Understanding The Psychology Of Colour In The Workplace

Colour is an important component of any well-designed workspace, and the right mix and balance can have dramatic effects on the psychological well-being of your workers. A splash n’ dash of colour here or there isn’t quite enough to leverage the full benefits, however. Rather, you’ll need to take into account how each individual colour affects people’s moods and energy levels. From there, it’s a question of how much colour to apply, lest you go overboard!

If done correctly, the use of colour in a workspace can add vibrancy and a positive mood to the entire place. Conversely, if done incorrectly, it can cause emotional mayhem, confusion and distractions that you’ll definitely want to avoid. Here’s what each of the most popular office design colours represents, and how you can use them properly in your workspace.



Blue is a calming and low-key colour that is often associated with productivity and professionalism, yet retains just enough personality to add the right touch of energy to a space. When applied correctly, it can help reduce stress levels, which makes it a great colour for a work area that requires a lot of focus and concentration. Think tech companies, financial institutions and writing hubs where workers need to apply their skills without distraction.

Blue may also be a great choice for boardrooms, especially if you’ll be inviting a lot of VIPs and clients over. The trick is not to go overboard with blue, or else it can drown the entire space with melancholy and frostiness. Instead, try to use blue for accents and highlights, where it can provide just the right dose of colour infusion.



Green is a colour that is often associated with nature, growth, and harmony, which is why it’s become so popular with offices embracing biophilic design. Green is a calming colour that can help to reduce anxiety levels and promote feelings of relaxation, partly because it taps into our instinctual connection with the natural world around us. 

Green is a great choice for office spaces where employees may be working on tasks that require creativity and concentration, since it helps reduce stress levels and redirect focus. When used in tandem with natural sunlight (as much as you can manage), it can boost morale and overall happiness, which is hugely beneficial for a productive workforce.



Yellow is a bright and energetic colour that can help to boost employee morale and creativity, but be careful how much you apply to a space! It’s often used in areas where employees are engaging in brainstorming sessions or working on creative projects, since it helps boost mental energy and creativity. 

For certain areas of the office, yellow can be a huge benefit, even in large amounts. However, you’ll want to avoid splashing too much of it around in areas that require extended periods of focus, or you’ll inadvertently stress your employees out. Yellow is also a great colour for the break room, so make sure to use it to highlight your ping pong and billiards tables. 



Red is one of the most abused colours in the office, and too much of it can wreak havoc on the well-being of your workers. Rather, it’s best to remember that red is intended to stimulate excitement and energy levels that can help workers focus better on specific tasks. Think of environments such as call centers or sales floors.

Red may indeed be the colour of love, but when used in overabundance, it can grate on people’s nerves and make them feel stressed out. Make sure to utilize it properly, or you may end up with one-too-many employee confrontations on the work floor!



Unlike pure yellow or red, orange is considered a far more versatile in-between colour that can be used in multiple scenarios. The nature of orange means it can help to stimulate creativity and promote positive energy levels, without stressing employees out in the process. It’s a great choice for office spaces where employees are working on creative projects, or areas where employees need to be energized and motivated.

You might get away with using more orange than less for a particular area, since it does have a positive net effect on psychological well-being. For best results, try to use it in areas with natural sunlight, which can highlight the colour and replicate the sensation of a sunny day. It may be harder to implement in large amounts for say, a room without windows, so you’ll want to be choosy.



Purple is a unique colour in the spectrum, as it can create feelings of refinement, luxury and creativity. This can help promote creativity and innovation in the workplace, making it a great choice for offices staffed with employees who utilize the right side of their brains most of the time. However, it’s important to remember that “purple” is just a generalization. Different shades will produce different results, and your office layout and lighting scheme may dictate which one you choose.

Powdered or lighter shades of purple may be more appropriate for your particular office space than say, a deep, saturated purple. If your workspace is dimly lit, then a darker purple may not be the best choice. Employees who might favor purple the best include videographers, graphic designers, digital artists, etc. 



There’s nothing wrong with utilizing good old fashioned black and white in a workspace, either, but be mindful how you apply them. To start with, black is a colour that is often associated with luxury, power and authority. It can help to create a sense of elegance and sophistication in the workplace, but too much black can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of depression or sadness. The objective should be to leverage black as an accent, or, alternatively, a base colour for brighter accents such as gold. Black can look sleek, svelte and attractive when done properly, but avoid coating entire walls with it, or your employees might think they’re working out of a dungeon. 

By contrast, white is considered the all-purpose neutral colour that you can fall back on if you aren’t sold on the idea of the other colours mentioned above. Regardless of the space, it can promote a sense of calm and clarity in the workplace, which means it’s perfect for minimalist office spaces where employees can focus without distraction.

However, too much white can be as bland as milquetoast, so you might want to refrain from too much of it. The elegance of white cannot be overstated, but it’s better to use it moderately alongside brighter and more vibrant colours, especially blue. If you’re still not sure, consider opting for an off-white colour such as eggshell, silver satin, cream, or classic gray. These colours also work well alongside pure neutral white to create accents and highlights that can add pizazz and class to your space.



Choosing colours for a workspace is no easy feat, but these tips can help guide you on which ones to choose for your particular office. Actual application of these colours is another matter, and it’s sometimes difficult to strike the right balance. If you’re in that particular boat, consider contacting us here at Sensyst so we can help.

We know colour inside and out, especially when it comes to applying it to a workspace. There are many variables to take into account, and we’ll make sure to analyze your office top to bottom before offering you the appropriate mix of colours to add beauty and class to your workspace. Your employees will thank you for it, and you’ll knock your clients’ socks off in the process!