Colour and personality

Colour is a very powerful design tool. It is also a tricky one. Many will know colours react differently in natural light or artificial light (oh, those Farrow & Ball paints!). Some will be well versed in the colour wheel and the benefit of using a complementary or monochromatic scheme. A few will understand the effect colour has on a space, affecting everything from balance, proportions to repetition and rhythm. With one choice, we can truly transform a house. Make it a bad colour choice and the whole space feels wrong, flat, disconnected. The right choice of colours will make the space come together like it was always meant to be. I wanted to find out way more about colours, dive in that kaleidoscopic world and go beyond what they teach you in design school. So, this why I have decided to embark on the most interesting colour journey. 

The colourful Crosby Bar in New York designed by Kit Kemp

Personality types in relation to colours

I have enrolled in the Advanced Colour Training course run by the very talented Karen Haller, Applied Colour and Design Psychology Specialist with over twenty years’ experience in that field (www.karenhaller.co.uk, http://www.colour-training.com). Karen follows on the theory developed by Angela Wright (www.colour-affects.co.uk) in the 70s defining personality types in relation to colours – also building on previous work from Carl Jung and other great thinkers. This is not a course about colours per se, it is about the psychology of them and how we react to them, how colours make us feel and why in an instant we can feel tense or at ease in a room. 

Custom-made rugs can be a great way to bring in the right colours for you in a room

Negative and positive effects of colour

Each colour has known effects on people, you will hurry in a yellow and red fast food restaurant but feel deeply connected in a soft purple spa room. Each colour has universal positive and negative psychological effects. That green room may be soothing and calming in small doses but too much of it may make you feel bored or suffocated. However, where it starts to get really fascinating is that we all react differently to a specific colour. A very yellow-based olive green might be your idea of hell whereas it might be one of my favourite shades. Make that an icy blue-based green and again we feel very differently about it.

Your own seasonal personality type

We are all unique in our thinking, reactions and behaviour. This is where the Wright theory that Karen follows methodically comes in. First of all, all colours can be categorised in four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter by establishing that colours within each season have a natural affinity with each other. They have similar hues (blue or yellow-based colours), value (light reflective quality) and chroma (presence of colour).  Each season forms a tight, coherent and harmonious group – a seasonal colour group. The theory also identifies that human behaviours directly align with the energy of a season. In essence, each seasonal colour group corresponds to a seasonal personality type. Therefore, by finding out more about a person, we can understand which season or tonal family he/she truly fits in. This is revolutionary to me! To have such a deep connection between colours and personality is both mind-blowing and liberating. The key is to explore and identify your primary seasonal personality type, from this derives your colour choices for everything. These colours will support you, nurture you, give you confidence and bring overall balance and harmony to your life. Interestingly, not only does your seasonal colour group truly resonate with your seasonal personality type(s) but it also harmonises with seasonal-specific shapes and design styles. As a basic example, a winter personality will have a natural affinity with ‘winter colours’ (blue-based icy colours or intense colours) and angular lines, bold shapes, geometric patterns. But we are more complex creatures than that (thankfully!) and we have to take our secondary personality into the equation. This is an intricate and thorough process but all in all, it allows us to form a very comprehensive picture of an ideal design for you.

An interior truly reflecting your personality

Based on this, my job as an interior designer is to identify how YOU want to behave and feel in your space. But, you will have guessed it, it is primarily about finding more about you as a person and defining your seasonal personalities before embarking on the design. Only then can I compose a palette with the right colour choices in the right proportions to achieve exactly the effect you are after. Colours can really transform your life. So yes, there is a palette of perfect colours for you rather than that ubiquitous grey interior – but fear not, there is a grey for everyone if that’s your thing!

Colour can be applied to any element in a space – Lights by Artuto Alvarez

If you are curious to find out more about how to use colours in your interior, please get in touch. 

I would also highly recommend Karen’s book ‘The Little Book of Colour’ (www.thelittlebookofcolour.com) for a great first introduction to the wonderful world of colour and how it can truly transform your life. If you would like to read the first chapter for free before deciding whether this book is for you, then you can download it here: https://thelittlebookofcolour.com/free-chapter/

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