As someone who consistently fails colour blind tests, I’m not the most reliable person to talk to about colour. But here goes.
I hate beige.
There, I said it. Whew. Feels good to get that off my chest.
Let’s get a little more explicit. I hate “office beige”. You know what colour I’m talking about, it’s the walls. And doors. And desks. They’re all too … neutral. Whatever happened to excitement? Whatever happened to colour?
There are a lot of articles out there that talk about the influence of colour. Sally Augustin, Ph. D., in an article on Psychology Today said that “A beige world is understimulating-and that’s stressful.” I won’t even mention the number of articles that mention the colour brown (and as an extension beige) brings many people sadness and a sense of mourning. So why do we use it?
Because it’s neutral. It goes with everything. It just doesn’t do much for us mentally. Indeed, for some people, it’s a downer, but it matches all of the furniture that we put there for someone to use. It used to be worse, back when computers also came in office beige. Oh, the horrors. But now it’s just beige desks. With brown rugs (hides the dirt better). And beige/cream walls. And beige tile. And brown bathroom doors.
I hate beige. Did I mention that?
What do I want? I want some bolder colours. I want to come into work and see some blues, some reds, something striking, something that makes me notice the colour. The surgery I was in last August had a nice teal colour on the ceiling and walls. TEAL!!! It was kind of nice and totally not what I was expecting. (Sorry, too busy lying on my back to take a look at the floors.)
Can the colour be distracting? Maybe, but it’s better than highway hypnosis. Do we want all of our staff to put their minds on hold and just navigate through the day without really thinking? Come on world, let’s bring colour back into the workplace.