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Bumble HQ
30 Sep 2019

How injecting colour into your office can change your mood

Words by  Photo by Laura Alexandra

Interior designer Vanessa Arbuthnott talks about the most popular colours people choose when decorating their workplaces, and the science behind them.

Colour is something we take for granted every day, but it works wonders in elevating our mood and wellbeing. It can make us feel motivated, fill us with confidence, calm us or even spark romance. It can affect our attitudes and our minds and is an important thing to consider in your decorating choices for the office or workplace. 

1. Blue
Represents serenity, intelligence and protection.

1. Fuse  by Jump Studios, Photograph by Gareth GardnerFuse by Allen & Overy; photograph by Gareth Gardner 

A study on the impact of colour showed that students exposed to blue before undertaking an exam were more successful and achieved better results, and another showed that students got better results on exams printed on blue paper – all of which makes it the perfect colour to paint your office to boost thinking power. Too much blue, however, can make a room feel cold and people feel unwelcome – be sure to balance this colour with warm undertones such as yellows and creams.

2. Green
Represents nature, balance and wealth.

 2. Appodeal tech startup, Photograph by Dmitry TsyrencshikovAppodeal a tech startup in Minsk; photograph by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov

Green is often used in bedrooms due to its natural links and calming nature. It is also said that green can prevent nightmares.

Read more: Biophilic design for the office that goes beyond indoor plants

Beware of green in large doses: it can be linked to feelings of envy and jealousy – the infamous green-eyed monster.

3. Yellow
Represents energy, happiness and attention.

Bumble HQ, photograph by Laura AlexandraBumble HQ; photograph by Laura Alexandra

Yellow is the best colour to create enthusiasm and can awaken greater confidence and optimism. However, too much yellow can cause distress and is best avoided in bedrooms or spaces where you need a sense of calm.

4. Orange
Represents reassurance and warmth.

4. Oodi helsinki, Photograph by Tuomas UusheimoOodi Helsinki; photograph by Tuomas Uusheimo

Orange is a social colour often used in gyms and active wear brands due to its motivational, get up and go qualities. However, in America it can have negative connotations, often thought of with prison uniforms and Halloween.

5. Red
Represents passion, optimism and adventure.

X+Why, photograph by James BalstonX+Why, a co-working space in London; photograph by James Balston

Red is the colour of passion, attracts attention and is traditionally associated with sparking romance. It is also used a lot in food and drink branding across the world as it is known to stimulate appetite.

6. Pink
Represents calm, sweetness and love.

XYZ Lounge, photograph by Felipe RibonXYZ Lounge, a mixed use complex in Belgium; photograph by Felipe Ribon

A lovely colour to use, pink can counteract anger and violence. In fact, a study at a US state prison showed that inmates were significantly calmer when exposed to Baker Miller Pink. However, in society pink can also represent a sense of immaturity, a lack of willpower and self-worth. This can be easily balanced with an injection of black and grey which work well with the lighter colour.

7. Lilac
Represents creativity, spirituality and mystery. 

Super Lyan Bar, photograph by Ashkan Mortezapour PhotographySuper Lyan Bar in Amsterdam; photograph by Ashkan Mortezapour Photography

Lilac is proven to be the most spiritual colour, often linked with the area between earth and heaven and used a lot by spiritualists. Use it in your office bathroom for a calming space but remember to add in some other brighter tones, especially in livelier areas, as too much lilac can seem depressing to some.

8. Grey and Black
Represents protection, formality and strength.

Monoarchi office, photograph by Ripei QuiMonoarchi office in China; photograph by Ripei Qui

Although it might not be the first colour that comes to mind, black implies self-control and discipline. It also symbolises independence and a strong will and gives an impression of authority and power. However, it is worth remembering that too much black can cause depression and a negative environment so be sure to use in moderation. Grey is a very popular choice at the moment due to its versatility and works well in any room. Yellow works particularly well with grey as a contrasting bright.

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