You’ll have heard the one about 'fast food red' inspiring us all to eat more burgers. Whether or not that specific theory holds up, it’s a fact that colour has a significant effect on our behaviour and emotions. Although influenced by myriad factors including gender and culture, chromology, the psychology of colour, has shown it can alter bodily processes as integral as our appetite, metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.
Is your energy boosted when you enter in a room filled with bright colours? How’s the serenity when you step into a pale-coloured space? It comes down to personal perspective, but certain colours are also commonly associated with certain emotions and notions: red with excitement, yellow with optimism, green with nature, pink with femininity and white with cleanliness, for example.
At home, the tangible tweaks colour makes to our state of mind means it pays to consider your paint and décor selection not only from an aesthetic standpoint, but from an emotional one too. It’s easy to imagine the soothing effect neutrals might have on a household, but what of some of today’s trending shades? Here we look at some hot-right-now hues and how you can use them on your walls to set the mood.
Sage and moss green
These greens are undeniably lovely and currently speaking to the masses for their refreshing link to nature – something most of us need more of in these device-driven times. Auckland-based designer Debbie Abercrombie says, "There’s nothing nicer than gathering herbs, watering plants or trimming foliage in the garden. It’s never stressful, and that’s what greens can do for us indoors too. Not only do they help to reduce stress, they’re also nuturing, and they’re suitable for any room in the house."
Sage and moss greens are tranquil promotors of balance and harmony that offer a sense of growth and renewal. Enhance your wellbeing at home with favourites include reviving Resene Spring Rain, lucky Resene Amulet, quiet Resene Green Spring and smoky grey-green Resene Tom Thumb. As they do in nature, such greens go well together: think foresty Resene Dingley layered with Resene Olive Green and misty Resene Pale Leaf.
Embrace the natural theme by pairing sage and moss greens with timber, going for a soothing effecting by coupling them with white or cream from Resene’s The Range White & Neutrals palette, or aiming for a cocooning effect with several shades of grey such as warm, dense Resene Jumbo and Resene Half Jumbo, or anchoring navy such as school-blazer blue Resene Bunting.
The au courant cousins of the ever-popular blush pink, "sunset pinks make time stop," says Debbie. "They soften and energise a space without being demanding, and are also rather romantic for a bedroom."
Conjuring soothing images of tender moments and otherworldly beauty, sunset shades from sweet pastel Resene Pink Lace, to peachy Resene Romantic, to lilac pink Resene Twilight go dreamily together and are divine combined with sky blues, such as hazy grey-blue Resene Smokescreen or slate blue and lilac Resene Panorama. Pale yellows like lemony Resene First Light are a welcome complement to this type of colour palette, as are taupes like Resene Nomad and dusky corals such as Resene Coral Tree.
This colour requires a measured approach, but the rewards are well worth a little more thought. "Just like cooking with spices, success generally depends on what you combine these colours with," says Debbie. "I see brown as the support crew, making white fresher, pink softer, and so on. Use it in a media room for moodiness, or somewhere unexpected like an entryway."
Resene Cumin is a warm copper brown you could use to add flavour in a palette with ochre, brown and orange Resene Whiskey Sour and deep green Resene Midnight Moss. Also a warm copper brown but slightly lighter is Resene Cinnamon, which is delicious with creamy Resene Anglaise. A bolder choice is rich brown-edged orange Resene Moroccan Spice, a striking seasoning for blue-purple-black Resene Bullitt.
Reminiscent of clear skies, blue is often interpreted as calming – so much so that cities have experimented with installing blue street lighting as an environmental design method for combating crime.
Sapphire blue, in particular, is eye-catching and uplifting – and you don’t need much of it to have a positive effect on your home, says Debbie. "Don’t be afraid to rev up the intensity, using less but using it well." Try it as an accent in a dining room, formal lounge or bathroom.
Clear, bright Resene Half Resolution Blue or indulgent Resene Decadence are a good place to start to determine your preference for blue or purple undertones. And if restraint isn’t your forte and you want to really up the ante, look to combine sapphire blue with other jewel-toned paints and accessories for truly luxurious glamour, such as emerald-like Resene Bingo and amysthest-esque Resene Deep Koamaru, accented with Resene Solid Gold metallic paint and velvet soft furnishings to seal the deal.
Often associated with happiness, bright yellow is a cheery choice for kitchens (perking up your splashback, perhaps) and entryways and can make a small bathroom more inviting, while softer interpretations are neutral ground for nurseries. But it’s pure yellow’s earthier counterpart that has become all the rage.
Mustard yellow imparts a warm energy that wraps you up in cosiness, says Debbie – ideal for the chilly seasons. "It’s beautiful when complemeted by navy, black, brown and neutrals.”
Turn your living space or bedroom into an on-trend haven with ruddy yellow Resene Tulip Tree and pale Resene Half Buttermilk. Furniture in mustard or gold velvet, greenery in cream pots, and accents of blush pink, sage green and soft grey round out a palette such as this, topped off with texture in the form of soft furnishings – throws, cushions or a rug.
If you’d prefer to take a subtler approach to this hue, Debbie suggests seeking wallpaper with just a hint of earthy yellow in it, such as the painterly roses of Resene Wallpaper Collection 36921-1 or the layered florals in Resene Wallpaper Collection KOS004.
Whatever you choose, be certain of a colour’s influence before you commit by using Resene testpots or drawdowns (A4 drawdown paint swatches) to test its effect in your space and how it changes under different lighting circumstances. Both can be ordered online or from your local Resene ColorShop.
This article was written by Resene for Newshub.