When you go to a store, restaurant, or office, do you pay attention to the colors around you? Maybe you should. Dana Andersen, with Planning Interiors, Inc. of Atlanta, says that color can “be used to influence consumers to take certain actions or interact with others in a specific way.” Well, now. Wouldn’t you like to know how the businesses you frequent are trying to influence you?

What if you’re a business owner? Andersen suggests when choosing color for your space, “It’s important to think about what type of emotion or mood you are trying to get your customers to feel.”

With all that in mind, let’s look at common colors and what they might say about the businesses who use them.


Image:  Benyamin Bohlouli

White makes us think clean, sterile and safe, which is why you often see it in healthcare settings. Notice how the dentist’s office pictured added warm blue accents to keep it from feeling cold and stark.


Image: Ricky Singh

Often associated with danger and financial loss, red is not the best choice for your CPA office—but since it attracts attention and enhances metabolism it’s a popular color for restaurants. Think about it: the arches may be golden, but McDonald’s uses a lot of red; so do KFC, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A and countless others.  


Image: Jac Alexandru

Yellow is optimistic, joyful, energetic and positive and—like some people who match that description—can be overwhelming in large doses. Bright hues are probably best used as accents, but softer shades can warm up a room and the people in it.


Image  Houzz

A combination of the stimulating red and cheerful yellow, orange promotes enthusiasm and encouragement—no wonder it’s often used in gyms and fitness studios. This extrovert of a color is great for social spaces but maybe not so much in places set aside for quiet contemplation.


Image: Usen Parmanov

Green is a calming color. Dark green is often associated with money (and lawyers’ offices), bright green reminds us of plants (think juice bars and health food restaurants), while pale greens evoke nature and often show up in spas to help us relax.


Image: Jonathan Cooper

A color of authority often used for uniforms and banks, blue inspires trust and calm. It has the opposite effect to red and can even lower your heart rate. It also plays well with other colors, so it’s a good backup singer for brighter tones.


Image: Greg Trowman

A classic combo that never goes out of style, black and white together are elegant and sophisticated. Combining the purity of white with the formality of black, they’re often used in pricier spaces like upscale salons and high-end restaurants.

Now that you know what colors are whispering in your ear, will you pay more attention to the décor the next time you walk in a shop, office or restaurant? Bet you will. Business owners: are your colors sending the right message? Commercial interiors are one of our specialties. Request a consultation and we’ll help make sure your space works for you.

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