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  • Cranberry Design

Colour Psychology

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Samples of pastel coloured fabric swatches, tiles and handles.

Much as I wish it wasn't, life is challenging right now. During these difficult times, it’s important to remember that colour is more than just a visual experience. It plays a huge role in how we feel as well. How many of you have unintentionally grinned when you saw the first pink blossoms of spring, or are reaching for the lighter coloured jumper rather than the black one? This is not simply because the seasons are changing – it’s because those brighter, lighter colours make us feel happier. They brighten up our day just that little bit!

Colour in your home has exactly the same effect. A bright coloured front door or doormat welcomes us home; a piece of art that’s full of colour becomes the focal point of the room, and a beautiful rich wall colour helps us feel enveloped and calm.

Reactions to colour can be subjective, but generally, certain colours stimulate particular responses. The cool colours tend to be calming, whereas red and oranges create energy and stimulate the senses. Blacks and greys are moody whereas whites and creams open spaces up and create a feeling of volume.

Historically colour trends tend to come and go quite predictably. As a society, We go from times of economic wealth and stability. where we all feel safe and comfortable, to times of hardship and uncertainty. where the underlying emotional response is one of anxiety and fear. During good times we love a bit of bright white and saturated colour. think the Mondrian colours of the 80s, and during tough times colours are muted, whites are too cold, and we move to a warmer pallete of rich creams, browns and relaxing sea greens and blues. If anything, there is an even greater desire for colour – but the colour is always greyed off and tonally soft.

Dulux Australia has just released its colour predictions for the upcoming year. Called ‘Retreat, Nourish and Reset', the 2021 colour palettes from Dulux are a beautiful combination of softer tones “for comfort and security” and stronger, muted colour to “brighten our outlook and wellbeing”.

The palette is dominated by creams, browns, and warmer greys, with a nod towards raw and natural timers, and vintage accents to help take us back to the security of days gone by.

There is still a trend towards the mustards and rust colours of last year, with the addition of gorgeous blue accents which Andrea Lucena-Orr says signify ‘better times to come’. These blues sit beautifully with the stimulating orangey-reds included in the palette and work perfectly with the current trend for rattan and ‘70s inspired deco we are all loving right now.

For more on the Dulux 2021 Colour Forecast, click here.

Dulux Mood Boards created by Bree Leech.

Photographed by Mike Baker Photographer

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