The Best Paint Colors for Your Home Office
These expert-approved shades will help you transform any room into a more productive workspace.
Never underestimate the impact the right wall paint can have in a home office—especially now, when the workspaces in our houses have replaced so many of our office cubicles. Not only is color an easy way to refresh a lackluster room, but the right paint hue could help increase productivity—after all, some paint colors are believed to have positive psychological effects. Studies even suggest that certain shades help stimulate your brain, while other hues are said to have calming effects that can lower stress levels (something we could all use a little more of these days, as we juggle full-time jobs, virtual school, and more). "A workspace is all about productivity, so you want to choose paint colors that will keep your energy focused and also have a calming effect," says Nicole Gibbons, interior designer and founder of Clare. "Even a controlled pop of color in a floral arrangement can spark creativity."
For this reason, it's important to select a paint color for your home office that actually inspires you. "A home office is likely to be a place you spend a lot of your day in, so it's important to consider colors that you are happy to be around for long periods of time," says Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball. "Soothing, earthy colors like greens and blues evoke a feeling of calm if you are looking to reduce stress. While light colors, such as warm whites, are great if you want to create a room free of distraction."
Not sure what shade to paint your own home office? We reached out to a few of our favorite color experts for advice. From calming browns and greens to stimulating yellows and beyond, these are the hues that will help create your idea work environment.
If you have trouble focusing while working from home, Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams, suggests painting your office in a rich, comforting shade of beige-gray to help stop your mind from wandering. "Fawn Brindle SW 7640 is a lovely warm gray-beige that will calm the mind and help you focus on the tasks of the day," she says. "Plus, it goes with everything, so it will fade right into the background behind your other office décor."
If you're scared to commit to a dark paint color in a highly-trafficked area of your home, Nivara Xaykao, Color Marketing and Development Expert at Benjamin Moore, says an office or study is a great alternative. "A dark, muted blue, like Blue Note 2129-30, can really distinguish a workspace and give it a special, luxurious quality that you'll want to return to," she explains. "Dark colors also provide a great backdrop for computer monitors or TVs because they can both minimize visual distractions, as well as camouflage these media items a bit."
Navy also fits into this category: It's a neo-neutral that's every bit as versatile as it is refreshing. "A warm navy, like our 2020 Color of the Year, Naval, is rooted in nature and creates a meditative atmosphere for maximum productiveness," Wadden says.
A little warm white paint goes a long way towards grounding your home office. "If you want limited visual distraction and a 'clean' space, try a warm white such as Orange Coloured White," O'Donnell says. "This will bring just a hint of warmth to a room, and works especially well if your home office is north facing.
Hannah Yeo, the color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore, agrees: "Warm off-whites, such as Dove Wing OC-18, are soft and easy on the eyes. They also make a great backdrop color to decorate with to spark creativity."
To set a calming tone for your workspace, Erika Woelfel, a color expert at Behr Paint, recommends painting your home office a subdued shade of muted green. "Quiet, relaxed hues are soothing and versatile, and most importantly, aren't distracting," she explains. "A shade like Jojoba (N390-3) will provide a comforting canvas for however you might want to decorate or configure the room."
Believe it or not, our experts say some shades of pink are more than just pretty to look at. "Warmer hues such as peach and soft corals are known to help improve focus and boost concentration and creativity, which is perfect for a home office area," Gibbons says. "A soft pink like Wing It or even a punchier hue like Pop can provide an inspiring atmosphere for a home office setting.
Coral and Peach
Wadden adds to this, noting that if you have a creative career or are otherwise visually inspired at work, a bold, playful shade of coral pink or peach is a must. "Coral Reef SW 6606 is a vibrant pink that will help keep your energy up throughout the day," she explains. "Simple white accents let the color shine, but it also works well with glamorous gold finishes or toned down with natural woods."
Bright and stimulating, yellow wall paint is a foolproof way to liven up an uninspired home office. "A yellow hue, like Charismatic, is sure to brighten up your workspace," says Woelfel. "It infuses energy and optimism into a room to enhance creativity."
Green can be calming and it can also be energizing—something you need when deadlines approach. "A bright, jazzy green, like Alexandrite SW 0060, brings a touch of playfulness to a home office," says Wadden. "Keep accents neutral, such as gold and silver, or try white décor so the room stays uncluttered."
If you thought brown walls were boring, then it's time to think again. According to our experts, a warm brown office can help you stay serene and focused all day long. "Mid-brown tones, like Broccoli Brown, are calming," O'Donnell explains, "and can focus the mind on the important tasks at hand."
If you're looking for an eye-catching wall color that will also help you stay calm and collected throughout the day, look no further than a fresh shade of blue. "If your job requires long stretches of focused time, choose a clean, fresh blue hue, like Nairobi Blue," Gibbons says. "Blue is universally known as a productive color that can help you stay calm, thus helping you to remain focused on the task at hand."
Dreaming of a cool-toned home office but can't decide between a calming blue palette or an invigorating shade of green? "A coastal blue-green, such as Dragonfly creates a soothing sanctuary for productivity and mindfulness," Woelfel says. "If you aren't ready to use this color on the walls, consider painting a bookshelf instead."
Dry Erase Paint
Why settle for regular paint when you can have a whole dry-erasable wall instead? "Make an entire home office wall a dry erase board by painting a clear coat of Notable Dry Erase Paint over your choice of wall color," says Yeo—it's the ultimate option if you share your workspace with your kids, who might need the wall for virtual school.