Working from home, or a hybrid of home and office, is a change that is proving hard to reverse. Many people report higher job satisfaction, mental health and overall well-being than their counterparts who have returned to full-time office work.
The work-from-home phenomenon
This new reality created some new interior design needs, as people look to create or improve permanent spaces within their homes where they can continue with their jobs. A workspace is after all decidedly different in nature from a conventional home space such as the kitchen – unless you are a chef, of course! Now that working from home has been with us all for almost four years, the new consideration is ongoing maintenance and/or revamping of the home office in a way that will continue to encourage productivity.
Colour is an easy way to update an interior space. When it comes to choosing colours for these home workspaces, Plascon offers several handy guidelines that can be followed, and some valuable insights from colour psychology to help steer choices in the right direction.
People instinctively know what colours resonate with them, what “feels right”, but not everyone knows why this is the case. The reason why some colours encourage positivity and are uplifting, and others are just downright gloomy, has to do with more than simply context.
Colour comes from light and is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, with each individual colour having its own unique frequency or wavelength. These on the “cool” side of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths (with violet having the shortest), while these on the “warm” side have longer wavelengths (with red having the longest).
Stress reducing shades
According to colour psychology, cool tones are the most stress-reducing shades, so they are ideal for a home working environment. Greens, blues and green-blues are all colours that put people at ease because they bring a sense of tranquillity. These shorter-wavelength colours are less agitating. For those working in a fast-paced industry, opting for a cooler tone such as Green Light Go (G2-A1-2) or Mulberry Leaf (G1-C1-1) can help contribute to easing work stress by inducing a sense of calmness.
To create a sense of wellness, or for those working in the healthcare sector, a soft light green is a wise choice because it is known to be a healing colour. Lighter pastel colours, such as Isle of Green (G2-A1-4), are calming.
The climate and location of the room must also be considered when choosing colours for a workspace. The general rule is that if the walls are painted in cool colours, the room will feel cooler than it would if the space is painted in warmer hues. A space that gets a lot of sunlight or isn’t well insulated, and thus is hard to cool, benefits from the use of a cool colour.
Warmer shades, brown, taupe or sand hues can keep walls from looking dreary.
Opting for a neutral white or grey, which is considered neither warm nor cool, is always a safe choice. But white comes with its own issues: It reflects the highest amount of light and heat, so a pure-white room can be energy-draining. If a person is working in front of a computer all day, it is best to avoid white, as the glare caused by the high reflective properties of white can cause optical fatigue, resulting in excessive strain on the eyes and, as a result, affecting productivity levels in an office-like environment.
Neutral colours may appear to lean more towards one side of the spectrum, depending on their undertones – for instance, a cream colour with a yellow undertone will appear warm, while a grey with blue undertones may seem cool. For those who love neutral colours, rather look at an off-white, such as Sandy Bay (87), Lagoon Mirror (3) or Afternoon Shower (Y4-C2-3).
When it comes to the use of bolder colours, blue is calming and aids productivity focus and communication, which makes it ideal for meeting rooms. That said, too much blue can become cold. Yellow is energising and stimulating, and ideal for an accent colour in a room.
Red should be used sparingly, as it is overstimulating – an individual with anger issues, for example, will be pushed into an agitated state when exposed to a wall painted in this colour. Instead, deeper, richer colours are better because they give a more comforting, homey feel, even if in a working space.
When deciding which colours to use in your work-from-home space, these choices should be made with plenty of consideration for not only the area being painted, but also the individual using it.
For more advice on what colours are best to use where, and why, contact the Plascon Colour Consultancy: