Creating Mood and Ambiance with Color in Public Spaces

Color can be an important factor in how we perceive our surroundings. If used skillfully, it can positively influence mood and behavior. A range of psychological and emotional effects can be achieved through color and selecting appropriate color is an integral part of any interior design project. Here we outline some ways to use color to influence mood and behavior when upholstering furniture.

Color zones:

Color zone at Lisbon Portela Airport


Designing public spaces that involve channeling people to specific areas such as transportation terminals should involve the use of color as a directive. By creating a zone approach rather than a broad-brush stroke across the terminal, using various hues splashed in strategic locations evokes a sense of subliminal wayfinding for people to figure out where they are, similar to color zones in parking lots. This sensory admission is more fun for passengers navigating through the terminal while maintaining a lively and inviting interior space.

Color blocking:

Color blocking is a way to use color strategically, using practical colors on the high-wear seat cushions and brighter, mood-setting tones on the seat backs that catch people’s eyes. A benefit to the color blocking scheme is reducing the cost significantly if the facility had chosen full color (on seat and backrest). To keep replacement costs down, choose seating with slipcover upholstery for the colored seats, which means easier, inexpensive replacement when they start to show wear and tear.

Red backs with dark seats add a pop of color and brand identity, and keep maintenance costs down compared to full color upholstery.


Helpful Tips:

1.Color blocking can keep maintenance costs down for the life span of furniture. Ongoing maintenance costs are lower if 2% of seats are reupholstered every 2 years as opposed to all seats made for new.

2. Most weight is on the seat of the chair as opposed to the back. If you use darker colors on the seats it can take more abuse without being immediately visible. Whereas it’s sensible to use brighter tones on the backrests since they don’t take as much wear.

Color Punctuation:

Red color punctuation on Kalm chairs by Studio TK

Punctuating color on furniture and other movable equipment is a way to inject brighter tones into a space without being overbearing or permanent. Moreover, color punctuation on furniture accentuates a brand’s identity without being a part of the permanent structure that may over run refurbishing costs down the road to remove or replace.


Your guide to airport and passenger terminal furniture.


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