How To Choose The Best Color Scheme For Improved Productivity

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Question…. Do you think colors cause us to react psychologically? 

Typically when answering this question each of us have preconceived ideas that colors do  to one degree or another evoke certain emotional or psychological reactions.

Red promotes arousal (think red roses and valentine’s day), blue tones are calming….that sort of thing.

If they were, could colors be put to work, so to speak, to put us in the best frame of mind for any given task?

Color is an important focal point to any visual landscape sure, however when that landscape is as tiny as a small home office, and that home office is required to help generate an income, which colors get used should be afforded some serious consideration.

So the question I wanted to look into today was ‘what are the best office colors for productivity?’ 

Colors have been proven to impact our mood and state of mind so definitely have a bearing upon our productivity. Using the right color, and the correct selection and placement can seriously affect feelings, attention, and behavior. Unfortunately searches online were not as helpful or conclusive when attempting to define which color improves productivity the most.

Different scientific studies have even found conflicting answers to this query  stating that the same color can provoke opposite emotional states (i.e. concentration vs distraction; avoidance vs stimulation). All very confusing. 

Below is a selection of office decor colors that help determine what are best home office colors for you and your working life. 

Blue Office Decor

Photo by Huseyn Kamaladdin from Pexels
Photo by Huseyn Kamaladdin from Pexels

Blue is used in the logo of many of the worlds largest pharmaceutical, computer and credit card companies.

This is no coincidence as blue is a color that evokes the emotion of competency, intelligence and trust.

The low wavelength color of blue is the best option for improving work performance in terms of efficiency and focus during long periods of learning.

A productivity boost that would benefit those in a highly intellectual role.

Design Tip

Paint a feature wall using a dark shade of blue and accessorise with office accessories of a lighter shade. This along with a neutral desk helps to create a stylish contrast.

Yellow Office Decor

Red bike next to yellow chair at desk with laptop and lamp against wall with poster in living room

Yellow is a bold color that represents optimism, extraversion, friendliness and happiness.

The energy and emotion provided by yellow works well for those in fast paced roles such as journalists and reporters.

It’s worth keeping in mind that a strong bright yellow will stimulate where as a yellow with low saturation can be used to soothe. This high saturation vs low saturation trade off is true for all colors.

So, if you want the hit of energy that yellow provides but not be blown away, consider avoiding the brightest hues.

Design Tip

If a full on yellow feature wall seems a little too loud for your taste, opt for a subtle hint of yellow with an accessory like this yellow wall clock from DECOWALL.

Green Office Decor

Research has linked the color green with broader thinking and more creative thought.

The wavelength of this color is the easiest for our eyes to take in and would therefore work great over larger areas of a home office that will be occupied for long hours each day.

The unobtrusive tone allows the mind to remain undisturbed during decision making and lays the foundation for a high level of concentration. A good choice for those working in a management role.

Design Tip

Green can also be introduced into your home office decor via indoor plants. This is a win-win as plants can also help absorb toxins released by modern furnishings as well as improve air quality.

Red Office Decor

Red exudes activity, strength, excitement and stimulation. However, of all the color schemes tested, red appeared to come with the most “warning signs”.

An appropriate analogy as the color is regularly associated with avoidance behaviour.

In an experiment where red office decor was compared directly against blue office decor, study participants actually reported higher stress and anxiety levels in the red office.

Design Tip

Go easy on the use of red if you plan on spending a great deal of time in your home office. An accessory such as this red chair from EUCO allows the color to be included without being dominating.

White Office Decor

Photo by Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash
Photo by Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash

A huge fan favourite in recent years and a staple of Scandinavian style office decor, white is perceived as professional and representative of sincerity, purity, and simplicity.

White office decor is best for creative types who benefit from having a blank canvas and clean mind at the start of each day.

Design Tip

Be careful with over using white as a monochromatic look can cause people to reflect on their own thoughts and wander off track due to lack of stimulation. White offers the perfect background to display a print of virtually any color.

Round Up

The color that provides the most productivity benefits for you appears to depend on a few factors. Namely the description of the task being undertaken, the work environment, your cultural heritage and personal preferences. 

The good news is that regardless of your home office decor it appears simply by having ownership of a space and the ability to implement whatever color you choose will place you  ahead of the majority of workers when it comes to being productive

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