Colour Therapy

“When so much is in turbulence beyond our front doors, there is a sense that only here, at home, can we effect change on our own terms”.

When I read these words, written by Michelle Ogundehin, Editor-in-Chief for Elle Decoration I instantly identified with what she was saying.  In my twenties, after a failed relationship I recall rearranging the furniture in my flat and repainting the walls; that was me, effecting change on my own terms. So if, when all else around us feels uncertain and redecorating makes us feel more in control, I wonder what the colours we gravitate towards say about us and our need for comfort? I wonder whether it brings out our true colour preferences. What I mean by this is that we all relate to colour in different ways and love or loathe a certain hue for varied reasons; some at a conscious level; others subconsciously. In addition we can all be classified in terms of seasons. Most of us are a combination of two, the primary dictating the colours that suit us most, complement our natural colouring and the secondary season reflecting our style and key personality traits. In the world of personal colour consulting you will engage the services of an expert who will drape you in various coloured scarves to ascertain which season you are most allied to. People working in this field will describe clients who will tell them that they definitely suit black. Interestingly only a true winter personality suits black. Someone who is pure winter will suit cool hues such as pistachio green and ice blue.  Magenta will not overpower them and they will suit the very dark and cold end of the spectrum and at its extreme, black. The archetypal power dressed look is winter; it means business, it’s dramatic and luxurious. Victoria Beckham is a good example of a true winter with her angular features and natural affinity with black. The reality is that very few of us Brits are a true winter. Many non winter women dress themselves in winter colours, subconsciously channelling the persona they would like the world to see them as.

The same principle can apply to interiors. We all feel happier in living environments which resonate with our seasonal personality. I can ask a client many questions, encourage them to curate a library of images from Houzz or Pinterest, ask them to show me favoured pieces of art and so forth, all in the quest to nail this. Interestingly there have been occasions when a client will explain that they like a certain look but then on closer probing I will establish a lack of congruence between this and what their answers to other questions tell me. Some (and definitely not all) will compromise their innate style for the aesthetic they feel they should have or to please a partner. I then wonder whether the true season comes out in all of us when it comes to decorating our homes in times of change or uncertainty.  Even if unconscious, is the need during turbulent times to be true to our interior style more acute? I am an autumn primary and a summer secondary which means that the colours I am naturally drawn to sit in the autumn palette but I prefer elegance in interiors which is very much a summer trait. My sitting room is completely autumn in colour – warm aubergines and F&B Archive on the walls. My dining room used to be similarly toned yet on a mission for change I opted for greys. It’s never worked for me and still grates. To be fair, our dining room serves a multitude of purposes including HomeSmiths goods in and design board production so it’s a way from my perfect dinner party setting yet the main issue is probably down to the fact that grey is not an autumn hue. Most greys sit in the summer palette so of course it’s never going to feel right to me. Recently this has been bugging me more than usual so I wonder whether with all that’s going on in the world, I am even more driven to decorate my home in a way that resonates most with me.

Photo credited to James Hare