Science shows how colour affects mood in hospitality interiors

Tork BrainTracking research

The role of colour in hospitality interiors for creating moods has been revealed in an experiment using the latest brain wave technology. People were linked up to an EEG recorder headset and then spent five minutes in each of eight restaurant spaces decorated in different colours (pictured), spanning walls and floors together with furniture and tableware.

The research was undertaken by Tork, which supplies SCA Hygiene Products for the hospitality sector. During each session the EEG device recorded five observations of brain wave data per second, resulting in around 1,500 brain waves observations per room and person, as well as heart rate.

The results showed clear and recurring patterns in moods and emotions provoked by different colours.

The green environment was described as relaxing, calm and welcoming while orange environments were seen as fun, modern, welcoming and exciting.

The results for guests in a blue environment indicated a deeply relaxed state. Blue was found to be welcoming, calming and relaxing, but also unromantic.

In the yellow environment, guests indicated higher states of arousal, but in extreme cases, also higher stress levels. The colour made guests feel like they were in a fun, welcoming and exciting environment.

There was a strong emotional connection and high levels of creativity in the red environment. Heart rates were also high, indicating a stimulating environment. Perhaps not surprising, red was strongly associated with romance, excitement and fun. It was judged suitable for evening drinks and dinner with friends, together with date nights.

White was perceived as the best colour for a business setting. The colour was also seen as luxurious and modern, but scored low on aroused emotions such as fun and excitement.

Black was seen as luxurious, modern and sophisticated, but at the same time a bit unwelcoming and boring. It was strongly perceived to be suitable for a sophisticated event. The brain wave readings indicated high levels of creativity and arousal, but also a lower level of focus – making it less appealing for a business meeting.

Brown was viewed as relaxing, whilst also being perceived as traditional. Brown is perhaps not the best choice to create arousing experiences, researchers concluded.

Jamie Wright, UK&I communications manager for SCA Hygiene Products, said: “The brain-tracking experiment has been a completely revelatory experience for our business. To be able to match different coloured tableware to different hospitality environments is a real game changer in the industry, which puts us and our teams in the unique position of being able to advise operators of exactly the right tableware to suit their operations.”

To support the research, Tork has created a new range of table-top products such as napkins, tableware, dispenser napkins and custom print solution, available in 20 colours.

Tork has also provided a vision of the washrooms of the future with two new innovative products. The Tork SmartFresh is a toilet system with automatic flushing, cleaning and deodorising, which has also been integrated with a digital media screen, allowing operators to display video content and advertising messages. The new Tork EasyCube features innovative sensor-driven technology within its soap dispensers, alerting operators to when they require refilling.

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