Interior Design: How Colour Impacts Office Productivity

July 20, 2016 11:01 am Published by

Cartoon light bulb with colour splashes It’s 3pm in the office and you’re starting to slow down. In an attempt to reboot your system you stretch for  a large cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. But we all know that it’s not really going to work.

The afternoon office slump is nothing new and certainly not unusual. But have you ever considered that you or your employees are feeling this way because of their office surroundings?

Well, according to a large number  of psychologists the colours which make up our surroundings can have a significant impact on our productivity and mood.

So whether it is a lick of paint, new carpet or flooring, or a few accessories, you might want to rethink the interior design of your office space.

What Is The Psychology of Colour?

Used widely in the advertising and marketing industries to entice and influence buyers by appealing to their emotions and behaviours, the psychology of colour discusses how humans are influenced by their surroundings.

With slight variations in interpretation, meaning, and perception – particularly amongst different cultures and beliefs – there is strong evidence to suggest both the mental and emotional effects that colours can have in all areas of life.

In fact, early work on colour psychology led to the following basic principles which are still accepted today:

  • Colour has specific meanings
  • The meaning of colour is either biological or learned
  • Colour’s influence is automatic
  • The meaning of colour is affected by context
  • A person perceiving a colour automatically evaluates it

The Colour Spectrum & The Workplace

There isn’t a mass of research surrounding this area of study, but where there is, the results are fairly similar and it is clear that the psychology of colour could really aid productivity.

Colour is a visual clue that evokes emotion. Ultimately tied to memory and cultural associations, every colour has its own (subliminal) meaning and emotional response which can affect our moods.

The study of colour as a factor in human behaviour plays a big part in the way that the human perceives and reacts to varying information. says it is “a powerful communication tool that can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause a physiological reaction”, where colours can raise blood pressure, increase metabolism, or cause eyestrain for example.

Understanding the above basics of colour psychology, and the concept that any colour can evoke emotion, you can design a space that will maximise potential and productivity within the office. In fact, it could be as equally as important as hiring the right employees. The aim is for you to therefore create an ambiance that keeps members of staff stimulated and motivated to complete the task in hand.

Warm, Cool, and Neutral Colour Basics

Your office colours can have a dramatic effect on your clients and visitors as well as staff which are both subliminal and instinctive. Taking the time to choose your colour scheme is key and very much dependent on your industry and the type of work that is conducted.

There are three general categories that we can approach and which will aid your decision. Take a look below and discover the pros and cons of each colour palette.


Warm colours such as yellow, red, and orange promote stimulation and can cause feelings of warmth and comfort. However, too much has been suggested to ignite feelings of either anger, anxiousness, or hostility. So ensure you use these sparingly and in the correct working conditions.

Yellow is a generally optimistic colour. It has been shown to stimulate creativity and as such is a great choice for designers and those who work within creative environments. Energetic and fresh, it is suggested by psychologists that the colour induces a feeling of well-being and confidence. However, you should avoid over using this shade as it can provoke unwanted anxiety.

Orange is a great accent colour as it has been shown to draw employees’ attention to areas that they should be looking at. It is therefore suggested that orange, with its subtle influences, can be particularly inspiring. In addition it has been associated with increased activity and encourages conversation to flow.

Red is a bold colour that increases energy whilst promoting a sense of urgency (think of its associations; fire engines, warning signs). Due to these intense feelings it is suggested that red is best used as an accent and not the main colour within your office. Whilst active and intense, it is also the colour of passion and as a result is particularly inspiring. However, it reduces analytical thinking as our reactions become faster and more forceful in reaction, so use it wisely.


Blues and greens are said to induce feelings of calm and serenity. As such they rouse a more passive reaction in the brain making a person feel more relaxed or even subdued. It’s no coincidence that cool colours are office favourites.

Did you know that blue is the world’s favourite colour? It is stable and calming and will therefore incite focus amongst your employees. Generally perceived as an intellectual colour it promotes thinking, performance, calming, and helps keep focus.

Green is a great colour for those who work long hours. With a positive association between nature and regrowth it is classed as a low-wavelength colour improving efficiency and focus. Sparking creativity and broader thinking, green will help reduce eyestrain from the harsh glares of the computer screen.


Whites and creams as a standalone colour are not stimulating. With the sleek and clean associations thanks to the likes of Apple, unfortunately many offices are decorated with the colour scheme where the same effects are not found. Too much monochrome is boring and can cause people to reflect on their own thoughts. Essentially it is a distracting colour as the mind begins to wander due to a lack of stimulation.

Surprisingly browns are becoming more fashionable and are often used to create interesting depth with wooden-finished flooring and furniture. But be careful not to go too dark as not only will it make the room feel smaller but can induce feelings of sadness.

Choosing the Right Carpet or Flooring

Whilst we can’t claim to be expert psychologists of colour, we certainly know what we’re talking about when it comes to office flooring and in particular how an office environment can be transformed by the right colour carpet or shade of wood. In fact, we have more than 25 years’ experience working within the commercial sector on offices large and small.

So, if it is time for you to upgrade your office flooring get in touch with the team on 0117 963 7979 for more information. We’ll even arrange a free, no obligation consultation to advise you on the best options and solutions for you.


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This post was written by Binks

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