These Productivity-Boosting Paint Colors Were Made for Your Home Office

It's time to make your home office work for you.

Let's be honest, for those of us living the work-from-home life, things might feel a little monotonous. We're not saying you need to do a complete redesign, but if you're tired of the same old workspace, infusing it with some color (or changing up your current colors) might give it some zest.

Did you know that colors impact your mood in different ways? Atlanta-based interior designer Beth Kooby finds that color theory is one way to have some fun with a space. According to Kooby, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your color palette.

Home Office

Laurey W. Glenn

How to Choose and Use Your Colors

Before you paint your office, take your profession into consideration. If your job is high-pressure, you might want to go heavier on the cooler colors, like blues and greens, Kooby recommends. If you need an energy boost, warmer colors, like reds and yellows, can help.

You'll also want to think about the space itself. How much light does your office get? Kooby suggests doing big test swatches to see how your color choice looks on each wall, and how it changes throughout the day.

If painting a room isn't an option, incorporate your color choices in other ways. "If you have a more neutral wall but hope to infuse some color, re-cover a furniture piece like your office chair. Window treatments are also a great place to play, even if it's just a trim," says Kooby. And don't forget, even a bouquet of greenery or flowers can infuse some much-needed color—and life!—in a space.


We could all stand to be less stimulated, and that's where our friend blue and its myriad hues comes in. "It's very stable and calming," says Kooby. She's a fan of Vermont Slate by Benjamin Moore or add a pop of color with the Ingrid table lamp from Williams Sonoma.


Similarly, green elicits thoughts of nature. "It helps to reduce anxiety and stress, and it increases creativity and makes us think of growth and renewal," says Kooby. Consider painting your room in Vert de Terre, a soft, delicate green, by Farrow & Ball, or check out this Frederick X Metal Table Lamp by Williams Sonoma.


If you want to increase positivity, think yellow. The sunny color also stimulates mental activity and creativity. No wonder Illuminating was one of Pantone's colors of the year in 2021. Yellow walls may be too much, but what about a sunshiny filing cabinet by Laura Davidson?


No surprise here, but red is the color of passion and gives your mood a boost. While it represents courage and strength, Kooby says, "You wouldn't want to sit in an all red room. That would be a little too overwhelming." If you want to do a red accent wall, Kooby suggests a deeper, sophisticated red like Southwest Pottery by Benjamin Moore. You can also add a pop of red through a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a vase, too.


Brown induces feelings of strength and professionalism, says Kooby. "It would be a good backdrop color. It's very serene, and it helps people focus." You probably don't want to paint your entire room brown, but an accent wall painted in Farrow & Ball's Broccoli Brown could do nicely. Faux branches in a vase are also a nice way to incorporate brown by your work station.


An office space that's entirely neutral tends to feel sterile, but when used in conjunction with other colors can evoke calm feelings. Kooby likes Shoji White by Sherwin-Williams.

Was this page helpful?
Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Xia G, Li M, Henry P, et al. Aroused and impulsive effects of colour stimuli on lateral and logical abilitiesBehav Sci (Basel). 2021;11(2):24. doi:10.3390/bs11020024

  2. Elliot AJ. Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical workFront Psychol. 2015;6:368. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00368

  3. Bakhshi S, Gilbert E. Red, purple and pink: the colors of diffusion on pinterestPLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0117148. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117148

Related Articles