Home offices

The worst home office paint colors – the shades that make you less productive

The colors you’re surrounded by while working from home can impact your work – are you accidentally sabotaging yourself?

Home office paint colors
(Image credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock)

As so many of us are working from home this year, we’ve had to carve out new mini office in our personal spaces.

Whether you’ve got a full blown home office, or are perched at the kitchen table, the colors around you can benefit or detract from your work. Home office paint colors are key to creativity, productivity and overall wellbeing.

Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, Lee Chambers, breaks down which home office paint colors to avoid, and which we should be introducing – something to add to your list of home office ideas

For more color advice and to learn all about how color theory works, our definitive guide on the color wheel is really useful.

1. Neutral

Photography/Manolo Yllera

(Image credit: Future)

With over 50% of people working from home in neutral shades of white, beige and gray you might expect this to have a positive impact on your work. 

However, Lee notes that, ‘a University of Texas study concluded that offices without a splash of color, especially those in neutral white, grey and beige tended to induce some sad and depressive feelings, especially for females.’

2. Yellow

Home office paint colors yellow

(Image credit: Followtheflow/Shutterstock)

The bright and cheerful shades in the yellow spectrum are seen in plenty of kitchens and living rooms – popular places to sit when working from home. 

‘Yellow backgrounds increase information retention, which is helpful for highlighting key learnings and important information,’ says Lee. 

‘If you have a creative job, yellow is definitely a solid choice, but be mindful of the overuse of yellow as a background and as a space, as it does induce eye fatigue.’

3. Blue

Home office paint colors blule

Photography/Sarah Hogan

(Image credit: Future)

Blue is the world’s most popular ‘favorite color’ so many of us may have painted our walls in a blue tone, but is it a good choice for a home office paint color? 

‘Blue is known as the official color of productivity. It promotes calm concentration and emotional balance that helps to keep you in a state of flow,’ says Lee. 

‘However, too much blue can leave you a little too relaxed and blunt your innovative streak, so consider adding some warm colour accents.’

4. Orange

Home office paint colors orange

Photography/Michael Sinclair

(Image credit: Future)

A perhaps surprising 17% of people work in a room painted in orange. Lee notes that for men, especially this can be an issue. 

‘The color orange is especially detrimental to men when it comes to boosting productivity. However, if you opt for a peachier shade, that can be perceived as happy and welcoming.’

5. Red

Home office in dining area painted deep reddish brown

Photography/Matthew Williams

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

The color of passion and energy, red can be a dramatic shade in any room, but is it right for a working from home space?

‘Red is a powerful, vibrant color, and is very situational in its use for productivity gains,’ advises Lee. ‘Studies have found the emotive and passionate fire of red raises blood flow and heart rate. This is great for physical tasks, like a little natural energy bar.’

However, you should be wary before going all in with red tones. ‘For a home office, red can very easily become overstimulating, causing us to lose focus and concentration, and gradually feel volatile, increasing the potential for mistakes or conflict.’

Instead of opting for a bright, bold shade, choose a more muted one, such as this beautiful Deep Reddish Brown by Farrow & Ball.

Thea Babington-Stitt
Content Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is a Content Editor at Future. She has been an interiors journalist for nearly 10 years and has held positions at LivingEtc, Country Homes & Interiors and Homes & Gardens. Currently, she is writing for Ideal Home and Style At Home's websites and magazines.