Psychologist reveals the BEST colors to paint your WFH office

Which wall colors will give your workday productivity a boost?

Businesswoman in home office working at her laptop
(Image credit: Getty)

For the millions who have been forced to work from home over the last year, the experience has been different, to say the least. Having to deal with makeshift office set-ups and not-so-comfortable seats—seriously, we never realized how vital it is to choose the best desk chairs—has made many of us wish we were back in the office. 

But the physical impact is not the only consequence of lockdown life, and many people are also struggling with mental health issues, juggling a work-life balance and figuring out how to relax during this relentlessly stressful era. Spending so much time at home does have some pros, but the cons are pretty serious: social isolation is causing more people than ever to feel down and unmotivated, so we need to start looking at ways to lift our mood as lockdown restrictions continue. 

One way to do that? Paint! In a study by heating company Stelrad, wellbeing consultant and psychologist Lee Chambers has analyzed the importance of paint colors and how different tones or hues can influence us. Since most of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future, a fresh coat of paint is a surprising, simple solution for boosting moods and increasing productivity. 

Laptop with diaries and decorations on desk against blue wall in home office

(Image credit: Getty)

Picking the right color for your workspace is a great way to boost your energy and happiness levels, says Chambers: “We should not only consider colors in our eye line but what others will see in our background when video calling.”

The study conducted by the heating manufacturer found that neutral colors such as whites, greys and creams are go-to wall colors, particularly for home offices, as they are easier to coordinate with furniture. 

Chambers studied 4,325 people to discover what their wall colors had to say about their mental wellbeing. An overwhelming 31-percent of those surveyed had white walls, and 23-percent had grey walls. The findings unveiled that white, grey and beige “tended to induce some sad and depressive feelings, especially for those identifying as female.” 

Laptop and yellow coffee mug on office desk against yellow background

(Image credit: Getty/Constantine Johnny)

Yellow was the next most popular hue, which Chambers recognized as the perfect home office wall color, but only for those with creative jobs, adding, “Yellow is seen as the color of creativity and is often used in innovation labs and creative spaces.” 

But that's not a sign that we should all start painting our walls a louder color, as Chambers points out: “Those that identified as male struggled for productivity in orange and purple spaces as they lowered the mood.”

Red tones are pretty hard to maintain and match with furniture, according to Chambers: “Red naturally draws the eye and is often the color of emergency objects for a reason. For a home office, then, red can very easily become overstimulating, causing us to lose focus and concentration, and gradually feel volatile, increasing the potential for mistakes or conflict.”

Office desk and red wall in the background

(Image credit: Getty)

If you're still wondering which color will help make your workday a little easier, well, that’s blue. Chambers says: “Blues are renowned as the color of productivity, they promote calm, boost concentration and help with emotional balance to keep you in a state of flow.” Excuse us while we go stock up on blue paint!

Kudzai Chibaduki

Since December 2020, Kudzai has worked as a trainee journalist at FUTURE, writing about fashion, entertainment and beauty content for My Imperfect Life.

Kudzai previously worked as a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist, directing magazine photoshoots and coordinating the fashion direction of recording artists. A fully qualified Journalism and Media graduate from De Mont Fort University, Kudzai graduated in the summer of 2020.