How Color Makes You Work Better

decorating your office space

As a business owner, you might not consider decorating your office space to be a top priority. But the design elements of your office, particularly the colors you choose, can actually have a big impact on the mood and productivity of your team.

Mark Benhar, founder and president of Benhar Office Interiors, shares some tips below for using color to improve your office environment and productivity.

Understand Color Psychology

To really make use of color in your office, you need to understand the importance. Don’t just choose your personal favorite colors or stick with sterile white because it seems easy. You need to really research various color choices and consider how they could impact your business.

Benhar said in an email to Small Business Trends, “The idea is that visual stimulus, including colors, impacts employee behaviors, productivity levels, moods and attitudes. Research shows that wall colors can effect things such as perceived room temperature and ambiance. In a sense, selecting the right colors for a work place can play as much of a role in company success as selecting the right people to work for your organization.”

Think About How You Want Employees to Feel

To make the best use of color in your office, you need to think about the qualities that your team could most benefit from. Then you can integrate coordinating colors into your designs. For instance, if your team seems to be stressed, adding some green could help relax them a bit. But every color has different qualities that may impact your environment in different ways.

Benhar says, “Green is relaxing, for example. Blue is soothing, but can sometimes slow productivity. Reds boost heart rate and improve energy, but can be overwhelming, and oranges tend to be associated with socializing and enthusiasm. Yellow can impact alertness, but can also sometimes increase anxiety. All of these colors are great when used appropriately.”

Choose the Colors That Work Best for Each Space

But there’s no rule that says you have to pick one color and slather it throughout your entire office. You can incorporate different colors into the different parts of your office where they can have the most benefit. For instance, reds and oranges may work better in a conference room where you want to encourage active collaboration, rather than in individual work spaces.

Create a Color Story

While there are benefits to using different colors throughout your space, don’t just haphazardly paint every wall a different color. You need to make sure that the colors you choose all at least somewhat go together and flow in a way that makes sense. If it looks chaotic and not put together, it could undo all the good you intend to do with all of those new colors.

Choose Colors That Fit with Your Brand

To help you come up with a cohesive color story, you should consider what colors and shades fit with your branding. They don’t necessarily just need to be colors included in your logo and similar designs. But they should fit with the overall image that you want to portray for your brand.

Examine the Space You Have to Work

The actual space you have at your disposal can also make a big difference when it comes to your color choices. For instance, if you have an open office layout, you need to make sure that the entire space flows together with color. But if you have several separate areas, that could give you an opportunity to highlight different colors in different ways.

Choose Light and Bright Paint Colors

For the main colors in your office space, like the colors you choose to paint the walls, it’s often best to stick with light colors to brighten up the space. Dark colors can make the space look small and cluttered. So stick with neutrals or light colors and then add accents of darker or bolder colors if you choose.

Don’t Overstimulate When Decorating Your Office Space

No matter what colors you choose to work with, you need to make sure that they aren’t overwhelming. If you paint an entire room full of workspaces bright red in an effort to keep employees alert, it could have a detrimental effect overall.

Keep It Balanced

Too much concentration of any one color in any one area can be overwhelming and just not look great. But you can balance out your colors with accents like art, plants, furniture and other decorative pieces. Choose colors for those items that compliment your main wall colors but don’t just blend in. And make sure that the overall color scheme is consistent throughout the space.

Consider Adding an Accent Wall

An accent wall can be a great way to add a big splash of color without overwhelming your whole space.

Benhar says, “At Benhar Office Interiors, we have incorporated a welcoming red accent wall in our otherwise very calming, and mostly white-surfaced reception area. This incorporates our branding, adds an element of warmth, and creates a positive and favorable impression without being overpowering.”

Use Plants to Add Color

Plants can also be a great way to add some color and definition to your space. Carefully consider the types of plants that fit best with your space and make sure they are laid out consistently. You can even include plants that include colors other than green if they fit with your overall color story.

Choose Large Scale Art Pieces

Artwork is necessary to add some personality to your space and break up the solid colors on your walls. Large scale pieces can make your space feel bigger and help you introduce or carry your preferred colors throughout your space.

Avoid Corporate Art

However, Benhar cautions against using corporate art. Instead, go for interesting or abstract pieces that fit with your other colors and brand image.

Don’t Forget About Furniture

And since your space likely needs some furniture to function as a working office, make sure you consider those pieces when laying out your color story. You can even use furniture to add fun pops of color if you so choose.

Image: Benhar Office Interiors


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions
  1. More than color psychology, I am studying ways on how to make employeess feel focused such as focus music and aromatherapy. Surprisingly, it works.

    • Those are great points – there are so many different ways you can improve your workplace environment through seemingly small things.

  2. Very interesting, I have visited many office interiors where not only the colour scheme has been overlooked but the colour rendition of the lighting has been completely forgotten. If clients and designers want to create an inspirational work space interior then care must be taken when specifying the lighting, choice light fittings with good colour rendering index, many LED lighting schemes failed to provide lighting to the appropriate specification, watch out or talk with experienced lighting professionals & take advice.