In recent years, wallpaper décor in offices has increasingly moved into the focus of attention. The times when the walls in home offices or work spaces were generally a sterile white are long gone, for it’s become clear that those areas benefit from the right ambience just as much as living spaces.
Wallpapers are definitely a good choice when it comes to enhancing working areas as they can add a comfortable, cosy feel to a room. But it is important to contemplate what effect you are trying to achieve before choosing a specific style. Colours and patterns, as well as surface qualities and structures, have an impact on atmosphere and mood. So let’s have a closer look at various work environments, consider the questions that lead to the correct decision and think about the criteria that should be applied when choosing wallpapers for work areas.
Home office or study: terms with varied meanings
Study and home office are frequently used as synonyms - i.e. as the space/room within one’s home which is used for professional purposes. However, a study can be used merely for personal, private purposes (for instance for a favourite hobby), to keep personal documents, for bureaucratic correspondence or personal development. And studies are not just the domain of adults: children and young adults might use this quiet space to do their homework or prepare for exams. So when deciding on a specific wallpaper, bear in mind what the room is used for.
Workspace integrated into living quarters or as a separate room?
If there is no separate room available, the study area is usually integrated into the living space. This might be a corner or alcove in the hallway, a mezzanine or a separated area in an open-plan living room.
When it comes to integrated work areas, an optical differentiation to living and relaxing spaces is particularly important. There are psychological reasons for this fact. When we perform work-type tasks (thinking, crafting, arts or other creative efforts), the requirements for the room are very different from those for a room to merely relax in. Housing experts recommend to avoid creating a work space in a bedroom, as this is where the body and mind should be able to concentrate exclusively on rest and relaxation. Even if the bed is set apart visually by a room divider or folding screen, it's still present in the mind.
If you create a work area in your living room. the hallway or the landing, you should make sure that you can work fairly undisturbed and do not have the other rooms right in front of your eyes as that is too distracting.
When it comes to decorating the work space, the wall décor should fit in with the existing design in order to create a harmonious picture. What that means: Choose a colour of the same palette the existing walls have, or contrasting colours that complement what is already there. The same is true for patterns and materials or surface structures. Wallpapers for working areas which are integrated into living spaces should not stick out like a sore thumb, but tie in with the existing wall design. There is plenty of opportunity to combine patterns though, as the stunning example from our customer Juliana Fernandes from Brazil proves. By using patterned wallpapers which go together and have similar colours, you can create an optical delineation without disturbing the whole picture.
If you want to follow this stunning example and would like some help with choosing the right patterned wallpapers for your planned wall design, we are more than happy to assist you!
If you are dealing with a separate room with four walls and a door, it is of course much easier as you can let your imagination take over because there is no existing concept that you need to adhere to. However, colours, patterns, the layout and size of the room, sources of daylight etc. are important factors you have to consider when decorating a separate work room.
Why it is essential to think about the type of work that will be done in a workspace when you choose your wallpaper
Colours, patterns, surfaces all have an impact on our senses; they can in turn be inspiring, motivating, stimulating, relaxing, or distracting. First of all, think about the type of work you will be doing in the new work space. This is also important in terms of the surface and characteristics of your wallpaper.
- Will the workspace be dedicated to mental work that requires a good deal of concentration, for instance homework, studying, training, writing, research, developing concepts, doing accounts?
- Are the tasks you will be carrying out in the workspace more monotonous or more varied in nature?
- Is the work you intend to do manual, craft-related or artistic (e.g. sewing, painting, creative workshop, hobby area with a lot of activity)?
- Will the wallpaper be exposed to paint, chemicals, heavy duty use etc.?
- Are you after a wall décor that will reflect and support your creativity, that inspires your imagination and stimulates innovative energy for your thoughts?
Decisions about materials, colour(s), patterns, structure and specific characteristics are made easier once these basic questions have been answered. We will now reflect on individual issues within their context.
Colours and their effects on a workspace
Pure white wallpaper with no structure or effects is not an option for a workspace, as it just makes a room feel sterile, cold and lacking individual touches. In other words: it does not create an ambience which could support whatever work is taking place in a positive manner. It's simply neutral - nothing more, nothing less. The same is true for black - even the most creative types will not benefit from a drab, dark work environment. As a general rule, colours in workspaces should never be too dark as this would just feel gloomy and stultifying.
Grey is a flexible partner to other, brighter colours, like rosé, turquoise, orange, green, etc., but don't opt for a mixture of different shades of grey, as this colour, too, creates a neutralising effect and on its own is uninspiring. For all those seeking inspiration from their wall design, this is an absolute no-no! The general mood can suffer when there is too much grey about, as it is a colour more readily associated with gloomy thoughts than with spirited joy.
Of course, you don't need to avoid all nuances of black, white and grey, but the atmosphere of the room and your creativity will benefit if you introduce these hues into your wallpaper concept in a subtle way, so they don't dominate the room but still fit your requirements.
