The Design Guide for Painting Your Office

The shade of paint you choose can make or break a space. The all-around wrong color, clashing accents, mismatched lighting, and myriad reasons can create a disaster that's all-surrounding during the workday. As you choose your color palette for your home office or corporate workspace, consider the factors that go into a great color scheme that becomes the foundation for a great workspace.

Corporate Offices

It doesn't matter if you're a small business or a corporate giant—designing a professional office space is less about one's personal taste and more about what's best for everybody. Sure, this sounds like it might be a bit restrictive, but that doesn't make any of your choices any less meaningful.

Consult a Professional 

An educated and experienced interior designer will have a wealth of knowledge and recommendations for your space. There's no harm in reaching out to a person who's used to finding the right fit; in the long run, it's worth it. Especially if you're painting multiple rooms, a designer or planner will know how to tell a visual story that compliments your entire office.

Try Before You Buy

No matter who is calling the shots, paint samples are vital to better understand your choices. While conventional paint chips might help, if larger swatches are available, take advantage of them.

No-Brainer Neutrals 

Your primary color will probably be a variation of off-white, light gray, or a faint taupe, and that's not just OK—it's advisable. These no-nonsense colors are tried and true, though they're not as harsh as a bright white.

Agreeable and Accessible 

Be mindful of different employees' needs that may be applicable now or possibly down the road. For instance, colorblindness can affect the way a person perceives bolder accents. People with visual impairments may need an emphasis on bright spaces and proper lighting. Even if this doesn't apply to your current staff, looking toward the future is never ill-advised.

Different Space, Different Mood 

The open office isn't the only space worthy of consideration. Think about how your paint choices tell a story throughout the office, and aim for a cohesive experience that won't distract employees or guests. Be particularly mindful of your reception area. For workers, it's symbolic of the start of the business day, but for guests, it's necessary to make a great first impression with tasteful design.

Acceptable Accents

If you have a big room, it's a given that you have big walls. If you're trying to add an accent wall, avoid doing so on any wall close to employee desking. Entryways, nooks, or infrequently used spaces can benefit from an accent that doesn't overwhelm you. Especially in a main space, consider using your company's colors to offset the ubiquitous neutrals.

Consider Your Upholstery

Are you designing your color palette around your furniture, or are you designing your furniture around your palette? Make sure all choices are well-coordinated, and you're not pairing cool and warm tones that will clash and distract. Be mindful of upholstery on seating or even on cubicle panels.

Creative Conference Rooms

Especially if your business has a plethora of conference rooms, this is a great opportunity to get creative with your color schemes and furniture choices. While you'll certainly want to reserve one as a highly professional space, use smaller collaboration areas to choose interesting colors or out-of-the-box furniture without committing to a large space.

The VIP Treatment

Allow incoming leaders to personalize their private office. Use a wall that isn't completely occupied by large furniture as an accent wall. When one person leaves and another person moves in, ask them what color they'd like it painted. It's a personal touch that won't break the bank or take up too much time.

Home Offices

There's a big difference between an office designed by you, for you and a multiperson office that needs to appeal to all. While you have a lot less space but a lot more flexibility, several considerations can still improve productivity, increase energy, and promote workday wellness.

Push the Boundaries of Neutral

Eggshell, ivory, and alabaster are played out shades of off-white that can stay in the past. In the home and the home office, neutral color palettes can play with different shades of gray and taupe. More daringly, a pastel palette can create a peaceful atmosphere in your workspace that's far from drab.

Invigorate With Paint

If you're trying to create a high-energy space, ditch the neutrals and pastels and embrace bolder, more stimulating colors. If your space allows, use a combination of palatable neutrals and exciting hues for accent walls or details.

Dark Colors Aren’t Dull

For some, dark paint colors can make a room feel serious or studious, which may be what you're going for. If this fits your personality, don't shy away from working with deeper tones to get the right look. If you're working within a small space, try to mix dark and light colors on different walls to keep the space from feeling too cramped.

Avoid Antagonistic Colors 

As you work your way through the rainbow, there are a few less-advisable colors to avoid. For instance, reds are known to inspire anger and intensity. 

Add Accents

Accent colors aren't just reserved for accent walls. Baseboards, molding, fixtures, and other odds and ends are often painted. If you're going to deviate from your wall colors, make sure that you pay attention to these bonus colors so that they don't stand out negatively.

Let There Be Light

If you're lucky, your at-home workspace will benefit from natural light. Even when the sun goes down, there are still major considerations with what lighting you use. Whether overhead lighting or dedicated task lighting, choose light bulbs that fuel your mood. Some people enjoy brighter blue-toned bulbs while others benefit from softer, more docile tones. Not sure? Your smartphone can control many digital light bulbs to find the perfect balance.

Think Long-Term 

We perceive color differently as we age. If you're designing for the long haul, go with a color and design scheme that will be pleasing as you advance. This is particularly true if you're putting together an office for an elderly person. If you've got multiple occupants, collaborate on your palette to ensure it's pleasant for everyone.



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