We recently were hired by a startup to select paint colors for their office. It’s been awhile since they had moved in but they were so busy that the office was not put together. Which was perfectly fine until they had a big client meeting on the books. It was time to make the office look pulled together, instead of looking like a college dorm room.
Picking colors for a commercial setting or office is a little different from picking colors for your living spaces. There are different purposes and different considerations when it comes to the business setting. In your living areas, you will want to be comfortable and relaxed to enjoy your time away from work and recharge properly. At the office, it is a different story. Here is how we approached selecting colors for the client.
1. WHAT’S YOUR BRAND?
For any business, it is important to communicate your brand everywhere. Everything you do should reflect your brand, including your office. The client’s logo is dark blue, with orange as their accent color (as pictured above). To paint every wall in either of these colors can be very overwhelming and becomes distracting.
But, we still want the visitors and clients to be aware of the brand when they are in the office. So painting the brand colors on accent walls is the best option to have the branding represented in a tasteful way. Painting accent walls is also a great way to build a focal point for the interior.
2. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLORS
Colors affect us mentally and physically. For example, a lot of restaurants incorporate red in their color scheme because red can spark appetites. Blue conveys trustworthiness, which is why many corporations use blue in their logos, like Twitter and IBM. For the office, we want the staff to feel relaxed but focused when they perform their work, especially if they will be spending long hours on the computer.
For this project, I focused on the blue-green color palettes for productivity reason (with exception of the kitchen & rest area). Studies have shown that blue-green color palettes inspire the most productivity, whereas orange inspires conversations and tend to move meetings faster. (source)
3. CHOOSE PAINT THAT IS HEALTHY
You spend a lot of time at work, pretty much 1/3 of your life, so it’s important to be in a healthy environment that won’t add on stress to your body. We generally recommend Benjamin Moore Aura paint, which is a great paint that is high quality, great for high traffic areas and eco-friendly. It is eco-friendly because it is low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compound).
VOCs are solvents that get released into the air as the paint dries. (Other products emit solvents, including adhesives, cleaning supplies, and even some home furnishings.) VOCs can cause acute symptoms, including headaches and dizziness. The long-term effects are less certain, but according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some VOCs are suspected carcinogens. (source: Consumer Reports)
4. USE COLORS TO DEFINE ZONES
In this particular project, there are a lot of different areas: kitchen/lunch room, individual offices, board room, entry/ front room/ reception area. I selected different colors to help to define the different zones. But with different colors, the costs would be higher as well since you would be paying for different colors. So I generally give clients options to have overall colors or have different colors to help to define different areas of the office.
Colors have temperatures, just like the weather. For this particular project, I noticed the temperature of the rooms were a bit warm when I walked in, so I picked cooler colors, like blue & green. Cooler color palette is also great for small rooms.
Here are the end results, photos taken by the clients! (Before on the left, after on the right.)
We also got some great feedback from the client:
“We turned to Staged4more in a major panic–our San Francisco-based start-up offices were in terrible shape and we had a new client meeting in two weeks. We desperately needed to get paint on the walls and had no clue where to start in terms of colors. We were referred to Staged4more and Cindy and Yi Hsuen came to the rescue. They evaluated our space, talked to the team, and provided a fabulous color palette that fit gave us the foundation we needed to create a vibrant, energized office environment. “