wide and varied influence on personalities and emotions, and as a result it can invoke certain personalities or emotions in your clients or prospects as they walk through the doors of your business. Commercial Flooring & Interior Concepts is fluent in popular color schemes and layouts for commercial settings. For more advice or recommendations on colors and flooring in the workplace, subscribe to our blog or leave us a comment below!