Environment is affected by color. Computer offices, schools, hospitals, the food industry, and restaurant dining are all environmentally affected by color. We are all very conscious of color and textures, do like color variations, and feel color is essential for good environmental design. Many people today live in gray areas looking like concrete boxes that all look alike. For many years most buildings had repetition of white, feeling that was the way it had to be. Today we realizes, it isn’t any more difficult, using color, to build something beautiful and nice than something ugly.. When the developer today builds apartment units with some color and texture, he finds vandalism is down and occupancy is up.. In high density areas, housing complexes are without trees, and color adds a lot of relief to these otherwise colorless environments. Today developers involving numerous apartment buildings, find it pays off to make each look different from each other and individual.. Tenants will acccept any exterior color scheme over one that is colorless.

Architects take a great deal of pride in their perspectives, elevations, projections, drawings, and plans. In the past, they rarely considered the spatial effect color can achieve. Frank Lloyd Wright believed architecture should blend into the environment, using only natural materials, and rarely colorful natural stone or paint. Those days are gone.


Computer areas keep workers sealed off from natural light during the daytime. With the biological absence of light, health risks rise, and vision is affected. In the not too distant past, many offices had very uninspiring off white and gray surroundings. Corporations today know that your job performance will improve if you are satisfied with your surroundings. They found that when you spent most of your daytime hours working in chaotic surroundings, your behavior and work also became chaotic.
Recently, high tech offices emphasize neutral grays, whites and blacks in their offices. The offices had white walls, black desks, and deep purple carpets. Today, the desk tops are gray, neutral, and certainly not distracting. Shades of gray offered a good brightness balance between white and black. Saving on space, with open office system has been the rule. Companies felt they would be better communication without endless corridors to travel, doors to open, and windows to peer out of. Contrary to the view that you work best within your own four walls, it was impossible for you to arrange your own space with any plants or paintings. Today, many offices still have small cubicles where it is impossible to move and privacy is certainly absent. You can’t even relax your eyes by looking away at any distance from your computer.

Recently a change has occurred with whites,grays, bright red, and dark brown colors rarely used.. These are replaced with soft colors of yellow, pale orange or green, and olive tones. Corridors are beige on one side and light orange on the othe,r and at the end of the corridors, adjacent walls are a darker color. Offices, and cosmetic centers, now even avoid bright colored clothes by their employees, since they reflect in customers eyes. Many offices have lights that fall directly down on your flat horizontal desk. You’re reading, writing, and typing are done directly looking down. Since the computer screen is upright, you must raise your eyes to see the computer. If the light is behind you, you find your computer screen hasn’t got much contras,t and you find it difficult to read the letters. Today the light levels are placed a little lower, allowing you to prevent eyestrain.

Companies are aware that when you look at a close distance and scrutinize intensely your computer, visual fatigue occurs in your eye muscles, since your eye is centered on the same characters of the screen. Every time you look away from the material, to the keyboard, to the screen, you keep changing your focus. This is tiring on your eyes. . If you can look at a distances 15 feet away, your eyes have a chance to relax. Offices try to prevent windows or light directly behind or in front of you, since that also causes increased contrast in light and dark. Reflected glare makes it difficult to see the computer screen, since he display contrast is reduced and obscured. To keep your vision at a uniform level and prevent dark extremes, windows now have blinds to block out excess daylight.


Administrators of schools now are aware that appropriate colors in schools create surroundings that are conducive to studying, and providing physical and mental health of their students. . Researchers found that many school children become nervous, lose interest, and show behavioral problems because of the light and color in the classrooms. Children in elementary school are by nature very extroverted, and require a warm bright color scheme in their classrooms. This reduces their anxiety, tension, and nervousness. Walls of warm yellow, peach, and coral are now often used. Some green desks are used along with a mosaic green floor pattern. The hallways in the grade schools are generally painted differently, with light orange colors, blue doors, or light green walls with red doors.

