Kirsty McLuckie: Colour your working mood in a home office

For a large proportion of employees, working from home has become the norm, and whether it is full-time or just a hybrid part of the week, the trend looks set to continue.

Picture: aurielaki / Shutterstock

At the beginning of the first lockdown there was an air of unseemly haste about setting up home working stations.

Reports of employees having to plug in computers at the kitchen table or attend Zoom meetings wedged between an exercise bike and a drum kit in the spare bedroom abounded – but if we are to continue, it is time to get organised.

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Sales of desks, office chairs and filing cabinets have boomed, and there is whole area of interior design emerging to deal with the backdrop for online communications.

But success might not just be about having the right equipment.

The colour of your work space can apparently have a huge impact on your productivity, mood, and mindset throughout the workday.

Colour psychology is a long-studied discipline – Carl Jung was an enthusiastic proponent – which examines the relationship between our behaviour and the hues that surround us. And, of course, it is already exploited extensively in advertising and branding.

Colours have been shown to change our behaviour subconsciously, even reducing crime in some cases.

So what colour should we paint our work spaces for maximum efficiency?

Blue is recommended for productivity and focus.

The colour has also been found to be mentally stimulating, and a University of Texas study found that blue-green rooms work best.

The combination of calming and stimulating that blue hues give makes it the perfect colour for a home-working environment if you are in a high-pressure career.

However, if you need to tap into creativity, then you should add yellow, which is said to offer many benefits, including stimulating creativity and boosting our mood.

Yellow is best used to accessorise, rather than a main colour, however.

Bright hues are thought to be overstimulating and red is definitely one to stay away from. While it denotes power, it’s also said to inspire feelings of frustration and anger and has been linked to increasing heart rates and stress. Facing that day after day would not be good for your long-term health.

If wealth and success is the target – and when isn’t it? – then gold and silver are recommended, as they are said to remind you of past successes and inspire ambition.

It certainly appears to have worked for a certain Mr Donald J Trump. His floor-to-ceiling bling in Trump Tower led him to The White House, where perhaps the Oval Office colours – cream walls and a red carpet – put paid to a second term.

If your home office needs a refresh, the advice then is to move away from the magnolia. A good combo would be teal or turquoise walls, curtains in sunshine or butter yellow, and a display of either your Olympic medals or Brownie/Scouts badges – depending on your level of achievement – as a glistening and glorious finishing touch.

With the all the added boosts, you should surely be signing off your week’s work by Wednesday morning at the very latest.

- Kirsty McLuckie is Property Editor at The Scotsman