bringing calm to a restless world
Daily life is becoming more hectic and fast-paced than ever as we struggle against or willingly embrace the waves of new technology vying for our attention. Maya Breen hears from Resene's Karen Warman on colour trends that channel tranquil vibes into our
It would seem the more today’s pace of life keeps us working long hours or commuting further, the more spaces are evolving to help us find that homely atmosphere beyond our own homes, providing us with a sense of calm amongst the madness of modern routines.
Statistics show the colours we choose to place around us can influence how we think and feel. Researchers at Wellesley College in the US have linked neural processes to colour. Another study by the University of British Columbia found the presence of red colours increased accuracy in participants’ work, while blue boosted their creativity.
These influences from colour are being recognised more and more, and not just in the office environment, but many different commercial spaces, such as retail outlets, cafes and restaurants, factories, hospitals, hotels, malls and more.
“The trends are quite different across the different interior spaces,” says Resene marketing manager Karen Warman, noting places like cafes typically exemplify trendier colours, in contrast to hospitals and public waiting areas that opt for longer-lasting colour schemes.
“For example, hospital waiting rooms often embrace the new blues and the new greens, but they are the more timeless colours that will still be fresh and clean in a few years’ time,” she says. “They tend to go for ‘evergreen’ options – the options that are new today but
in five years’ time they will still look current, and they tend to avoid anything that’s overly trend-driven because they know that it won’t last."
Colour contrast is one of the biggest changes we've seen in colour use, she says. “If you think back to the old days, hospitals or doctors' clinics were typically white, white and more white. It feels clean, but it also feels very sterile, and you don’t know where to look. It feels glary on the eyes and not particularly calming."
Another notable trend is embracing dark colours. “Dark greys, dark blues are popular and very on-trend and are easy to pair with anything,” Warman says. “You can take a dark grey, dress it up or dress it down, make it cool or make it warm, depending on what you put with it. Both are really versatile dark colours and being used in place of black.”
Elements traditionally found in a home environment appear to be expanding into public spaces – such as waiting rooms – and places that are usually quite sterile are incorporating colours that bring a sense of peace and tranquility.
"What we’ve really seen over the last few years is more calming colours come in, like the watery blues and watery greens – the kind of colours you might find in your lounge room at home,” says Warman.
“It’s very soothing, so if you have to sit in a waiting room it gives you something nice to look at, but you feel like you’re waiting at somebody’s home rather than waiting in the doctor’s office.”
Comparing present-day offices and homes to those 20 years ago, Warman says they are looking more and more alike. And by using similar materials to those found in a home, such as the increasing use of timber finishes, they’re achieving a similar feel.
It would seem in a business’ interest to make its environment feel like an extension of the home to its customers, as there are benefits for both parties.
“With the ageing population, people are visiting medical spaces more often than they ever had to in the past,” says Warman. “Because of that, these places are becoming more like spa retreats, the natural timbers, the soothing colour combinations – because they want you to feel relaxed and comfortable and they want you to stay.”