When Color Psychology Goes Wrong


Utilizing color psychology in our workspaces can help employees increase productivity, regulate mood, and even avoid burnout. It almost sounds too good to be true. So what are the negative effects of adding color to your commercial office space?


When it comes to implementing color in the office, it turns out there is a wrong way to do it. We know that too much of anything is bad, and in this case, too much color can be overwhelming, distracting, and confusing. When choosing a color, consider the available space, the lighting, and the target audience.




Using the color red is a great way to draw attention to a designated space, but using large amounts tends to have the opposite effect. Large, unbroken areas of red can be interpreted as aggressive or overwhelming. Instead of featuring a red wall, channel power and productivity with red accent chairs. For many, seeing the color red can increases their heart rate. And while that may coincide with an increase in energy and productivity, seeing too much red can trigger anger and anxiety. No one wants to be that worked up at work!




Studies show that the color green boosts creativity, focus, and concentration. Green often represents the natural world, balance, and harmony. Plus, it’s the color of money! Is it possible to go wrong with green? While it may seem that green offers only benefits, the color’s strength is its downfall. Research says that most people associate green with good things, but the color makes some so emotional that they may have trouble remembering information correctly. While in the workplace, stick to darker greens and natural accents to get in the right mind.




The office is perfect for yellow to shine, but too much can be blinding. Since the color yellow reflects light, avoid incorporating large amounts in a work environment. Large, unbroken areas of yellow can induce eye fatigue and encourage brain fog, too! Instead, think of yellow like the sun and enjoy it sparingly. Even better, implement yellow only as a secondary color (to a darker complementary color) for maximum effectiveness. Although yellow represents mental clarity, awareness, and optimism, even too much sunshine will wear employees down.


Color Psychology Considerations


When implementing color in the workplace, it’s important to consider both the team goals and the surrounding environment, including the natural lighting, floor layout, and preferred personal space. Read the room! Remember, with red, be intentional with placement. Consider incorporating green in common areas instead of conference rooms. And avoid implementing yellow in employee personal space.

How do color choices impact employees and customers? Despite intentions to increase productivity and contribute to employee wellness, the color you choose can have a negative effect on the work environment. Make sure to maximize your commercial office space by using the right colors.

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