If you read my last post about the basics of color, then you are ready to begin looking at color generators to find the best home office colors. As discussed in the last post, there are three general conditions that exist in your office. You might be having the perfect day. You are productive, laser focused on your goal and ready to work for hours to get it all done. Perfect day.
Alas, at other times, you may be stressed to the max. You are facing a deadline and have no idea how to meet that deadline. Since things come in threes, the dog is probably sick and one of your best customers is mad at you. And all you need to do is find a way to focus. Or, it is one of those days when, even with sixteen cups of coffee, you can barely stay awake. You need energy. You need to find a way to focus that doesn't involve chocolate.
What does all of this have to do with color? Well, color is powerful. And utilizing the correct colors in your home office can help you whether you want to de-stress and relax, wake up and focus or just maintain your peaceful productive day. Before we take a look at the awesome color generators out there, let's talk a bit about mood and color. Color theorists tend to look at the psychological impact of color as a function of our experiences or associations with a particular color. Research on the impact of color on mood continues and color scientists continue making discoveries about color. So what have some of these scientists found out about color? We will briefly look at moods related to the colors on the color wheel discussed in the last blog post.
Red evokes energy and passion. Interestingly, it can trigger opposite emotions. We think of red as a sign of danger – the stop sign, red flashing lights on ambulances. But, we also think of red related to passion and love. It is the color of Valentine's day, after all. It is intense and that intensity can affect you psychologically. The color red has been studied for many years. Mehta and Zhu1 conducted a study that suggests that the color red enhances a certain type of cognitive tasks. Red is associated with danger and mistakes. After all, who hasn't received a paper back with all the errors circled in red ink? Thus, the color red causes us to be hyper-vigilant when working. When exposed to red, we may become more attentive to work and be productive working with detail-oriented tasks.
Blue, on the other hand, evokes feelings of peace and tranquility. Mehta and Zhu's1 study found the reaction to blue was very different than toward red. Exposure to this color can motivate you on tasks oriented to creativity and imagination. Exposure to blue can lead you to feel safe in discovering solutions to problems that are “out of the box.” In 1942, Goldstein proposed that blue (and green) are quieting and calming. This color focuses people inward, producing stable behavior.2
Yellow is bright and intense and can also evoke strong emotions. Many feel like it is a bright and cheery color. Others consider yellow an aggressive color. Introverts can feel irritated and uncomfortable around yellow because it tends to be “in your face.”
Much like blue, most people consider green generally calming and soothing. Green is considered the color of nature, associated with grass, trees, and forests. It is a lush color symbolic of fertility. Many hospitals are painted green – suggesting that we associate green with healing. Perhaps because green is associated with new growth, it is also often considered to be a hopeful and optimistic color. People who wear green are often perceived as kind and nurturing.
This color combines the calmness of blue with the fiery nature of red. Violet is often associated with royalty and nobility. It is considered a rich, luxurious and exotic color. In addition, this color is often associated with mystery and magic and can evoke creative thought.
This color is associated with the earth and can evoke a sense of strength, reliability and stability. Brown is a down-to-earth color that can provide warmth and security. In large quantities, it might feel stark and empty so it is best to use brown as an accent rather than the primary color in a room.
A combination of yellow and red, orange is an energetic color – evoking feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Orange is one of the dominant colors of autumn – nature's last hurrah from nature before going to sleep for the winter. Pure oranges are vital and call you to attention.
How to use color associations for your home office
After reviewing the psychological impact of colors, think about the mood you want to create in your office. Do you need an office that is largely bright and vibrant. An office that keeps you on your toes (awake) all day? Or are you in a high stress business and need to be able to calm down and focus throughout the day? Do you need your creativity to be in high gear? Or do you need to focus on detail oriented reports and research? One last question that I think is important. What colors do you like? What colors bring a smile to your face – regardless of what science says about the mood it evokes? Study your answers to these questions and the impact of the colors described above. This can provide an idea of the colors you want for your home office. So, how do you find those colors?
For this next task, I highly recommend that you head to one of the awesome color generators that are available for free on the Internet. A color scheme generator takes a base color and generates a palette of colors that, quite simply, look beautiful together. Generally, the generator will give you the value of colors in hex, RGB, CMYK and RGV values. Often, they will allow you to export the information so that you can easily access it when needed. Most of the color scheme generators provide a variety of ways to explore color schemes. So, let's take a look at a very comprehensive tool that will allow you to explore color schemes. And, did I mention it was free?
I first ran across this site when I was looking for colors for this blog. The only problem with the site is that you can literally
waste spend hours playing around with all the color combinations and schemes to find the perfect colors for your home office. But, that is OK, because working with colors can really be a relaxing thing to do.
Coolors offers a variety of ways to access a color scheme. One way to begin is by uploading a photo and allowing their color generator to pick out a color scheme based on the photo. We generally know whether we like a photo when we look at it. So a pleasing photo will build a color scheme that is pleasing to us. In the example below, the generator picked up the rich blues, greens and browns in the photo of the flower. The base color is green and the other colors in the scheme revolve around the base green. If you want to store the color scheme, click on “Collage” for a .png file that includes the photo and other colors in the scheme.
If interested in another color in the photo, you can click on any area of the photo to generate the color scheme for a new base color. See the photo below where I clicked on blue and on brown to generate two new schemes. This aspect of the tool alone can lead to hours of distracting “work.”
You can upload a photo or link to a phone on the web to generate color schemes. So, this is a very good way of developing themes because it is easy to look at a photo and determine whether you find it pleasing to the eye.
Other ways to generate color schemes
But, this tools provides other ways to generate home office color schemes. If you click on the “Explore” button, Coolors presents a series of different color schemes, pre-generated. You can select from latest schemes, picks or best. Explore all three. There is some great stuff there.
When ready to delve further, click on “View” for any of the themes. A page appears that provides a closer look at the theme. At the bottom of the colors, you will see the hex code for each of the colors as well as the name of the color. In this example, I selected Andean 5 to work with.
Now it really gets exciting. Scroll your mouse over any of the color blocks until you see the grid. Click on the grid and multiple shades related to this color will be shown. You can try new shades to see whether you like them in this scheme.
After exploring these options, you can also adjust the palette of colors using the hue, saturation, brightness and temperature. Click on the little eye to open this feature.
Below you will see the palette of colors that I found after “playing” with the options.
You could probably spend hours “playing” with colors on this exciting site looking for a variety of perfect home office color schemes. Be sure to sign up because this enables you to save the palettes you are working with and may want to come back to.
Other great color generators
There are other color generators that are very user friendly and free. Some of these include:
ColorSpace does not have as many features as Coolors, but it still provides a variety of palettes based on one color. You can either add the RGB code, the hex code or you can click on a color chart that pops up. Once you click on “GENERATE”, a variety of palettes and the corresponding hex codes of each color appear. There is also a feature to get a gradient – but honestly, I am not sure how this helps with deciding on your home office color scheme.
Sessions College for Professional Design
Sessions College offers a rather nice color generator that allows you to add the hex code for a base color and then find complementary, monochromatic, analogous, split complementary, triadic or tetradic color schemes (or harmonies). You can explore in RYB or RGB mode. Once you see the color scheme, you can click on “Get Color Scheme” and you will be taken to a page that includes samples of the colors with the hex, RGB and CMYK value of each color. You can either print or save your results.
- Mehta, R., & Zhu, R. (2009). Blue or red? Exploring the effect of color on cognitive task performances. Science, 393(5918), 1226–1229. Retrieved from https://science.sciencemag.org/content/323/5918/1226.long
- Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2007). Color and psychological functioning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(5), 250–254.