Colour me calm—how to use hues to give your home a ‘Zen’ feel
Here’s how to deploy colour to make your home a zone of peace and serenity
Wouldn’t it be nice to put on a Virtual Reality headset that is tuned to soothing images when we are out making our way in this increasingly troubled world? Unfortunately, we can’t suspend reality just as yet. All the more reason for our homes to be little oasis of calm. The role of colour in creating this ‘Zen’ feel in the home cannot be over stated.
Right from the 18th century, around the time Isaac Newton came up with the colour wheel, artists have understood the importance of using colours in specific combinations to produce the desired feelings in the viewer. The popularity of alternate therapies, like colour therapy, also rests on this belief of different colours affecting our moods, feelings and behaviours in specific ways.
The very basic differentiation, which most affects the interior design, is the demarcation between ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours. Warm colours are the hues that fall in the red to yellow spectrum, while cool colours fall in the green and blue to violet spectrum. It is believed that warm colours stimulate, while cool colours relax. However, this is also person-dependent. For one person a cool colour may be relaxing, but for another it might seem depressing. Similarly, a ‘stimulating’ colour like a sunshiny yellow might make a person feel happy and hence calm.
Here are some hints and nudges that will help you figure out what colour or family of colour works best to soothe you.
Most people associate neutral colours with creams, beiges and off-whites. In interior design neutral stands for light or medium colours, which means these could have undertones ranging from blue to yellow. Now, greige is all the rage globally. This is the perfect mix of beige and gray creating the perfect neutral, with the right amount of warm and cool!
These colours do not stand out, they do not stun or shock or give you a headache. However, there is a reason why many associates neutral with boring. If you go all neutral you run the risk of making your home look washed out and depressing. To avoid this pitfall play up a few darker coloured elements, like a satiny deep green or a lustrous dull gold on an accent wall or a bright pink sofa or a floral armchair. Another way to break the monotony is to add texture, like wall mouldings or claddings.
The cool club
To create a Zen like atmosphere in your home, the cool colours are your safest bets. Don’t like those basic blues and greens? Not to worry. The cool colour options are manifold. Think sea green, icy mint, lilac, sage green, powder blue—the possibilities are almost endless.
Here again, you can mix and match and take some risks. Think of a lilac room interspersed with gray. You could go for colour blocking too. Having a dark-ish colour like a matte-finish deep green—the very in trend night watch green or hunter green—on, say, your living room walls and contrasting it with neutral toned furniture will be calming, but also not boring. If you are not sure about painting all the walls in a room in the same dark colour, use this colour for a statement wall and use the lightest shade of the colour on the rest. White, from stark to pearl and ivory, also helps create a great contrast to the cool shades.
The warm brigade
Warm colours can also be pretty soothing. The trick is not to go too bright or too bold throughout. Also, the right concentration of warm will go a long way in creating the peacefulness you crave. While deep, lush red could be too strong, an understated matte-finish rustic red on a wall paired with an exposed wood dining table and chair and bench set could be just what the doctor ordered. Again using a rich, warm colour like a deep yellow for accent is a great way to add a dash of colour without taking away from the softness of a room. Warm but soft colours like blush or Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2019, Living Coral, bring vibrancy to a home.
Colours can change your mood, so you need to think long and hard before choosing the right colour for your home. Also, there are almost endless variations of all the colours in a spectrum so getting professional help of a home interior designer will go a long way in ensuring your home says – keep calm and carry on!