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Psychology of colour & productivity: Commercial office paint colour ideas

Brendan Childs |   November 11, 2020 at 8:00 AM

Psychology of colour: Interior paint ideas to boost productivity in your commercial building

Choosing interior paint colours can have a significant impact on the satisfaction of your tenants. The colours you choose for your project impact people’s productivity, creativity, concentration and energy levels. That’s why considering colour psychology is not just a matter of wellbeing, but also makes good business sense. 

Tenants and businesses vary greatly from one commercial building to the next though, so before we dive into the psychology to help you gather commercial office paint colour ideas, there are two questions you should ask yourself.


Who is using the building?

Are your tenants designers or accountants? Because the atmosphere you want to create with your colour choice will vary for each one. Where the designers may want a vibrant environment that inspires creativity, the accountants may favour colours that enable deep concentration or evoke feelings of trust in their clients.

Identifying who is using the building and the tone they want to set for their employees and customers is an important first step when choosing between interior paint colour ideas.


How are they using the building?

Workplace design is increasingly flexible as employers understand that people need different environments for different types of work. This creates an opportunity to use colour psychology to optimise different areas. Whether it’s client meeting rooms, team collaboration zones, soundproofed phone booths or quiet areas for intensive work, you can use colour to create environments that are tailored to different needs.

With these two questions in mind, let’s now dive into the psychology of colour to understand what commercial office paint colour ideas you can implement in your building.


Interior colours for your commercial building

As a general rule, cool colours create a calm atmosphere, while warm colours are considered more welcoming. However, specific colours have other mental and physical effects, or associations that people attach to them.


Blue is widely considered to be the most popular colour in the world. It improves productivity and concentration, creating a calming atmosphere where workers can perform focused or repetitive tasks. Blue is also associated with trustworthiness, dependability and security, making it particularly suited for businesses who want to project safety and reliability to their customers.

Its worldwide popularity combined with its psychological benefits makes it the safest choice for your interior walls. That said, make sure to balance it with other colours as an overwhelming amount of blue can be depressing.


Green also improves productivity and efficiency, while decreasing fatigue by being gentle on the eyes. It is strongly associated with wellbeing, balance, restfulness and growth. It’s a good pick for workplaces where employees work long hours, or in rooms where you want to create a relaxing but alert atmosphere for your customers, such as waiting or meeting rooms.

As businesses have incorporated more colour into their workplaces in recent years, green has surged in popularity, injecting a sense of modern vitality, well-being and eco-friendliness that is more inviting than the traditionally neutral interiors of commercial buildings.


Red provides an energy boost, increasing the heart rate and blood flow, making it a great choice for areas where workers are performing physical tasks or need a high level of mental alertness. It also grabs the eye, so if there’s something you want to draw attention to in your building, then red is the obvious choice. However, be careful to use it sparingly as too much red causes high emotions and energy levels, which may hinder productivity in the long-term and be overwhelming.


Yellow is strongly associated with sunshine, happiness, warmth and optimism. It can boost innovation, creativity and energy, while also injecting an element of positivity and fun into your commercial space. Like red, it should be used sparingly and strategically. Areas used for teamwork, creative collaboration and socialising could all benefit from a yellow feature wall or highlights to create an optimistic, open or playful environment.


White creates a sense of space and is perfect for small areas which would otherwise feel cramped. It is also ideal for balancing brighter colours, or creating a modern and sleek space. However, too much white can be boring or clinical, so ensure that you don’t go overboard. And look for whites that are not too cool and not too warm, but somewhere in the middle.

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Higgins Coatings is Australia's premier commercial painting contractor with over 70 years of experience in providing cost-effective painting and tailored maintenance solutions to a broad range of industries including hospitals, aged care, schools, and strata. If you need quality painting services delivered on time and within budget, contact us today for a consultation.