In the higher grades, the children must be made more passive, and develop an ability to concentrate. Hence, classroom walls are often pale light green or blue green to provide effective contrasts with the chalkboards. Often the front wall is a different color from the side walls: this draws some attention to the teacher and to the front of the room. This also adds interest to the classroom, prevents monotony, and gives the classroom a different appearance as students look around in different directions.


Hospital are now in competition, and administrators want you to feel you are being taken care of. They know that without color you will find it difficult to relax and become emotional. Hence they make the major walls warm and cheerful by painting them light orange, yellow, or green. The doors are often pale green, wood ceilings light green, and the floors a moss green. Hospital long corridors are painted with complementary colors, often with one wall peach, and the other a darker tone of medium blue. They know hallways should be attractive, Hallways become interesting by placing patterns on the walls with different colored wall sections running horizontally. They avoid strong colors because they become monotonous.

Most patient rooms alternate between cool and warm colors to accommodate introverted and extroverted patients. The cool rooms often have sandstone on three walls and pale green on the fourth. The warm rooms are often pale orange on three sides with the fourth wall slightly darker but never brighter. When they use a single wall color, they choose soft yellows, light greens or peach colors. Knowing you are always lying down and looking up at the ceiling, they paint the ceiling much lighter.

Intensive care units are usually painted in aqua or blue-green colors to provide a cool atmosphere. Operating rooms today are done in bluish green or turquoise preventing glare. Recovery rooms are often much lighter, with pale green or aqua. The back walls of nursing stations are generally blue-green with a deeper color than the other walls. Hospitals rarely used red since it’s an aggressive color, often associated with blood. They also rarely use true blue in large areas because it tends to be cold and bleak They also avoid pale blue walls, since they create shadows over details. Hence a blue-green color is often chosen. Purple is avoided with a passion, since it is associated with mourning, suffering, and death. To make the hospitals attractive, artwork is often chosen to show that the hospital cares about you. The artwork generally is reassurancing and caring.

If you are hospitalized for a chronic illness,, cool colors are used since they help relaxation: light green aqua colors are often chosen. In intensive care units, the light levels are a lot lower, and a cool atmosphere is enhanced by the choice of aqua or blue-green colors. Operating rooms today are in tones of bluish green or turquoise so there’s not much glare: recovery rooms are much lighter with pale green or aqua. The back walls of nursing stations are generally orange, or blue-green with a deeper color and a stronger chroma than the other walls. Hospital floors are now usually carpeted and kept simple with very little pattern. Different colored designs and highly polished pale floors produce distortion, and are avoided..

Hospitals with mental words, usually provide a stimuluing and interesting surrounding . Hospital administators know that a monotonous room deprives the patient of sensory stimulation and prevents the opportunity for interaction with people. The brain always seek some sort of stimulus. . However too many conflicting signals that are chaotic and difficult to sort out can be a problem. The patient lounges are usually in warm soft colors providing relaxations by the use of green and blue green colors.


The food industry tries to retain the natural color appearance in your food and your packaging. They sell light beer in green bottles and strong beer in red and dark brown bottles. They package dairy products in blue packages to show coolness. Butter is packaged in gold and silver to show luxury. Meat counters have lights with a red spectrum to make the meat look fresh. To increase your appetite, warm yellows, reds, and clear greens are often used as backgrounds.


Good restaurants know that to survive, they must offer good service, fair prices, ambience, as well as good food. Most of us go to restaurants to have an enjoyable hour of relaxation and a great dining experience. We choose restaurants with good light, and some personal space. We like our tables illuminated without bright ceiling lights. We want to see the people we are dining with and also see our food. The walls, dishes, furniture, and even napkins must harmonize without the colors being distracting. Everything must be inviting and relaxing. Restaurants avoid gray walls as much as they do gray meat. They also know that warm light flatters our complexions, and are getting rid of florescent lighting.

Sources: Sarnacki art studios, Acupuncture Institute of Michigan

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