Between 1970 and 1973, in Munich, Germany, IQ tests were administered in different room colors: When students tested in colorless rooms—white, gray, brown and beige, the scores were up to 12 points below the average. When they tested in green, blue or coral rooms, their scores were up to 12 points above average. That is a 24-point spread based on room color alone; I’ve always wondered what the other variables may be.
The bottom line is this: color affects heart rate, brain wave activity, memory retention and recall, thinking style, comfort and behavior. The key to color selection is, rather than choose the color just because you like it, to consider the person and the primary tasks required by the work. Once you decide on the color family, then consider aesthetics—the tonal quality, saturation, and how to make it work with the rest of your decorating plan.
The best office color for a writer won’t be the same for a salesperson. A graphic designer and a bookkeeper use different parts of the brain. A purchasing agent and a life coach will have different needs, too.
Some people will perform better in an orange office (pumpkin or peach); others in blue (slate or Caribbean), while someone else may need purple (grape or lavender) or yellow (butter or maize). Almost no one does best work in white, beige or gray.