Step out of the grey and show your true colours

28/01/2016

Step out of the grey area and show your true colours

Adding a splash of colour is a highly effective way to jazz up your workspace. However, understanding how effective colour can be, how to use it and which colours to use and which to avoid is key to getting it right.

Research shows that the colours you choose can not only affect employee moods, behaviour and productivity, it can also stimulate collaboration, creativity and cooperation as well as elements such as perceived room temperature and ambience. Before simply covering your walls in the industry standard shade of magnolia, we share some tips for using colour to improve your workplace.

Get Emotional:

We all associate colours with what they represent, for example, red for fire, blue for air / sea, yellow the sun and brown / green for trees. These are emotional responses to colour as opposed to intellectual responses. The emotional impact of colour should reflect the activities being performed in the space. If you need the space to be active and encourage collaboration, then choose reds and yellows. Choose oranges for social areas such as canteens or break out areas and blues and greens for private spaces or areas where concentration and calm is required.

Use the 60-30-10 Rule:

If you look at most interior design magazines, you'll notice that the rooms you like the most are invariably divided into percentages of 60-30-10. 60% of a dominant colour - usually on the walls; 30% of a secondary colour to provide visual interest  - usually the furniture coverings; 10% of an accent colour - perhaps wall art, plants or a floral display. This is a good way to keep it visually balanced and not overwhelming.

Use the wheel:

Simplify the process of choosing your colour scheme by using a colour wheel and narrowing down your choices to two schemes. Choose colours that complement your brand but they don't necessarily have to include your logo colour. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the wheel, e.g.red/green, blue/yellow or purple/orange. Rooms decorated with a complementary scheme clearly separate colours and can be more formal and visually challenging. On the other hand analogous colours are next to each other on the wheel e.g. yellow/green, blue /purple or red/orange. Rooms using an analogous colour scheme are typically causal, restful and muted and are suited to more informal areas.

Flow the colour:

Don't just paint every room the same colour or indeed each one a different colour. Make sure that the colours complement each other and that there appears to be a "flow" between each space.

In order to create a flow of colours from one room to another, simply choose a colour you're using in one room and restate it in a different way in an adjoining space. For example, if your office chairs are green, use the same green for wall art in the meeting room and use that same colour in varying degrees throughout the office.

Other top tips:

Incorporate one-off, interesting or colourful furniture pieces for pops of colour or contrast.

If your team is affected by stress or pressure, adding green can add a soothing element. Use plants to achieve this but be mindful of positioning and consistency - they have greater impact when grouped together.
Don't forget the black - you will clarify and enhance all the other colours in the space by adding a black element such as a lampshade, picture frame or other accent -try it - it really works!
For the main colours, stick with light shades as dark colours can make your space appear small and cluttered.
A high-contrast space - a room that combines light and dark colours e.g. deep burgundy with light gold, appears clearer and more highly defined than a space that incorporates low contrasts. So use high contrast to enhance the formality of a room and low contrast to introduce soothing qualities.
Future design trends indicate that natural palettes of grey, stone and charcoal will dominate. Intense bright, bold colours will also feature as will accents of fluorescent or acid tints such as lime. Inky-blues will be a strong trend especially when accented with lime which will give the perception of a contemporary environment.

Take a look around you, is your colour scheme uninspiring or is your paintwork lacking lustre, or do you think your workplace could just do with a bit of a shake up? We have decades of experience in office design, adding just the right balance of colour to suit your space and your people. From full scale fit-outs to simple space planning, redecorations and furniture upgrades, challenge the office interiors and workplace design specialists to improve your workspace.

Look out for our next article on how to use features such as flooring and lighting with tremendous effect.


Back to recent articles