How do I Choose the Best Office Color Schemes?

Sheri Cyprus

Choosing the best office color schemes is usually easy to do with some thought given to the image you wish to create. In general, the less conservative of an industry a business is in, the more creative you can be in terms of colors. A good way to start the process of choosing office color schemes is to work with the company's signature hue.

A color wheel helps choose color schemes, such as complementary colors.
A color wheel helps choose color schemes, such as complementary colors.

Many companies have selected a main color to use in their logos and branding. Two of the largest examples of this are the red of the Coca-Cola Company and the brown of the United Parcel Service (UPS). Even if most customers won't see the interior offices of a company, especially a home office, being surrounded in the official company colors can help create a more cohesive, professional atmosphere. Even if this official hue is very bright or bold, it can still be used tastefully by being the accent color.

If a company utilizes pastel colors, a common color scheme includes white.
If a company utilizes pastel colors, a common color scheme includes white.

For example, if orange is the company color, you needn't paint all of the walls in it or have orange-colored carpet. Instead, it could be used on an accent wall. Two neutral colors such as white and tan could form the rest of the office color scheme. In addition to the two neutrals being used to paint most of the walls, office furniture such as white desks and tan filing cabinets could be a part of the workspace. As an alternative to white desks in office color schemes with one bright and two neutrals, wooden office furniture could be used.

In all types of office color schemes, wood furniture pieces should coordinate well with all of the colors. For instance, in the orange, white and tan example, wood desks could be chosen in a shade similar to the tan. A warm-colored wood with an undertone of orange would be best to create a cohesive look. If a company color is blue, orange-toned wood office furniture could still be used. A complementary appeal would be created since orange and blue are opposite each other on the color wheel.

For pastel company colors, one of the most common office color schemes is to include white. If you want a more dramatic office space though, black paired with a pastel can create a modern, sophisticated color scheme. For the most interesting effect for this type of office color scheme, light, medium and dark versions of the main choice can be used in wall coverings and upholstery.

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Discussion Comments


One thing to consider when picking an office color is how it will look under the sea of fluorescent lights that illuminates most offices. Some colors look better this way, many others look worse.


Any decorator worth their salt would know that offices probably need to be decorated in neutral and universally acceptable colors. This is because offices have to accomplish so many things for so many people. They have to be a comfortable place for people to work and also a space that will impress prospective clients.

It may be better to say to avoid bold colors. I can remember during the tech boom of the late 90s when all these young men and women would get huge start up capital and would build themselves extravagant offices hoping to reflect their outlaw spirit. Some of them were neon green or electric blue. Basically, they were hideous. Most of these companies are gone now. I don't want to blame it on the color scheme but it sure didn't help.

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