Colour schemes for a productive office environment

February, 2018

When designing your office environment, it’s important to understand the effect colour can have on employees. Consider the atmosphere that will help staff to be as productive as possible, then choose paints and commercial flooring to stimulate them.


The colour of one’s surroundings can profoundly affect emotions and behaviour. Centuries of artistic and design experiments with different colours have enabled an understanding of which hues can influence human reactions. These principles can be applied to designing office space; colour can stimulate greater creativity and cooperation amongst employees.

A basic understanding of colour psychology can help with designing office space that really gets the best out of the staff who work there. The following is a guide to harnessing the power of colour to maximise office productivity.

Blue colour schemes inspire the most productivity

Studies have shown that a predominantly blue colour scheme promotes the greatest productivity from workers. Blue calms people and has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure and heart rate, which reduces stress levels. It is therefore best to apply a blue colour scheme in a busy, high-pressure office environment.

Having said this, keep in mind that the colour blue is often associated with feeling sad, so too much blue might generate feelings of depression and compromise workplace morale. Furthermore, blue is generally associated with cold, and temperature can impact productivity. Perhaps opt for blues in brighter, more uplifting shades rather than deep and dark tones, or introduce blue flooring rather than walls.

Green is helpful for getting through long work days

The colour green is closely associated with nature. Green is a symbol of growth, harmony, rejuvenation and equilibrium. Using a pleasant shade of green to decorate an office can assist in lowering anxiety and helping both staff and visitors feel more at ease.

Green has also been linked to improvements in creativity, so when innovation is important, green can be a real boon. What’s more, as the human eye is able to perceive green without making complex adjustments to its components, it doesn’t contribute to eye fatigue and can help people whose eyes feel strained from staring at a screen. This way, green can help employees get through long shifts more easily.

Red is good for physical activity

Red can be helpful to energise people by increasing the pulse rate and respiration. When the colour red is perceived, humans generally become quicker and more assertive. This is a great feature for environments that are filled with physical activity, like a gym, but a red colour scheme may not be so helpful for desk-based office environments. People will develop pent-up energy with no release.

However, employees who perform detail-oriented work such as proofreading may benefit from the increased focus red can impart. Memory retrieval can also be improved in a red environment. As a side note, red generally draws attention – if you want to make something stand out, paint it red.

A neutral hue can help to accent colours

White, cream and grey colours for floors and walls are not a particularly stimulating choice by themselves, but they are great at accentuating brighter colours. A monochromatic environment can result in employees losing focus, but white walls with coloured commercial flooring and other accents can be incredibly stimulating.

An abundance of natural light can also work well with neutral tones to create a sense of space. This makes a place seem larger than it really is, and it also imparts a sense of cleanliness to both employees and visitors.

The design of an environment is always intended to have an effect on the people inside it. For an office, promoting qualities like productivity, creativity and innovation are essential to getting the most out of your staff. Consider what type of colour scheme in flooring, paint and furniture will get the right results from your next office design project.

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