The Use of Color in Building Design

In September, we explored color trends and  their influence in the workplace. With 2018 in full swing, we wanted to dive deeper into color and how it impacts the spaces we design and occupy. And what that can mean for you.

Color of the Year

Every year PANTONE® declares a “color of the year.” For 2018, they have declared Ultra Violet to be that color. The PANTONE team notes that “The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world.”

That got us thinking. How does color impact building design? We often think of the exterior as setting the stage for what’s to come on the inside.  It’s the public’s preview of what they can anticipate when they walk through the front doors, but does color really matter in when you’re designing a building?

The Potential Impact of Color on Mood

According to Kaplan Early Learning Company, color can enhance learning and influence the mood of people. They cite Pam Schiller, PhD and note the potential impacts of color on people: red can encourage creativity; yellow creates a positive feeling; and orange increases alertness.

Additionally, both green & purple are thought to create a sense of calm, while brown helps promote feelings of security and relaxation. And those “boring” off-white walls? They help maintain attention and can also lead to positive feelings.

The overall consensus is that color within a building absolutely has an impact on employees and others who utilize those spaces. And on all of us in our home and work environments.

Striking the Right Balance with the Right Colors

Our interior designers approach color with purpose, and care how it impacts those who will use the spaces we design. Color is an easy way to accent a space. You can draw attention to what is important, help people navigate and find their way, and even evoke emotion or set a mood.

Everyone has opinions or preferences on color. Color, after all, is about perception. And perception requires human interpretation. In the design of interior spaces, color is a complex interaction of light, space, and materiality.

Now add in differences in vision and things can really get complicated.  For example, did you know corneas yellow as we age? Our designers have to navigate all of these variables.

Be Purposeful About the Use of Color

Yes, color is powerful.  It can be an inexpensive way to interject energy and interest into a project.  It requires skill and thoughtfulness to do it right. Strong color can be overwhelming if it’s not applied in the proper proportions.

Thought has to be given to the way light reflects off of a strong color onto adjacent surfaces. For example, certain colors can shift to undesirable hues at different times of the day based on the amount of daylight in the space.

It’s important to work with a design team that understands who will be using your space—whether it’s an office suite, conference room, medical center, common area, or cafeteria. They’ll help select the right color palette to set the tone of your space. And help make color a useful tool throughout your facility.