3 tips for using color in the workplace

Many clients come to us wanting to incorporate color into their workplace for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to boost morale and foster productivity or simply to reinforce branding, color is a great way to refresh a space, add some personality, and create a more effective work environment. However, it’s important to understand that color, and people’s response to it, is very personal and very subjective. Here are three tips to successfully introduce color into your workplace.

1. Start neutral
Select a neutral palette for items that are a more significant investment. In building materials, this might be flooring, millwork, or wall tile. In furniture, it may take the form of overall workstation finishes, such as panel system fabrics, storage components, and worksurfaces. In general, choose neutral colors for elements that you aren’t going to change often and that need to remain timeless through passing trends.

2. Add pops of color
Choose a few colors to feature and then spark some visual interest in your space by applying color and pattern to items that are less expensive to change. In a private office, this may mean designating an accent wall or adding a dramatic piece of artwork. Take it a step further by adding bright seating or colorful tackboard fabric.

In the ISCG showroom above, Haworth’s Reside product line was installed using neutral paint and laminates, yet subtle visual interest was added via the maize privacy screen and the patterned storage cushion. Both items are easily changed out when we want to refresh the look.


Bright blue accent tiles make a statement on the otherwise neutral Compose workstations above. Colorful upholstery fabrics and table bases teamed with a bright orange backsplash establish a vibrant work environment. These pops of color provide interest without being visually distracting or overwhelming.


Use color as artwork, like these 5mm thick panels of felt installed on the walls above. Mimic the drama of an oversized art piece at a fraction of the price, and provide an easily changeable accent wall. The acoustic properties that this soft surface provides makes this a very clever double-duty solution. The guest chairs that have been upholstered in a variety of solid colors provide further visual interest.

3. Add some drama
Reserve the drama of highly-saturated colors and bold graphic statements for areas of activity or areas that experience limited exposure (for example: lobbies, lounges, and restrooms). These “impact” areas also tend to have less detail and components vying for your attention, so you won’t suffer from stimulus overload. People will appreciate the energy from a burst of color as they are walking through a space, but few would want the eyestrain that might result from staring at a lime green wall all day long.


An interesting and unconventional use of color makes this space visually soar. Your eye is drawn upward, yet it also makes the lounge space feel more intimate.


This space demonstrates a fearless use of bright colors for maximum impact.


One bold graphic is all that’s needed to spark interest and energy into this collaborative space.

Whether subtle or bold, there are so many creative ways to successfully incorporate color into your workplace. If you’ve been inspired by any of these ideas and are ready to add some visual impact in your facility, give us a call – we welcome the opportunity to help you put together a plan!


Header image via

Design, ProductsMichele