Designing for the Open Concept - Choosing Colors

Designing for open work environments can be challenging. Balancing aesthetics with functionality presents new problems for designers, like finding the balance between open sight lines and divided spaces or understanding color theory and choosing the right colors that keep a space bright and open, while also dividing the space for designated use. All of these are important to keep in mind when designing an open concept floorplan , but let’s take a deep dive into color and how and where it comes into play:

Neutral Colors:

Neutral colors can be placed throughout a design, but one place that works in open environments is the backdrop. Walls, ceilings, communal locations use neutral colors like white so that the space maintains a classic feel that’ll never go out of style. Using neutral colors as your base, also allows you to create interest in the design by using color in other areas like furniture, desking, collaboration tools, and architectural features. Maintaining a neutral base also allows you to change out the colorful additions to your space over time without having to do a complete redesign when trends start to fade.

Mixed Materials & Shades and Tones:

Natural wood and other mixed materials can help divide spaces in open environments. When dark wood is used in one area, and metal in another, a separation of spaces happens without your guests having to think about it. In addition to the separation of space, the use of these materials adds color to the environment.

Pops of Color:

Since we talked about keeping backdrops a neutral color, bringing in pops of color to your furniture, desking systems, and collaborative products is an easy way to bring fun to the workplace, not to mention the ability to heighten the brand through color choice. Keeping all elements of the design a neutral color causes the space to become sterile over time and results in a decrease of employee productivity. The University of Texas study found that bland gray, beige, and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression. Color changes mood and productivity, so it's best to decorate your workplace with pops of colors that increase creativity and collaboration.

Waddell, A GMi Company handcrafts display furniture for the education, corporate, and government markets and has been doing so for over 130 years. Our extensive experience allows us to evolve and create new products that promote collaboration and space division, while showcasing individuality. Learn more about our newest product that functionally divides spaces in open environments: Pallet.