Your Office in Color: Best Colors to Use For a Happy, Productive Workspace

Colors have a tendency to invoke emotion, and interestingly enough, a certain color m&m can taste better than another just because of its color, or the color of the bowl you’re eating it out of.

Research and evidence pointing to the above clarify that color is a substantial factor in our everyday surroundings, especially in the one place that surfaces many stresses – work. Knowing this, it could be safe to say that using mindful color combinations could boost employee morale, happiness, and productivity. So what, then, is the right color to use?

In determining your office’s perfect palette, it’s important to keep in mind that what may work for one space may be detrimental to another. Angela Wright, a dedicated researcher of the impact of color on behavior since the seventies, notes that color, when seen in different spaces, elicits a different response. Consider turning a corner in your home to face a typical brown house spider on the wall; while that would be an irritation, a black one with a red hourglass on its stomach would definitively provoke more of a frenzy. Wright remarks, “when the study of color harmony is combined with the science of psychology, reactions can be predicted with startling accuracy.”

Offices can be designed to conjure up specific moods or feelings depending on the location and the task at hand. And it’s not merely the color that makes an impact; it’s the intensity of each color. High-intensity colors are stimulating, and low-intensity colors tend to be soothing. Let’s take a look at the foundation of each color to determine if it should be incorporated into your workspace.


Blue is often used in open-plan workspaces and proves to have a beneficial impact on productivity. Regarded as a color of intellect, it can help to improve concertation and focus and eases mental strain.


Have you ever been to a medical exam? It likely had blank white walls and conveyed a sterile feeling. Studies suggest that white is the least advantageous color to have in an office setting, giving off an isolated, monotonous tone.


Yellow’s emotional undertones are fuel for creative fires. It is linked to positive emotions and invokes happy feelings in the brain. Yellow walls and elements are best in rooms filled with creatives to inspire ideas.


Our connection with nature makes green a harmonious, stress-reducing color. Different hues can surface different emotions, but overall, green has restorative properties that can improve employee attitudes and productivity. It’s also less harsh on the eyes, whereas other colors make our retinas adjust.


Red’s undertones are inherently energizing. Looking at red can increase the heart rate and can aid in carrying out physical tasks, which makes it a perfect color to use around demanding areas that require physical activity.


Offices are eager to incorporate slate grey colors into their workspaces, but too much grey can invoke a dull or depressing mood. Pops of grey can help to balance and neutralize a space, but overkill can chip away at employee tenacity.