The following colours will create a specific work atmosphere for your individual type of activity:
Green: Helps prevent tiredness, ideal for work that requires high levels of concentration, good for monotonous tasks, keeps the mind fresh and awake without being overstimulating, supports physical and mental well-being; it can work as a motivator, or when you are suffering from writer's block - after all, green is the colour of hope! Even Goethe himself was enthused by the energising effect of the colour green in living and working spaces.
Blue: Calming, good for tiring mental or physical work, increases productivity and concentration as it helps prevent stress and retain energy. Also very beneficial for those who lose their train of thought from time to time.
Yellow and Orange: Warm, vitalising, joyful, a feel-good provider - yellow and orange are known for their effervescent, optimistic and motivating effect, which makes them a good choice for working environments where creative inspiration is needed. However, for studies or rooms where homework is done, these colours should be used sparingly, as they appeal to the playfulness in a child and can easily become distracting.
Red: Red is considered THE most creative colour in terms of interior design, and it works on a subtle and subconscious level. Red is also the colour of passion, fire, energy, but it is worth noting that individual hues and shades can regulate this effect, i.e. increase or decrease it. However, the colour red can also trigger aggression and create pressure. Red is a good choice for those whose work depends on a large amount of external input. On the other hand, tasks that require high levels of concentration or time are not helped by the colour red.
When choosing the right colour for your workspace, it is important to think about the optical impact on the size and height of a room. Lighter colours make a room appear bigger, darker colours make it feel smaller.
Wallpaper materials and care/maintenance properties
The choice of wallpaper materials for a workspace depends on specific requirements and types of use. If the area is mainly or exclusively used by children, you should always choose robust, washable wallpapers, as they will inevitably be subject to stains and other damage. Wallpapers made from delicate materials, e.g. glass beads, effect foil and metal wallpapers, as well as some natural fibre wallpapers, should only be used in workspaces where stains and damages are less likely.
If the specific tasks conducted in the space are likely to cause damage or stains and discolouration, e.g. paint splashes etc., it is best to choose washable or even scrub-resistant wallpapers to deal with smaller or larger issues.
Wallpaper patterns - a very personal choice
When selecting a wallpaper for a workspace, colours are of course the main factor. But when it comes to patterns, it is a very personal decision to make, informed by expectations as to the effect of a specific pattern. And the creative input is determined by associations with the actual work that will be done in the space. Here are two examples to illustrate this notion:
A fashion designer with a penchant for the “Roaring 20s” will be on the lookout for inspiring wallpapers with motifs from this era which will stimulate ideas and concepts for her own designs, for instance the Dupenny 1920s Glamour Wallpaper.
An environmentalist doing voluntary work, who spends a lot of time in his workspace developing projects, might be keen on a pattern which reminds him of his goals and his love of nature and will hence choose a motif like the tree wallpaper Birch Forest.
Motifs and patterns should always impact positively on work efficiency and creativity and are therefore a very individual choice. A pattern that may have a beneficial influence on one person's concentration and inspiration might have the opposite effect on another person. In other words, it is a question of personal taste, which can be analysed by the following criteria:
- What impact does the pattern have on my mood, what feelings does it trigger in me, and does this tie in with my specific professional requirements?
- Should my work focus be reflected in the wallpaper pattern?
- What is the design concept I am aiming to achieve with the patterned wallpaper? Modern, elegant, purist, artistic, abstract, vintage?
- Will I be happy with my choice of pattern/motif or might I get bored with it within a short time?
- Will the wallpaper pattern work for me even if I spend large amounts of time (e.g. 8 or more hours) in the room in question?
- Should all walls have the same wallpaper or is a mixture of plain-coloured and patterned wallpapers a better option?
- Could the pattern become a distraction from my work, or will it enhance my ability to concentrate on the tasks at hand? In a room where children are doing their homework or studying, a wallpaper with the potential to create a learning or understanding effect is preferable to one with playful motifs which might distract the child. The Mulisikel wallpaper is one such example; it allows children to practise their sums and counting, and the robots can help with learning about colours. Parents can utilise it in many different ways to convey simply learning concepts. Another example for wall décor as a teaching aid would be a “blackboard” wallpaper.
Looking at the workspace as an overall concept
The workspace should always be thought about as an overall concept which differs from living areas. The choice of furniture and accessories should be based on rational considerations and meet work-related requirements. The design options for walls, flooring, ceiling, lighting and sources of daylight should all complement functionality and furnishings. Individual design choices present themselves in the form of furniture, wallpapers, flooring and lamps. Decorative elements are used sparingly and subtly, and the work area might not be the best place for very private and personal objects. After all, some differences need to be in place to ensure that the work flow, be it in physical or mental terms, is spurred on and maintained.