This informal CPD article Colour Psychology: Interior Design Your Way to a Happy Home Office was provided by Centre of Excellence. For many of us, ‘WFH’ was an unknown acronym not much more than a year ago. Now it’s a lifestyle, a cultural statement, a meme. Working from home has undoubtedly become the new normal - and given the benefits to both employers and employees, perhaps the new normal will last. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, estimates 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
So, perhaps it’s time to settle into the home office, quiet corner or kitchen table and create an environment that promotes productivity and a happy work life. But not everyone has the space, time, or money to craft the perfect home office from scratch. Luckily, the practice of colour psychology can change the mood of any space and how you feel within it. There are four different psychological primaries; red, which affects the body, blue, which affects the mind, yellow, which affects emotion, and green, which affects the inner balance of all the former.
Accounting for these pillars, conceived of by famed colour psychologist, Angela Wright, who developed the Colour Affects System, the perceived wisdom is to avoid red for home office design. There’s a sense of urgency to the colour, which is why brands often use it in advertising. While red might not be the perfect hue for your space, close relatives orange and pink might offer better accent options. Opt for subtle tones, such as peach, which offer youthful energy and whimsy, and could stimulate creativity. Likewise, neutrals such as soft beiges, browns and terracotta colours provide warmth, strength, and earthiness.
Indeed, earthiness is a trusted mood to have in mind as you approach optimal colour schemes for a home office. Green is widely thought of as a gratifying go-to for its connotations of fresh growth - not to mention, greens are easiest on the eyes. Deep pine and forest greens give balance with added gravitas.
Also easy on the eyes are greys. However, when used without colour splashes, they can appear cold, clinical and altogether lackluster. Likewise, white can be used to great effect to create a clean and practical space - but too much of a good thing can leave a home office devoid of personality. An off-white might provide more comfort throughout the working day.
To incorporate the corporate seriousness of white with a little richness, try a dark blue for deep thought and pensive moments. Allow for a lot of natural light with any darker tones, especially black. You might think black an odd choice for a workspace but it makes for a reliable and professional finish and is guaranteed to match your furnishings. Moreover, if you’re sharing with children, partners or roommates, blackboard paint can transform any flat surface into an additional play or workspace.
Meanwhile, yellow can inject a little creativity and optimism. These three colours complement each other well so would make a great partnership for your home office - just make sure you hit the right saturation for your yellow if you take the plunge.
Think of saturation as the key to the kind of space you want. Highly saturated jewel tones promote productivity and innovation while softer, low-intensity hues are more likely to ease your working burdens and inject your 9 to 5 with some calm, precise decision making. It’ll come in handy when deciphering what colour scheme will work best for you as you work from home.
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