April 7, 2019

How Color, Lighting, and Materiality Affect Us

Architecture, interior design, and furniture play an integral role in shaping a user’s experience, health, and mood while in a space. Color can be a powerful communication tool in the workplace to enhance the overall brand experience, but it also has important psychological effects on people. Blues and greens tend to be more calming, while reds and oranges can increase energy levels. Lighting also affects people. It’s been proven that natural and healthy artificial light reduces depression, improves our digestion, regulates our sleeping patterns, and inspires creativity. Even certain materials have unique psychological effects. For our June survey, we asked for your thoughts on color, lighting, and materiality in the workplace.

How is color affecting you in your work environment?

The application of color in an interior environment can affect your mood positively or negatively, decrease or increase your energy levels, and even make you feel connected to nature. In a work setting, color can enhance personal connection with a company’s brand.

How is light affecting you in your work environment?

The quality of lighting at work mostly influences creativity, energy levels, and productivity levels. If your working environment showcases company product or retail, lighting can impact product marketability from a sales perspective.

How is materiality affecting you in your work environment?

Furnishings and materiality can really enhance the overall experience of a space. Survey respondents feel more connected with nature at work through the use of natural materials like wood, stone, and plants, which directly impact employee wellbeing. Employees also feel connected to their company’s brand, influencing a sense of belonging.

In what spaces are color, lighting, and materiality most important to you?

Respondents reported their primary working areas as an important area to focus on color, lighting, and materiality. Since these spaces are used frequently, it’s optimal to create a comfortable environment for employees. They also recommended community and client-facing spaces as important areas.

What quality of color, lighting, and materiality helps you focus?

Colors that are calming, natural and warm lighting, and a variety of materials were all recommended to guide better focus.

What quality of color, lighting, and materiality helps you collaborate?

Natural lighting inspires and helps others collaborate. Since design is subjective and people respond to it differently, both sides of the spectrum were reported to help employees collaborate. On one side of the spectrum, bold colors and fun patterns works, while for others, soothing colors and minimal materials boosts collaboration.

When these three elements work well together, it enhances a space and tells a great story. When designers work with businesses to create a successful company story through interior design, they should start with brand and what user experience they hope to achieve. This will inform the selection of color, lighting, and materiality in the space. These selections should be chosen carefully and align with the function of the room and the work modes it needs to support. Color, lighting, and materiality not only influences mood, but it also impacts health. Because the time we dedicate to work typically occurs in an office, we should always strive to provide healthy interiors — mentally, physically, and emotionally.

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