Using Colours to Define Your Workspace

Using Colours to Define Your Workspace

Using Colours to Define Your Workspace

The impact that colours make on workspaces has been widely researched and discussed for many years now, so we’re all well-acquainted with the fact that colours have the ability to influence moods and behaviour – for better or for worse.

However, despite the number of articles on the subject, relatively few organisations have got around to using colours to improve their workspaces, with the notable exception of those that have used their company colours to brand their places of business, and often with great effect.

Here’s a quick look at how you can really improve your organisation’s workspace with the use of colour, all the while keeping in line with your all-important in-house branding objectives.

Colour Associations

It’s important to bear colour associations in mind when redecorating or refurbishing your workspace because certain colours, even though they may be your company’s brand colours, are often not an ideal choice for the walls of a place of business.  

A good example of this is pink, for although it’s renowned for having a relaxing effect in the workplace, because of its feminine inference it may not represent an appropriate choice of colour in many professional environments. However, it’s also important to understand that all colours have both positive and negative associations, as can be seen from the examples below.

White -  Positive: clarity, efficiency, sophistication. Negative: barriers, elitism, sterility.

Orange -  Positive: abundance, fun, passion. Negative: deprivation, frustration, immaturity.

Blue -  Positive: calm, logical, trust. Negative: aloofness, coldness, unfriendliness.

These examples highlight the fact that all colours have both positive and negative associations, so whilst someone might view a certain colour positively, someone else might see the opposite.

This is a prominent reason for not going overboard with any particular colour in the workplace, but rather using neutral colours, like cream or off-white, for large areas, like the walls of the office, and then using productivity-enhancing colours (or the colours of your brand) for the doors, skirting boards and other areas. Nevertheless, many modern workspaces feature one or two bold colours prominently and are truly inspirational environments in which to work.

Harnessing the Power of Colours

While it’s important to bear colour associations in mind when selecting colours to define your workspace, particularly with regard to suitability for a particular space, it’s also very important to focus on the positive aspects of each colour rather than dwell on the negatives.

  • Stable colours

Stability is naturally very important in any workspace and blue is just the colour to deliver it. This calming, soothing colour also happens to feature prominently in many company’s branding colour schemes and logos, so you may be lucky enough to have the opportunity to use blue prominently throughout your workspace as part of your in-house branding efforts.

Some interior designers advise using blue throughout the entire workspace (it helps staff focus on their work) and complementing it by using other colours as accents. Green is another top choice as a stable, calming colour and one that lends itself particularly well to modern workspaces.

  • Stimulating colours

If there ever was a colour to stimulate creativity it has to be yellow. Some people find it a bit much (it’s often a bit too bright under office lights), but there are many alternatives to the strong, bright lemon yellows that are very popular these days, like pastel yellows.

Red is another stimulating colour, and although it’s a bit too fiery for some, there’s much to be said for invoking emotion and passion in the workplace at times. There is such a thing as too much red in the workplace, however, so use it sparingly, perhaps as an accent to complement other colours, like yellow and blue, or to draw attention to a particular area.

These four colours (blue, green, yellow and red) are the most popular colours for business and productivity, but that isn’t to say we should be restricted in any way when selecting colour schemes.

What’s more, some colours that frequently get a bad rap, like grey and brown, can be used to great effect with more daring colours, like different hues of blue and yellow. A light, sky blue can bring out the best in grey, as can eggshell yellow with brown. You wouldn’t restrict yourself in business, so why do the same with your workspace colour schemes?

Important Points to Take Note of When Using Colours

There are a number of important points that you’re advised to take note of when looking into your options concerning colour schemes and workspace branding, including the following.

  • No colour is ‘wrong’

Despite the fact that all colours have both positive and negative connotations (and some have more negative connotations than others), there really is no such thing as a wrong colour to use in your workspace. However, there is such a thing as the ‘wrong way to use a colour in a workspace’, so it isn’t necessarily the choice of colour used, but how it is used that matters.

  • Hue saturation is very important

Hue saturation is just as important as the colour itself, according to prominent colour psychologist Angela Wright. This means that colour intensity is a factor that needs to be considered when selecting colours for the workplace, as bright, strong colours have a tendency to stimulate whereas colours with a lower colour saturation tend to have a soothing effect.

  • Colours work best with others

Like our employees, colours tend to be at their best when surrounded by others, so don’t limit the colour scheme of your office to a single colour offset by white, but instead use colours in coordination with each other to emphasise their strong points. And they all have many.

Whether you’re looking at changing the colour schemes in your workplace as part of your branding efforts, or simply looking for innovative and relatively inexpensive ways to refresh and reinvigorate your place of work (and likely your employees as well), using colours to define your workspace offers a world of possibilities. Get in touch with the Saracen team today to discuss your ideas and create an inspirational workspace that truly defines your organisation.


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