True Colours: Choosing the Right Colour for Your Office

If we know anything, it’s about offices! We think if you’re going to spend nearly third of your life in the workplace, you may as well make it as attractive and welcoming an environment as possible.

Firstly, you’ll need a friendly, flexible serviced office space that allows a little customisation (that’s where our Wokingham offices come in…..). 

One way to make big changes without taking out a small business loan is with a simple coat of paint. Getting clever with colour is surely the best way to completely transform and update the look of your office, as well as impressing any visiting clients. 

But before you do those overalls, brandishing a large paintbrush in one hand and some masking tape in the other, remember that a sensible starting point is to choose a colour palette suited to your specific business. For example, more conservative shades work best for finance or insurance, so consider sober blues and greys. If you work in a creative field, vibrant colours like purples and lime greens might inspire you. And any company trading on its environmental credentials can reinforce their image with earthy greens and browns. Here is our guide to selecting the right shade for your office: 

Mantle’s Quick Guide to Colour



 Black is a very imposing choice. It’s classic but too stark to be really conservative. Carries strong connotations of sophistication, drama and power. Can look classy paired with other neutrals. Avoid contrasts with pink, or swirling metallics unless you are a showroom for boudoir hotel rooms or racy products.


 Blue is often named as a favourite colour, possibly because it covers such a diverse range of shades from duck egg to navy. It lends gravitas and dependability, as well as promoting feelings of serenity and calm, so can be a steadying influence on the workforce. Highly recommended for any business that trades on being responsible and reliable. 


 A popular and continuing trend in interior design in recent years, modern grey will stay the distance as a cool neutral colour that combines well with many other colours. Nobody is unlikely to object to it and it combines very well with white for a subtle look if you are only painting one accent wall. 


 A calming yet fresh shade that takes us back to nature- particularly useful for windowless offices. Lighter tones can be bright, breezy and bring to mind good health and energy. Darker tones can lend your office prestige. Using any green sends a very positive environmental message. Olive shares a lot of the earthy positives of brown and is an often overlooked semi-neutral that works well in offices. 


 Optimistic and bright, sunny yellow can be a powerful motivator. It’s a warm colour but not always easy to live with as it’s the first colour the human eye is drawn to. We’d consider mustards or lemon yellows rather than too electric a primary colour. There’s nothing half-hearted about yellow, so take care it doesn’t clash with your company logo or branding.  


 The colour of anger, blood and danger, red is always attention-grabbing. We’ve put red put to great, dynamic use in our meeting rooms where it stimulates debate and brainstorming sessions. It could be a difficult colour for a permanent office where a small team works 9 to 5 in close confines, as red tends to heighten aggression. Perhaps not so suitable for a dependable accountancy practice either. Whatever your personal preferences, red never grows old, and many love the warm and passionate energy it brings. It continues to be a very popular choice for company logos.  


Traditionally the watered-down alternative to strong, masculine, military red, pink was once preferred for young boys’ clothing. Fashions change, and pink has now been pigeonholed by marketing companies as the best shade to market to females of all ages. But no need to restrict it to stereotypes; pink is an energetic and young-feeling hue with just enough warmth not to overpower. Dusky pinks, pastels, magentas, and very gentle rose tones can work in different environments.  


 Another warm and energising colour, orange shares the excitement of red with the happiness of yellow. It’s particularly good for keeping staff motivated throughout the long working day, but some (most?) might find the most vibrant shades a bit much. Don’t forget that peach and coral belong to this spectrum and they can inject a little playful orange into your office without making it look too much like a budget airline. 


 Commonly linked to creativity as well as royalty and prestige, purple is actually quite a polarising colour- surprisingly it’s the colour the majority vote as their least favourite. Unlike blue, it’s not steadfast enough to find much favour with political parties or banks. Despite that, it can promote a very modern, enterprising image and certainly seems to appear in a disproportionate amount of start-up branding. It also aids concentration- never a bad thing in the office. Lilac can be a good alternative to pink and is very good if you sell or deal in nostalgia.


 The ultimate neutral, white is simple, classy and definitely not distracting. Many offices are actually painted shades of off-white like magnolia or cream, so you might be surprised how fresh and modern a true white can look. This is the very best colour if you work in any industry where hygiene and sterility matter. It can look impressive set against coloured furniture or shelving, or next to one vibrant feature wall.


 A natural earthy shade that can look good in the right office. It conveys stability and an old-fashioned classiness. It can be considered staid and dull, though, so would be absolutely the wrong colour for a business coach or a first aid training company. The lighter cocoa shades are a nice, warmer alternative to grey. Dark, rich tones of brown can look very luxurious, so would suit a company that sells upmarket products, especially food, and even more especially chocolate or coffee!


Additional Tips 

Your Corporate Colours – Usually, for consistency, you will want to follow your corporate colours (the ones on your website and business cards) especially if you receive a lot of client visitors. However, if the colours you chose for your logo really would be hard to live with on a big wall, consider incorporating little dashes or accents of the colour in paintings, with noticeboards etc. to give the impression of consistent, well-considered branding.

Your Staff  – If you share your office with staff, you will have less free rein to go wild with colour. Red is a particularly divisive colour which while it may stimulate some workers, could drive others to irritation. And that could cause you as many problems as it causes them. It‘s worth consulting staff to find out what colours they prefer and if there are any they really can’t tolerate. 

Room Size – Be aware that a small office can appear even pokier when painted a very dark shade. Black is especially to be avoided in confined or overcrowded spaces. Larger offices are not necessarily easier; you might not realise how imposing a colour is until it’s overpowering your room over four big, wide, long walls. For this reason, restrict any very strong hues to only one or two of your office walls and find a more subtle shade for the others. 

Room Temperature – Temperature can also be a consideration- if you’re always cold you won’t find vast expanses of ice blue walls very warming in the winter.

Fixtures, Fittings and Furniture – Think about the carpet, blinds, and any trims on the doors or window ledges. If you can’t afford (or are not allowed) to replace them, be very careful that your new paint colour will match. Carpet clashes, in particular, can ruin the whole look. If you are painting around existing furniture remember that white furniture is set off nicely against darker neutrals or acid colours; pine works well with pastels; darker woods suit autumnal tones, and if you have black desks you are best going for neutrals or a modern look with a strong contrasting paint colour. 

Business Centre Regulations – If you’re in a serviced office you may not think you have much choice but to sit cocooned between four bland magnolia walls. Don’t despair! It is definitely worth asking the centre managers if you can customise your office to your own taste and company image. The best-serviced offices- if they value you as a longer-term client- will be flexible enough to agree to a coat of paint, as long as you cover the cost of returning the office to its original shade when you move on. To be certain, ask about this before you sign up. If nothing else, it’s actually a good way to measure how accommodating they will be on other issues. We certainly see it as a way to prove our flexibility as a serviced office provider. 

To join us in a Wokingham-based serviced office you can paint any colour from ivory to indigo, email or share some Instagram shots with us at @Mantleoffices 

man and woman painting wall

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