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What color's in YOUR office?

Response to color is both emotional and behavioral. The right one for you can make you more efficient and effective, and make work easier.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Geri Taran June 28, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I never really thought about the colors in my office. When I bought my home the room I selected for my office had been painted a light green and the sponge method was used, leaving the walls to resemble water, which is perfect for me, a Cancer native. On the wall above the second desk I added a large painting of three pink & white lilies with a darker pink background and soft blue-green leaves. Then, on another wall I hung gorgeous fish sculptures purchased years ago in an unusual gift shop/art store when I was on St. Simon's Island. All of this seems to work well for me because I'm almost always happy in this room (depending, of course...). GT
Rebecca Ewing June 29, 2012 at 09:41 PM
It sounds like your office is luscious, Geri: beachy, watery, and perfect for you. A decorating theme like this can give a momentary mental vacation, when you look up and focus on the fish or the water or lilies . . . then easily back to the task at hand. Being happy in the room is key doing good work.
Péralte Paul July 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I'm partial to Cobalt blue, but I'm not sure that get me more productive. It would make me think about sailing. . .
Rebecca Ewing July 02, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I had a colleague who painted every room in her house cobalt--the color of the Phillips Milk of Magnesia bottle. It was gorgeous, but only because of halogen light; without the light it was like a cave. For *normal* folks, I'd recommend using a lighter blue with cobalt (and other) accents. LOL And provide your own discipline. Brief escapes to thoughts of sailing can provide motivation and a necessary break. Too many escapes and breaks and, well . . .

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