Select Page

There are many surprisingly positive effects that certain types of art can bring to the workplace for both employees and visitors. Also, numerous ideas exist as to how to choose the best art and why it works to elevate the mood, performance, achievement, and even physical well-being of employees and increase interpersonal relationships and communication with customers and clients.

A multitude of research studies conducted in the United States and Europe have identified many ways that installing art in the workplace that is thoughtfully chosen has a strong impact.

Types of Workspaces

“Lean” is bare and functional, “enriched” is decorated with art and plants, “empowered” means that the individual has designed the area, and “disempowered” means the design was by someone else in authority. One study found that those working in enriched spaces were 17 percent more productive than those who worked in lean spaces.

Give Employees Control

The Exeter University’s School of Psychology did research involving over 2,000 office workers that found that employees who have control over the layout and design of their individual workspaces are happier, healthier, and up to 32 percent more productive.

Positively Received Artwork

Choose pleasing and interesting art with a moderate amount of visual complexity since art that is too simple or too complex is more likely to have a negative effect on mood. Patterns and colors should not be so familiar that they are boring but also not be so unfamiliar that they are confusing. Splashes of bright colors in a painting can lift up the mood and create a talking point to begin conversations in an otherwise bland corporate meeting room. Horizontal and vertical lines are better than diagonals, and curving lines are easier to process than straight ones as are symmetrical versus asymmetrical images. Viewers usually prefer to feel that they understand a work of art, so challenging ones are not recommended. Art can also serve to highlight local culture and create a bridge between the business and the community.


A survey by the International Association for Professional Art Advisors and the Business Committee for the Arts taken of over 800 employees working for 32 United States companies that have workplace art collections found that 78 percent agreed that it reduces stress, 64 percent agreed that it increased creativity, and 77 percent agreed that it encouraged expression of opinions.

There are workplace art rental services that can provide resources and ideas to strategically incorporate art in the workplace. That would include guidance on what content, textures, colors, positioning, and other features would best serve the needs and desires of the people involved and their designated spaces.