Select Interiors

Thinking in colour – Office Design and the effect of colours on mood and productivity



Does an office with orange carpets have more productive workers than one with grey?

A recent event explored the psychological effect of designing with different shades. The example above by Select Interiors Ltd for Mediacom uses vibrant colours to define zones for different teams within the business

The Psychology of Colour in the Workplace, a recent exhibition in Margate Turner Contemporary gallery. The thought-provoking demonstration of the effect of colour on mood and productivity, enlisted the help of global trend experts WGSN to present colour theories and suggestions for their application in workplace design.


Three office settings in different colour palettes were used to explore the themes of the day.

The commercial architects and designers viewed a room at a time, reflecting on the thoughts and feelings stimulated by each one. The spaces have been created using the same pieces of furniture in order to emphasise the effect of the colours.

After the room partitions were removed and the exhibition space revealed in its entirety, Gemma Riberti of WGSN addressed the audience, revealing the psychological theory behind their responses and the potential benefits of colour in the workplace.

Riberti applied the principles of colour psychology, the analysis of the impact of colour on human emotions and behaviour, to the three rooms. She also highlighted current trends shaping the use of colour in the workplace, including the domestication of the office.

The three palettes that have been chosen to offer the opportunity to explore very different colour groups: warm and cold; emotional and rational; physical and intellectual.

The first room, “warm” in reds, oranges and yellows, brings a sense of energy, optimism and enthusiasm to the space. This was a very stimulating display, and these are high-wavelength and emotionally intense colours, ideal for detail-oriented tasks, brainstorming and socialising design by Levitt Bernstein, fit out by Select Interiors Ltd.

The above examples are of Offices designed and fitted out by Select Interiors Office Designers and Fit Out Company Manchester for Biz Spaces, Rapport People Agency & Mediacom using ‘vibrant’ tones to stimulate and enervate staff. Research suggest the positive effects of colour zoning, a technique often employed by Select Interiors Manchester Office Design & Fit Out Company in workplace design

The second room, using various hues of blue, demonstrates the very different benefits of colder colours.  Blue is seen as a “safe” colour for office design, “the most commercial for workspace interiors, commonly accepted as one of the most productive colours”. Its links to intellectualism and reassurance make it ideal for production and processing.

See example above this recent office design & fit out by Select Interiors Manchester for Biz Spaces Ltd, Intelligent Conversation & Calibre Search Ltd all use shades of Blue and Grey for a productive business environment.

In the centre of these two contrasts is the neutral room with its white and grey palette: “White has a modern and cool appeal but many want warmer, cosier and more personal spaces”.  White has an antiseptic feel that can limit stimulation and energy – and the glare that it creates can be quite intense, straining the eyes, though also can be thought of as clean and crisp.

Examples above by Select Interiors Ltd fit out for QA Consulting & Allied London Estates head office fitted out by Select Interiors Ltd using neutrals to good effect.

Displaying the neutral room between the warm and cold colour schemes presents it as “a provocation of thought, where people entering the room become the element of colour, the revitalising detail of the space”. A neutral scheme as illustrated above can make a workspace itself subside, allowing users to bring the space to life with their personalities and accessories as Allied London has done with their eclectic furniture.

Popular colours that weren’t explored in the three room sets above, including the use of green in office design, its links to nature often seen as a response to the ever-growing role of technology in the workplace. Also; the increasing use of pastel colours in a response to the ‘homely’ office.

Legranja Design Studio a Spanish practice’s MD quipped after a high-profile office design and fit out for Typeform in Barcelona “if it resembles an office we’ve utterly failed’’. See the image below of the scheme that literally marries the green link with nature and ‘homely’ office concepts.

Office design above Typeform an expanding start-up company in Barcelona.

It’s certainly food for thought, but there is no rulebook for the use of colour in the workplace – the psychology of colour is based upon the emotional responses of the individual. “The key is to balance and layer a selection of complementary and contrasting tones.  People will always have different reactions to colours, so using a good variety and contrast of colour, to refresh and stimulate staff, is perhaps the most effective approach”.

It is one of the biggest questions for all UK businesses at the moment: how can companies make their office somewhere that attracts and retains rather than dissuades staff? Tech companies are leading the way but companies from all sectors like Strategic People are investing in their working environment. The benefits this brings can often be difficult to measure. Select Interiors Ltd Manchester Office Fitters will unlock the potential of the space with creative and cost-effective options for companies looking to move or refurbish.

We at Select Interiors Manchester know It makes sense to create office environments that not only make the most efficient use of space but that incorporate a sense of fun and unique bespoke elements to every scheme.  

Talk to the experts about how an engaging fit out can improve productivity and wellbeing to help attract & retain motivated staff call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040.

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