Close Give Feedback
Resene Paints - home page
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube

Colour psychology for your home office – paint yourself productive

From the Resene decorating blog

If your office space needs a makeover or you are creating one from scratch, don’t underestimate the impact of the right wall colour.

A colourful Art Deco inspired home office

In this art deco inspired-room a combination of mid-tone complementary colours create a space that is somehow energising and restful at once.

The blue is Resene Streetwise, with the orange of Resene Sebedee in the mural arch and line popping out nicely against the neutral wall in Resene Soothe. Mural circle painted in Resene Merlot and mural stripe (at far right) in Resene Coral Tree. Floor painted in Resene Sea Fog, plant pot (with snake plant) and tall rounded vase in Resene Soothe, tall angular vase in Resene Streetwise, plant stand in Resene Alabaster, terracotta plant pot in Resene Merlot, vase in Resene Jaguar, desk in Resene Kilimanjaro and chair in Resene Yuma. Clock from Shut the Front Door, lamp from The Warehouse, scarf from Bird and Knoll, shoes from Adidas, mug from Flo and Frankie, plants from Give Plants. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

Just as wearing a colourful outfit can boost your mood, the Resene colour you choose for your workplace can have a similarly uplifting effect. As more and more businesses use colour in the office to influence behaviour and instil certain values, those working at home can apply the same principles to increase productivity and create the right atmosphere for their chosen career.

For a neutral backdrop think of a soft, non-glary white like Resene Rice Cake or Resene Pearl Lusta but there’s a world of other wall colours to try and not just for cosmetic reasons. Certain colours have been shown to have a positive effect leading to improved mood, productivity and even physical wellbeing. Some shades stimulate the brain and boost concentration, while others are calming – such as Resene Neutral Green – and can lower stress.

When it comes to painting an office space there are four colours thought to increase productivity – red, blue, yellow and green. Greens and blues are office design favourites as these soothing shades lend a sense of wellbeing – ranging from lowered blood pressure and heart rate to improved efficiency and concentration. Offices can be stressful places and greens and blues help to counteract that. Reds and yellows on the other hand are shown to be stimulating.

If you want to tap into this colour psychology, the colour you choose and what saturation you go for will depend on your personality, your workload and even the type of work you do as much as the office space itself, be it a nook within a larger room, a room of its own or a business space for multiple people.

Tonal variations in the intensity of a shade can also have a bearing on impact. Remember that high intensity shades will stimulate while low intensity will soothe. Pure hues that aren’t mixed with another colour are bright and cheerful but these can be too vibrant for the workplace.

All in blue

Blue is considered an intellectual colour and represents trust, logic, communication and efficiency. Great if you’re completing administrative tasks and projects that require maximum focus. An accountant will suit this colour but it’s also good for more creative roles like a social media executive or writer. Add a splash of orange like Resene West Side if you need extra inspiration. Using blue as a primary office colour is ideal in spaces that require concentration and mental effort. Darker blues like Resene Into The Blue are good for creating an intimate effect but be aware that a dark blue can make the space feel smaller compared with lighter shades like Resene Awash.

While blue is known as a calming colour, it is also mentally stimulating. This combination makes blue walls an ideal choice for boosting productivity and getting the tasks at hand done. Blue is also known for imparting feelings of dependability and trustworthiness.

Restful green

As the most abundant colour in nature, green is inherently calming and reassuring in our increasingly chaotic world. But certain shades like Resene Trendy Green can also be energising – useful when a deadline looms. Green is the easiest colour on the eyes and perfect for those working long hours. Green walls can also be a restful landing place for eyes that spend too long looking at a computer screen. To maximise the calming effect of green, put lots of green plants in your workspace and use a soothing green for your walls like Resene Secrets or Resene Spanish Green.

If you can’t decide between blue and green walls, consider a blue-green hybrid like Resene Unwind.

A sophisticated Japanese inspired home office

Varying tones of green – including a panelled wall in Resene Quarter Karaka – create a restful and sophisticated home office with a Japanese Zen feel.

