How Your Office Walls Can Make or Break Workplace Productivity

The following is a guest post from Chris Falk

If your office walls are painted dull gray — the cold color of warships, concrete and cubicles, it may be time for a makeover.

“In the last four to five years, we’ve all been focusing on sustainability and the impact technology has in an office,” says Kay Sargent, director of workplace strategies at infrastructure solutions provider Lend Lease. “During this time, we’ve forgotten that we’re designing for people. Now there’s a real focus on trying to maximize human potential, performance, and productivity.”

But what is productivity? It’s no longer about sitting at your desk with your head down working all day.

“I think of [productivity] as effectively creating ideas and solving problems and a lot of that has to do with being collaborative,” says Miguel McKelvey, cofounder and chief creative officer of coworking office space WeWork.

50 Shades of Productivity

A recent University of Texas study found that bland gray, beige and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. Men, on the other hand, experienced similarly gloomy feelings in purple and orange workspaces.

Similar scientific studies have shown that colors don’t just change our moods, they also profoundly impact our productivity, for better and for worse. That’s why it’s best to decorate your workplace with a vibrant medley of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.

Low-wavelength colors, like restful green and calming blue — two of the most common colors in Mother Nature’s palette, improve efficiency and focus. They also lend an overall sense of well-being. Bottom line: If you want happier, more effective workers, green and blue are wise choices.  

blue nature office design ideas
Seen here: aluminum photo printing.


Red, a high-wavelength color, is active, intense and alarming at times. The passion-inspiring color, not accidentally the hue of valentines, fire extinguishers and fire trucks, increases the heart rate and blood flow upon sight. That said, if there’s something in the office you want to urgently draw employees’ eyes to, it’s best to paint it red.    

wall decal red quote
Seen here: die cut vinyl wall decal.


Meanwhile mellow yellow, often viewed by color psychologists as the shade of optimism, is energetic and fresh. It is believed to trigger innovation and is best used in work environments where artists, writers, designers, developers and other creative professionals work.

yellow office murals
Energizing yellow wall mural. Source:


Graphics: Worth 1,000 Words

In addition to adding color to your office space, wall graphics are an easy and effective way to liven up the space. Similarly to color, wall graphics have been shown to boost workplace productivity and happiness and they can do more than advertise your business or display your company name.

Custom-designed graphics add color, appeal, and are easy to change out quickly. Vinyl graphics install quickly, can be replaced with ease, and cost less than heavy-duty signs. Here are four effects that graphics can have on your workspace. 

1. Boost Customer Appeal Inside the Office

Purely informative signs don’t appeal. They relay information, but lack vibrancy. Take advantage of indoor signs by establishing a comfortable, inviting environment with creative wall graphics. Make a lobby aesthetically pleasing, create attractive advertisements, and welcome potential customers all with a single sign.

Wall graphics can transform your lobby from simply informative to very welcoming. Seen here: lobby and reception signs.


2. Set the Tone of Your Workplace

Humans respond to visual stimulation. Creative graphics and color schemes influence workers by setting a tone in the workplace. Boost productivity and happiness by playing with the psychology of colors as referenced above.

A break room designed to energize employees uses lots of warm tones in its wall graphics. Seen here: custom wall murals.


3. Promote Your Company Culture

Wall graphics define your business’s culture and illustrate it to employees and visitors. Keep employees focused on your brand’s mission while endorsing a positive environment to those visiting your office. Graphics make for a dynamic backdrop and reminder of your values during company events as well as during the regular work day.

Quotes can help integrate the founding principals of your company into your office design. Seen here: die cut vinyl wall lettering.


4. Contribute to Your Company’s Brand

Wall murals and graphics promote your brand at every turn. Place them in the lobby, in company restrooms, and display a graphic in your conference room. These graphics support your business, fuse the logo with the name, and ensure visitors leave remembering what your company is about.

Display images that are thematically relevant to the work that your company does. Seen here: acrylic photo prints.


Giving You an Extra Edge

It may sound like a bold claim but having office decorations, like wall wraps, has an important impact on your office dynamics. Decor may seem trivial, but in a cut-throat business world where even the slightest edge can make the difference between you and a rival, any advantage is important. Aside from improving employee productivity and office moral, here are some points to consider on how and why wall wraps and other office decor can improve your office environment.

  • Recruitment – With modern companies competing for who can be the most relevant and approachable for their employees, trying to recruit promising potential workers to a drab, sterile office could be a major disadvantage. It could even lead to you losing talent to competitors.
Your office design is a great way to show potential employees why they want to work for you. Seen here: vinyl wall mural.


  • Team Spirit – Having your company logo, and maybe your motto or vision statement, on the wall will lead to an increased sense of belonging among employees. They will begin to identify with the company and feel a sense of purpose in their work.


  • Client Impressions – If you are showing prospective clients around your workspace, you don’t want give the impression you are a company of yesterday. A forward-looking company with an engaged and productive workforce will win the day. Having effective wall wraps with your company logo and other key company information can make all the difference.


  • Ease of Identification – If someone is searching for your business, that could mean a sale is at stake. Wall wraps can make your business more easily identifiable, especially in office buildings where multiple companies reside.
Don’t leave customers guessing. Incorporate branded elements into your office design layout wherever possible. Seen here: acrylic prints.


About the Author

Chris Falk is a Principal for Newmark Grubb ACRES in Salt Lake City, UT. As a broker in commercial real estate, Chris has handled over 600 transactions exceeding $475MM.