What Color's in YOUR office?

Response to color is both emotional and behavioral. The right one for you can make you more efficient and effective, and make work easier.

Between 1970 and 1973, in Munich, Germany, IQ tests were administered in different room colors:  When students tested in colorless rooms—white, gray, brown and beige, the scores were up to 12 points below the average. When they tested in green, blue or coral rooms, their scores were up to 12 points above average. That is a 24-point spread based on room color alone; I’ve always wondered what the other variables may be.

The bottom line is this: color affects heart rate, brain wave activity, memory retention and recall, thinking style, comfort and behavior. The key to color selection is, rather than choose the color just because you like it, to consider the person and the primary tasks required by the work. Once you decide on the color family, then consider aesthetics—the tonal quality, saturation, and how to make it work with the rest of your decorating plan.

The best office color for a writer won’t be the same for a salesperson. A graphic designer and a bookkeeper use different parts of the brain. A purchasing agent and a life coach will have different needs, too.

Some people will perform better in an orange office (pumpkin or peach); others in blue (slate or Caribbean), while someone else may need purple (grape or lavender) or yellow (butter or maize). Almost no one does best work in white, beige or gray.


Rebecca Ewing Color & Design  404.285.9518

rebeccaewing@mac.com  rebecca@HandsOnHues.com

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jan July 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Good article, interesting that it makes such a difference in the IQ. I've found green is my color for creativity and inspiration, my office is a light green with a hint of blue for relaxation. I remember working in an office painted in drab military colors, greens, grays, tans, very depressing. I would have referred you to them if I knew you back then!
Rebecca Ewing July 12, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I remember that awful, drab gray-green of the 1950s and 60s. It WAS depressing. And I've worked with at least a dozen people who can't handle the beautiful sages because it reminds them of eye-ease green. Your office sounds lovely. And perfect.
Diana Charles, Know Thyself Healing Center July 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Great article, Rebecca. My office is a healing space so I've painted the walls a light coral and have highlighted with other colors from the sea: aqua blues, greens, sand. People comment all the time about what a soothing space it is.
Rebecca Ewing July 15, 2012 at 01:40 PM
It sounds perfect, Diana.


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