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What color should my office walls be?

What color should my office walls be?

When choosing a color for your office walls, there are a few key factors to consider: the purpose of the space, the amount of natural light, the existing furniture and décor, your personal preferences, and the psychology behind color.

The Purpose of the Space

Think about how you use your office and what you want to achieve in the space. An office at home may be a creative retreat for your hobbies, while a private office at work is centered around productivity and professional needs.

If meetings or video calls will take place in your office, you’ll want to choose a color that projects professionalism and looks good on camera. Neutral tones like gray, beige or light blue are safe choices that don’t distract. Make sure the color doesn’t clash with your skin tone.

For a creative workspace, energizing shades like yellow, green or orange can help generate ideas and inspire you. Just beware choosing colors that are overstimulating or make it hard to concentrate when needed.

Amount of Natural Light

The amount of natural light your office gets will affect how colors appear on the walls and your perception of the space. North-facing rooms with limited sunlight will look brighter and more lively with lighter, warmer hues. South-facing rooms awash in sun can handle deeper, bolder colors.

Dark paint colors tend to make a room feel smaller and cozier, while lighter colors open up the space. If your office is windowless or lacks much natural light, stick to lighter or reflective shades such as soft white, pale gray or subtle blue.

Existing Furniture and Decor

Before picking a wall color, assess the existing furniture, flooring and decor in your office. You’ll want a color that complements these features rather than clashing with them.

Neutral colored walls provide a blank canvas for boldly patterned rugs or upholstered furniture. Colored walls work best with solid, neutral furniture that won’t compete for attention. Just make sure your chair or desk don’t end up blending in too much.

Pull one or two accent colors from prints, pillows or other décor to inform your wall color selection. This creates a cohesive, pulled-together look. Wood furniture and floors pair well with greens, blues, grays and earthy hues.

Personal Preference

While trends and psychology can guide your office wall color, the most important factor is simply choosing a shade you like and find aesthetically pleasing. You’ll be working in this environment daily, so make sure the color makes you happy.

Think about colors that appeal to you in clothing, nature or artwork. Cool blues and greens tend to be universally flattering without being overpowering. If you’re unsure where to start, stick to a neutral base and add pops of color with decor and accents.

Psychology of Color

The psychology and emotional impact of different colors can influence your reactions in an office space, whether consciously or subconsciously. Here’s an overview of common color associations:

Color Psychological Associations
Blue Calming, professional, productive
Green Balance, harmony, focus
Yellow Cheerful, creative, energetic
Red Power, excitement, strength
Purple Imaginative, wise, dignified
Orange Friendly, confident, adventurous
Neutrals Subtle, calming, professional

Colors like blue, green and neutral shades are commonly recommended for offices, as they support focus and productivity without being overstimulating. But you can make bolder color choices depending on your needs and preferences.

Best Wall Colors for Offices

Here are some of the most popular and effective wall colors for office spaces:


Crisp white is a classic office color because it’s clean, bright and opens up smaller spaces. Different shades like bright white, soft white, or antique white offer subtle twists. White beautifully highlights architectural details. The downside is that white shows scuffs and stains.


From light silvery grays to charcoal, this sophisticated neutral works everywhere from corporate offices to home studios. Gray mixes well with most colors and is soothing without being dull. It comes in cool or warm undertones.


Understated beige lends a calming, natural look in offices. Lighter sandy beiges feel airy and sunlit. Deeper clay beiges offer a subtle earthy vibe. Keep lighting bright, as beige can read dark in dim rooms.


Many shades of blue lend an inviting, productive feel to offices. Soft powder blue is soothing, while bolder navy blue inspires focus. Blue brings the mind-centering benefits of nature indoors. Just avoid going too dark.


Earthy sage greens and vibrant lime create a stimulating but not overwhelming workspace. Green sparks creativity and harmony, especially when paired with natural light and elements. Deeper forest greens provide cozy ambiance.


Cheery, energizing yellow promotes creativity and collaboration in offices. Mustard yellow, lemon yellow and goldenrod offer different moods. Yellow encourages optimism but can be overstimulating if overused.

Wall Color Combinations

Two-tone wall coloring is a stylish option for making a design statement and adding depth to your office. Here are impactful combinations:

  • Navy blue accent wall with light gray main walls
  • Olive green accent wall with off-white or cream main walls
  • Mustard yellow accent wall with light blue main walls
  • Terra cotta accent wall with cool gray main walls
  • Forest green accent wall with white main walls

Choose bolder accent colors to highlight a certain wall, like behind a desk or shelving. More subtle accent walls use the same color family in different saturations, such as light blue and navy blue.

How Lighting Affects Color

The lighting in your office impacts how wall colors appear, as well as your perception of the space. Here’s how different lighting temperatures change color:

  • Warm white lighting makes grays, blues and greens look muted and soft.
  • Cool white lighting intensifies grays, blues and greens for more vibrancy.
  • Natural light casts colors the most accurately.
  • Dim lighting mutes all colors, making them feel darker and less energetic.

Make sure to view wall color samples under your actual office lighting at different times of day to see the true effect. Add accent lighting to illuminate artwork or brighten dark corners.

Paint Sheen Recommendations

The paint sheen, or luster, also affects how office wall colors look. Here are common sheens for offices:

  • Matte – Flat, velvety finish ideal for hiding imperfections. Color looks muted.
  • Eggshell – Soft, subtle sheen. Washable and ideal for most offices.
  • Satin – Low-luster sheen. Durable and scrubbable for high-traffic offices.
  • Semi-gloss – Shiny, smooth finish. Enhances color vibrancy. Easy to clean.

Matte or eggshell sheen is recommended for walls, while semi-gloss adds nice contrast on accent walls. The higher the sheen, the more durable and washable the finish.


At the end of the day, trust your personal preference and gut instinct in choosing office wall colors. Aim for shades that make you feel focused, uplifted and productive. Neutrals offer flexibility, while colors like green, blue and yellow provide mood-enhancing benefits.

Consider the purpose of your office, the amount of natural light, and existing furnishings to find a color palette that flows cohesively. Don’t be afraid to paint an accent wall in a bold color you love. Your office’s wall color has a big impact on how you experience the workspace.