Posted on 23 December 2013
Everyone needs a little colour in their life - or at least, that's what they say. Of course, there is plenty of evidence to back up what they say (whoever they may be). It is especially useful in the office where there are so many competing personalities that must be balanced (and, presumably some work to be done). In any case, colour is one of the least expensive ways to create an inviting space, and offices are no exception.
There is a thin line between fantastic colour and just too much of it. It is devilishly difficult to operate when a colour (or a rainbow of them) is attacking your senses. But, if you want just a splash of colour in your office, why not consider one of these ideas?
Artwork and Photographs - Okay, we know this is fairly standard in plenty of offices. But, too many corporate oriented pieces are either oversized canvases with splotches of blue, or tired images of flowers and fruits. Look for colour themes, especially monochromatic ones and choose pictures that are actually inspiring (and happen to feature your colour choices). Carefully considered artwork does not even need to be that colourful if you add a punchy frame to it; get enough frames and suddenly you have colour.
New (or Reupholstered Chairs) - In an otherwise clean white office, a few deep red chairs will undoubtedly stand out. Or, consider varying shades of blue and green, so it looks like a sea of employees. And remember, furniture does not need to be a solid colour. If it freaks you out a bit at home, it should probably do the same at work. Look for stripes or other patterns that don't bother the eyes, and still allow the colours to come through beautifully. (This is especially useful in your reception area, where your clients see what kind of company you genuinely are.)
Curtains - Very few traditional offices make use of actual curtains. It's all blinds, blinds, blinds (or, you're lucky to have a window at all). Consider adding some curtains (on top of those blinds, of course) when you want an easy (and relatively inexpensive) splash of colour. One of the biggest benefits of using curtains for colour is that you can change the mood as often as you want to change your curtains. And, as a bonus, these window treatments are likely to add a cosy, family feeling to your office.
Create a Feature Wall - Floor to ceiling purple can be a little harsh when it's painted on all four walls. Create a feature wall with colour to avoid that overwhelming feeling that comes from using your company colours. While you can certainly paint it, remember that it's a feature wall and put some thought into it. Add light and texture wherever you can to make it more appealing. Patterns also work well to draw attention to feature walls.
Don't Forget the Ceiling - Sure, you're likely to have those awful ceiling boards that come standard in most office buildings, but perhaps you can dress them up with some fabric (for a tent feel) or colour. And, if you do have a solid ceiling that you can paint, why not get an artist in to create a beautiful blue sky (or hey, a starry, starry night)? Remember that colour on top can create the sensation of a smaller space, so it does work better in larger areas.
Shed Some Light - Colour and light go hand in hand. You can enhance available colours with some creative lighting solutions. Bring in a lighting designer to work with your space (and possibly make some additional colour suggestions). Alternatively, use light fixtures to bring some additional colour in, like bright yellow shades, or rosy pink gels over your recessed lighting. Fortunately, bringing in extra light (and varying the tones) tends to have a positive impact on productivity.
Create a Space for Kids - Bright, solid primary colours tend to say children and, therefore, fun times. Now, you may not want to encourage your employees to behave this way (or to bring their kids to work), but you can always create a big kids corner. Think red metal tables with solid blue chairs sitting in a splash pool of multi-coloured balls, or a giant easel with primary coloured paints available for distressing. Not only will this bring colour into your office, it will also add a bit of whimsy, and a place for your staff to unwind (if they must).
New Carpeting - You may love the clean lines of a sterile white office, but too much white may stifle the moods of your employees. A terrific compromise is to rethink your flooring. Dark deep coloured carpeting looks incredible with solid white walls. And, bright colours on the floor tend to make a space feel more open and light. Carpeting is also a fantastic way to retain the warmth of any room (and is certainly easier on the maintenance team than hardwood floors). Just installing new carpets could entirely change your office.
New Life for Old Cabinets - Filing cabinets, bookshelves, and over desk cupboards may be necessary, but they don't have to be boring. Create welcoming colour schemes by painting all your office storage a new colour. Depending on the state, age and material of your storage furniture, you may need to bring in a professional, purchase new pieces, or just tackle a few of them. But, as long as it's cleverly done, it may be all the colour your office needs.
Add Some Greenery - Plants are a subtle reminder that there is a world outside. More importantly, they're great for the air quality in your office. But bring in a lot of plants and suddenly you've got colour. However, you've got to think out of the box when you add plants to your office. It can't just be a tiny thing on the edge of everyone's desk. Think about feature walls, or a row of lemon trees leading to the boardroom. Bigger is better when it comes to plants - just don't forget to get someone to tend to them.
You May Enter - Not all offices have doors. Sometimes they are all glass and space. But, painting whatever doors are available can make a powerful statement. And you can always play with colour if you have a lot of doors in your workspace, such as painting each blue door progressively deeper until you reach the back of the building. Or, alternate red doors with blue ones if those are your company colours, or different colours on each side of the door. It will make a statement, so be careful which colours you choose.
Accents Only - If you happen to work in one of those glass and space offices, you can always jazz it up with splashes of colour throughout the room. Consider investing in solid green computer covers or stationary so that the colour just pops everywhere you look. Whatever colour you choose, make sure you let your employees in on the secret, otherwise you'll a rainbow of colours appearing before you can control it.
Dress Code - Okay, if you honestly can't afford any of these options, you can always try enforcing a dress code at work. It could be Monday blues, or... No, that's a joke. It probably wouldn't work. But it is worth a shot if you want to have a little fun in the office (which presumably you do if Google's happy employees are anything to go by).