Back wall painted in Resene Triple Merino, timber wall (left) stained in Resene Colorwood Pickled Bean, tongue-and-groove wall (right) in Resene Quarter Karaka, batten shelf in Resene Settlement, plywood floor stained in Resene Colorwood Uluru, desk in Resene Enamacryl gloss tinted to Resene All Black, chair in Resene Anglaise, tissue box stained in Resene Colorwood Pickled Bean, large jug vase in Resene Nero, vase painted Resene Karaka, small jug vase (top left shelf) in Resene Half Blanc and tray table in Resene Teak. Artwork by Home Time from endemic world, chair from Urban Sales, glass from Flo and Frankie, tissue box from Citta, plate from Freedom. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Energising red

Red is powerfully energising and is said to excite the brain – a good choice if you need to motivate yourself or pay attention to details. Hot reds like Resene Guardsman Red are often used in commercial environments where a lot of physical activity is needed. In a home environment, all that stimulation can be overwhelming and an over-abundance of red can make it difficult to concentrate and even lead to aggressive feelings. However, as an accent colour in your home office, you can still derive energy and motivation. Another option is to go for more soothing shades of red against white or to choose calming tones of pink, peach or coral. For those wanting a more sophisticated and serious ambience, darker reds like Resene Red Red Red or Resene Mexican Red will do the job.

The happiness factor of yellow

Yellow is energising and represents creativity, optimism and confidence. It will certainly infuse happy, positive energy into the space and is especially useful to help innovators and entrepreneurs get the creative juices flowing. Even a touch of yellow can lift the feel of the office and create a positive impression. The downside of too much yellow is that it can overstimulate the eyes, leading to eye-strain. It can also be a little too revving and even cause anxiety in some. It’s best to use it in places in a study where the eye doesn’t rest so you can recharge with yellow when you need to. Try bright yellows such as Resene Bright Spark and Resene Energy Yellow in small doses, or pair wooden finishes with brown infused yellows such as Resene Hot Toddy and Resene Tulip Tree.

An industrial chic style home office

With the classic pairing of black and green but in bold hardworking hues and hints of brown and yellow, this office has a trendy, industrial chic vibe.

Upper wall painted in Resene Quarter Ash with lower shelf wall in Resene Cinder, timber floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, locker in Resene Half Forest Green, desk legs and pendant lamp in Resene Mocha, desk lamp in Resene Fuel Yellow, chair in Resene Half Forest Green, timber shelf stained in Resene Colorwood Natural with metal pipe supports in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, bins on upper shelf in Resene Half Forest Green, painted books in Resene Mocha, Resene Fuel Yellow and Resene Half Forest Green, plant pots in Resene Mocha (raised) and Resene Nero (with ivy), desk organiser in Resene Mocha, magazine holders in Resene Mocha, perforated bin in Resene Fuel Yellow, chalkboard in Resene Cinder, ribbed jar in Resene Fuel Yellow, and jar with paintbrushes in Resene Cinder. Stool and clock from Nood, rug from Citta, desk from Mocka, locker from IKEA. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A happy and creative home office

This is an office for a happy, creative soul.

Use Resene FX Write-on Wall Paint to turn your Resene painted wall into a coloured writable surface, such as this yellow wall and script painted in Resene Wild Thing and Resene White. Noticeboard in Resene Bright Spark, floor in Resene Alabaster, wall grid, filing cabinet, pot and folders in Resene FX Blackboard Paint. Project by Amber Armitage, image by Melanie Jenkins.

Top tips

Use colour psychology as a base but don’t be afraid to make your office fun and interesting with a mix of colours to provide a balance between calm and stimulation.

October 07, 2021

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for expert advice and all the products and accessories you need to make the most of your home.

Book a colour consult | Ask a Colour Expert | Ask a Paint Expert

Resene's decorating blog

Paint your home beautiful! Discover the latest decorating trends, tips and colour news.

Previous article
Previous «
Warm minimalism – how to use paint to create a Japandi style interior

Return to the blog home page
Blog home

View the latest trends, tips and news

Next article
» Next

Preparing your home for sale


Order online now:
Testpots | Paints | Primers and Sealers | Stains | Clears | Accessories

Get inspired Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube
Videos on how to paint and stain your house

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

What's new | Specifiers | Painters | DIYers | Artists | Kids | Sitemap | Home | TOP ⇧