There are four psychological primary colours – blue, red, yellow and green – according to the Colour Affects website. These colours relate to the body, the mind and your emotional balance. By understanding how to best use specific colours in certain areas of your life you can be more productive.
Interior designer from INK Design Lab, Lisebo Mokhesi says, “We spend the vast majority of our lives in closed environments, so colour psychology is the belief that colour in the physical domain has an effect on mood and emotions, which in turn could have an effect on performance and productivity.”
When designing an office space it usually depends on what sort of office environment you want, as well as what sort of business it is, says Director of D Cubed Interiors Karen Thiel. It also depends on what type of person you are. If you are a creative person, you are likely to want a fair amount of stimulation and energy in your environment, with the option to remove yourself every now and then to a secondary calmer space, says Mokhesi.
According to Colour Affects, red is a powerful colour. It can be seen as quite aggressive and demanding. Red is also said to work on people’s appetites. For this reason red is a good colour for a dining room or eating area, not necessarily an office space. Red also has the potential to make a room look smaller, according to paintcor.co.za, so for already small offices red is not advisable.
Yellow is an emotional colour. It will lift your spirits and self-esteem, and is seen as a colour of confidence and optimism. However, there can be too much of a good thing and this can cause plummets in self-esteem. Too much happiness can get a bit much for anyone. Yellow is also most likely to strain eyes or cause eye fatigue, says paintcor.co.za.
Green is the colour of balance, according to Colour Affects. It is a reassuring colour to many people and can also be seen as fresh and new. Green can be used to open up a space, perhaps to make small offices seem larger. There are dangers of green being seen as too bland if it is used on its own.
“The current trend in a lot of offices is going with more natural colours and then bringing in some greens to add a bit of freshness to the office,” says Thiel.
Blue is reportedly the colour of the mind. It has a mental effect on us and will encourage thought and concentration. It is also a very calming colour, so in work environments that tend to generate high levels of stress, blue can help with relaxing people. It can also be seen as the colour of good communication.
When trying to create a productive work environment Mokhesi suggests light colours coupled with an environment which allows for maximum penetration of natural light. This will make for a bright, airy and seemingly larger space. We are happier and generally more productive in an open space.
“Colour must be part of a holistic office planning process. Without foregoing practicality, colour can be an effective part of improving workplace productivity,” says Mokhesi.