Wall Colors for Productivity

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    University of British Columbia

    • Six hundred participants took part in a study at the University of British Columbia - Sauder School of Business, designed to learn which colors most inspire productivity. As part of the study, participants were asked to complete particular tasks on the computer. The computer screen on which they worked was blue or red. The study showed that when participants were asked to perform tasks requiring attention to detail, a background screen color of red boosted their performance by 31 percent. When participants were asked to complete tasks requiring creativity, a blue background screen produced better results.


    • AllBusiness.com, a resource for small businesses, suggests covering large wall surfaces with pastel shades and accenting the room with darker, richer colors that introduce excitement into the room. The accents don't necessarily need to be found in accessories. For example, safety warnings, exit signs and trim colors can provide vibrancy. The theory is that walls covered with intense primary colors can lead to a loss in visual acuity or visual clarity.

    University of Texas at Austin

    • As director of the interior design program at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Nancy Kwalleck studies the psychological effects of color. Most notably, she has examined which colors, if any, are most conducive to productivity. What Kwalleck has discovered is that people are more productive when surrounded by particular colors. The problem is that the color that stimulates a person is highly personal, and there is no one-color-fits-all palette.

    The "Hawthorne Effect"

    • A 1920s study led by Harvard Business School professor Elton Mayo showed that employees respond to any change in their environment, as long as they feel they have a part in deciding it. Employees responded less to actual environmental changes than to the belief that their preferences were being recognized. If you're painting a private space, only you can determine which color best inspires productivity. If you're hoping to increase productivity in a shared space, consider using a neutral color on the walls and allowing individuals to add color to their own areas.

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