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The Hidden Power of Colour
Colour is all around us. From the clothes we wear to the beam of our computer screens, it can rule the way we think, feel and it can even affect our well being. So, why is colour so powerful? And how should we use it?
It’s safe to say that our recent achievements are far beyond anything our cave-dwelling ancestors could have imagined. Men on the moon. Modern medicine. Cameras, computers, smartphones and, of course, the internet. We’ve come a long way, but 21st century life has brought with it the stress of the modern world. But there might be a solution to all this, and it’s a colourful one...
It’s time to relax – The Vitra Polder Sofa in Golden Yellow.
Whether it’s watching TV or scrolling through our devices, most of us spend a hell of a lot of time in front of our screens, but maybe we should think twice before late night Netflix & Chill. Our sleeping patterns are heavily reliant on our exposure to colour – blue wavelengths in light keep us alert, and when absent, prompt the release of a hormone that helps us nod off. Our bulbs and devices may be tempting, but our exposure to this kind of light at bedtime is confusing our body clocks and keeping us awake.
The thought of colour affecting us so significantly perhaps sounds a bit ‘off the wall’, but more and more attention is being paid to our psychological and physical responses to colour. When we spoke to Alison from The Colour Ministry, she told us that green subconsciously calms and soothes us, and has the power to increase lung capacity and help with breathing. In contrast, red is an ‘active’ colour, psychologically associated with speed drive and directness, to the extent that those with red cars are statistically more likely to get prosecuted for speeding. There’s a reason why fast food restaurants often opt for the colour red.
In essence, colour is more influential than you might think; but how can it be harnessed? The key is balance. Including the right colours in the right areas can have a major impact on your levels of concentration, your mood and even your health.
When it comes to places of study and work, LED lights are your friend – their blueness can save you from nodding off at your desk (which is always handy). The bathroom is also a good bet – no one wants to clean their teeth and put makeup on in the dark. Take this further by adding pops of yellow to both your workspace and bathroom to keep you lively throughout the day. As a colour associated with analytical thought and learning, it can enliven you in the morning and help you stay creative in the office.
From left to right – Louis Poulsen NJP Table Lamp, FLOS Kelvin Edge LED Table Lamp, Tom Dixon Spot Pendant Light, Spot Wall Light Obround and Round, Louis Poulsen AJ Table Lamp in new finish Yellow Ochre, Menu Carrie LED Table Lamp,
For places of relaxation, make sure there is an alternative to bright light. Choose lamps that emit warm colours or have a shade, and don’t be afraid to spend your evenings in candle light. The team at Nest tried this out, and found that binning their smartphones for the night and turning off the lights led to a much better sleep.
Our behaviour and mood isn’t just influenced by the colour in our lights – in fact, colour therapists have repeatedly recommended the use of cooler colours such as green, blue and purple for children suffering from ADHD. Whilst colours like red can cause hyperactive behaviour, others can be used to help lessen symptoms.
And this can apply to everyone – the stresses of daily life can get on top of all of us. Winding down can be hard in a world where technology, as we’ve discovered, not only affects our sleep, but makes us more contactable than ever. Cool colours in your environment can help kick the pressures of modern life by bringing a reflective calm to your space. So, whether it’s your interior, your clothes or even your desk at work, try a colourful change – you might be surprised by what it will do.
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