Sick of feeling the urge to pick at food? Good intentions always flying out of the window? We have good news. It may not be your fault – the root of the problem may lie at the colour you’ve painted your living room walls, not a lack of will power.
Colour isn’t just cosmetic – research into the physiological effects of colour shows that certain colours have a very real effect on mood and behaviour, including stimulating appetite, encouraging creativity and even alleviating pain.
According to Angela Wright, author of The Beginners Guide to Colour Psychology, ‘There are four psychological primary colours – red, which relates to the body, blue to the mind, yellow to the emotions, and green, which provides a balance between the three. Shades and tints of these determine how they affect us.’
Chromatherapy (the use of colour as a health treatment), has been used in the western world since the early 20th century. But long before then, ancient Indian and Egyptian cultures used colour to treat ailments, and feng shui practitioners have always used colour as a means of helping create harmonious living spaces. June McLeod, author of Colours of the Soul, says ‘Colour is the most important consideration for any space, it’s transformational.’ So use it wisely.
Do use green, orange and brown in your living room. Green refreshes, restores and brings harmony to our environment. Orange and yellow are optimistic and welcoming, encouraging social interaction and fun. Used well, black and grey communicate clarity and sophistication. Misused, they can be menacing in a living room. Black’s friendlier cousin, brown, can convey the same strength and glamour but with warmth that comes from the addition of red and yellow.
Don’t use red or dark blue. Unless you want a pure party room filled with frenetic energy, don’t use bright red, which is simply too stimulating for a living room. Conversely, dark blue is cold and formal – save it for the boardroom.
Do use almost anything. As the hallway is where you spend the least time, it’s the one space in your home where you can go bold and use colours which may be overpowering elsewhere. If fuschia’s your passion, indulge it here.
Don’t use mustard yellow. ‘Whether you want to create a light and airy feeling to the entrance of your home, or a vibrant, passionate mix of colour, the choice is yours,’ says June McLeod. ‘The one no-no in the hallway is mustard yellow – a colour traditionally associated with things going missing.’ Not so handy when you’re looking for your keys.
Do use white, yellow and orange. White represents cleanliness and hygiene, but too much can strain the eyes, effectively reflecting the full spectrum into them – think interrogation techniques! For crockery and appliances, yellow is uplifting and encourages sociability, while orange speaks of the physical comforts of food and warmth, as well as stimulating the appetite – notice how many restaurants are painted in warm, orangey tones.
Don’t use blue and black (especially if you are a foodie). Dieting? Try serving food in a blue room off blue plates – scientists even recommend fixing a blue light in the fridge. The lack of blue food in nature means we don’t have an automatic appetite response to the colour, instinctively rejecting it in case it’s poisonous.
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