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The Colour De-Coder: choosing colour with purpose in the workplace

Need to drive more energy in the office? Trying to promote a calm, harmonious environment? Colour can go a long way to helping you achieve your business goals. Matt Blatt’s commercial team has the inside scoop on using the rainbow to ramp up productivity and boost morale in the workplace…


Associated with energy, excitement, activity, power and courage, red is an intense colour which can boost the heart rate and brain function for short bursts, but it’s the enemy of long-term concentration. Best used as an accent – on chairs, artwork, cushions – or to attract attention to a new product, red is a bold choice for breakout areas rather than as a wall colour in any space where people spend long periods of time. Red is also known to stimulate appetite, making it an intelligent choice for restaurants and dining rooms.


Associated with trust, logic, efficiency, concentration and calm, blue is the favourite colour of more people worldwide than any other, so using it as a base for any commercial interior is likely to please more people than not. It’s also been shown to increase productivity and help study. It does, however, have a negative effect on appetite, so it’s a less favoured choice in the food industry.


Universally liked and known for being balanced, refreshing, reassuring, the colour of nature and easy on the eye, green encourages efficiency and wards off fatigue, making it an inspired choice for libraries, studies, boardrooms and workspaces where long periods of concentration are the norm. Green is soothing, puts people at ease and gives off an air of eco-friendliness, with dark green often representing wealth and prestige.


Although it’s associated with confidence, optimism, creativity, emotion and friendliness, many people aren’t fans of yellow, so if you’re looking for widespread appeal, proceed with caution. Too much yellow can increase stress and irritation, while softer shades of yellow have been shown to assist innovation so may be clever choices for creative workplaces – in moderation. To harness the positive qualities of yellow, use it in small doses, such as through artwork, or in occasional chairs.


A warm colour signifying fun, frivolity and energy, orange is a great colour for a canteen or kitchen to give employees an energy boost, and to ‘wake them up’ for the afternoon activities ahead.

Black & White

Sophisticated and glamorous, black anchors a room but can seem overbearing and cold if not used in moderation. White is contemporary, clean, simple and heightens the perception of space, but an all-white workplace can be blinding, boring and counteract creativity, so be sure to accent with colour to avoid a sterile, uptight atmosphere.

Pink & Purple

A top pick for businesses in the pampering and beauty sectors where a cosy, comforting, indulgent ambience is called for, too much pink, especially in soft shades, may dampen the energy and appear too casual for many other workplace settings. Luxurious, spiritual, regal and visionary, purple encourages deep thinking and meditation.

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