Color me happy: the importance of color in an office environment

Color me happy: the importance of color in an office environment

I was once sitting in a waiting room—legs crossed, kicking my foot nervously as I always do and smirking to myself shyly as I remember my dad telling me, “Yellow makes you nervous.”  My dad!  He’s always the kind of guy who will talk about nothing just because he’s most happy when he’s surrounded by noise.

I refocus on the task at hand: waiting impatiently to see my dentist. I am surrounded by yellow walls; they’re so yellow that even with your eyes closed, you feel bright-eyed and ready to run for the hills! The kind of yellow that my dad would love because, hey, it’s loud and noisy! It may be okay for an oddball like him, but I think to myself, Who signed off on these color schemes?

Then it happens.  “Sarah?”  Plaque cleaning time, and I am entirely on edge.

The Comfort of Color

I never realized the importance of colors until I got into the design and furniture business.  The “What’s your favorite color?” question that we’ve all asked and have been asked as children has resurfaced in my adult life.  It makes me realize that, even after we’ve all grown, we always hang onto the comfort those favorite colors can bring us —whether it shows in our homes, the interior of our cars or even in the office as we’re working towards our goals and dreams.

What is your color scheme?  It’s the adult version of “What’s your favorite color?”  It is a question I am lucky enough to ask customers every day while they are elbow-deep in swatch and laminate samples, trying to figure out what will work best for their office. It is a question that everyone can relate to, no matter how creative you can be with design or how simple your style is. Everyone knows the colors they do or do not like…for the most part.

Every Color Tells a Story—Doesn’t It?

Sometimes colors can surprise us though.  The surprise element is what keeps trends ever-changing, and, hey, if trends weren’t ever-changing, business would be slow!  The element of surprise can combat your tastes, destroy what you’ve thought to be “your style” and throw you into a sensory overload that thrills you, comforts you and scares you at the same time.

Colors tell a story, and, yes, colors can create moods, but they are also evolving.  Evolving?  Yes!  Go back to that yellow dentist’s office. The anxiety is crawling up your spine as you close your eyes. Keep those eyes closed and take a deep breath.  Now, envision the same yellow room but maybe we now see a soft, fluffy off-white rug in the middle of the room. We’ve warmed up the waiting room chairs with deep, warm mocha wood. There is a crème-colored pillow with a silver flower in the center along with a pale pink accent pillow across from you on a beautiful brown side couch. Next to the couch you see a white wicker side table and a lovely light blue lamp that looks as clear as the clearest ocean, which attracts your eyes instantly.  You hear the soft purr of the Keurig behind you; the aroma of hazelnut distracts your mind, and you are completely relaxed. You never want to leave…your dentist’s office.

I never did go back to my childhood dentist. Yes, the same dentist with those yellow walls. I can’t remember what the rest of that room looked like, but I do remember there was a TV and a smell of a dentist’s office—sterile with a hint of toothpaste and not at all as wonderful as a hazelnut latte! The color is what stuck with me even after all of these years. But if that same dentist’s office had thrown in more elements to the room, it may have created an environment where their patients wouldn’t want to leave, even with the impending thought of a thorough teeth cleaning. And if you need help finding those elements, just ask yourself: What is your favorite color?  Then, let me and my team do all of the rest.

Designing Your Office With Color In Mind: What Moods Do Certain Colors Evoke?

Life is not cookie cutter—especially people. Everyone is different and everyone has different “favorites.” If you are redesigning your office and need a spark of inspiration to help guide you through the process, you may want to consider color psychology and how different colors can actually boost productivity! Here are some colors you may want to consider:

Green: Green helps to provoke a feeling of tranquility. It brings us back to nature. I would recommend using green in common areas or breakrooms. These areas should be somewhat of an escape for your employees, and having green surroundings will help in clearing the mind and helping your employees relax. When your employees then return to their workspaces, their minds should be cleared and able to produce a higher level of productivity. If green walls aren’t your thing, I would recommend putting plants in those same areas to create a relaxing ambiance. A researcher from University of Queensland has recently found that an office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15 percent, which I’m sure any company would benefit from!

Blue: Blue also helps to provoke productivity. Blue is a calming color, and I would recommend use of the color on your office walls. Remember that tranquil, blue lamp in our dentist’s office? Blue helped calm the tone of the walls and eliminate some of the tension we were feeling.

Red: Have you ever heard of the saying “I’m seeing red”?  I have. And when you use red in an office space—or any space—it can provoke faster breathing and a faster heart rate that creates that feeling of actually “seeing red.” Although I would not recommend painting your office walls red, the color has been used by designers everywhere for furniture, since it attracts attention. However, although red can provoke creativity, it is best to use it as an accent color either in your décor or furniture options.

White: White is neutral, goes with everything and creates a more spacious, light space. If you are considering white walls, I would recommend strong accent colors such as red to help generate creativity. White is pure, and if you’re like me and enjoy creating new spaces for yourself more often than others, white is a good option. Accents can be changed easier than painting walls, and there is a fantastic selection of décor you can choose from whenever the mood hits you. It is also a more cost-effective option when you do like to change the décor of your spaces frequently. This can also be said for any neutral beige or off-white colors.

And we can’t forget …

Yellow: Yellow is bright—sometimes too bright. Yellow tends to put people on edge and has been known to fuel people’s anxiety, making them lose their tempers easily. I would not recommend yellow walls in an office space nor a dentist office; however, there are always ways you can make your favorite colors work either on your walls or in your décor. Just remember our second dentist’s office!

If you are unsure of how to fit your vision into your space, you can work with one of our designated furniture specialists who can help make that vision a reality. We have helped offices all over the country create the perfect space for their companies and employees. Every specialist on the team loves bringing those ideas and visions to life!

Let us know in the comments section below what color helps to increase your productivity.