CRE­AT­ING JUST the right mood when you’re host­ing a gath­er­ing or overnight guests can be as sim­ple as pay­ing at­ten­tion to your colour scheme – and science. Much re­search has been done on the cor­re­la­tion be­tween colour and emo­tion, in­clud­ing a study of col­lege stu­dents asked to as­sign feel­ings for colours they were shown. Un­sur­pris­ingly, blue was linked with calm and yel­low with happy. Aside from such uni­ver­sal as­so­ci­a­tions, we’re also af­fected by a colour’s in­ten­sity, says graphic de­sign- er and tex­tile artist Su­san An­der­son: “The minute you put white in a colour and raise it into a very high pas­tel, whether it’s a warm colour (yel­low) or a cool colour (blue), it’s go­ing to give a sense of com­fort.”

An­der­son has been teach­ing colour psy­chol­ogy at Toronto’s Sheri­dan and Seneca Col­leges for nearly 15 years and notes that soft pas­tels can also help in­spire for­give­ness – should your fam­ily pol­i­tics re­quire a lit­tle of that, too.

To add some oomph, red is the way to go, as it stim­u­lates ap­petite and con­ver­sa­tion. But use it with pru­dence; one wall or ta­ble ac­cents like linens or flow­ers are enough to do the trick, ad­vises An­der­son. If yel­low’s not your thing, boost cheer­ful­ness with wood and warm metallics. And if you’re look­ing to im­press the crowd, she says, reach for rich colours in­clud­ing gar­net, hunter green and deep pur­ple, which evoke wealth, in­flu­ence and stature. But use spar­ingly, she rec­om­mends, as oth­er­wise you may end up in­tim­i­dat­ing guests – un­less of course, that’s what you’re go­ing for! —TL

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