COLOUR ME HAPPY

Paint schemes and light­ing can change how you work and feel

Vancouver Sun - - WEST­COAST HOMES - RE­BECCA KEILLOR

Stay­ing at home for any pro­longed length of time isn’t a nat­u­ral state for most peo­ple, and yet, around the world, this is cur­rently the new norm. Many of us are now work­ing from home, and con­tend­ing with fac­tors like ev­ery­one else in your house­hold sud­denly be­ing home with you, which can in­clude small chil­dren. Any phys­i­cal ad­just­ments we can make to our home en­vi­ron­ments to make them feel hap­pier, health­ier, calmer and more pro­duc­tive are worth hear­ing about.

Colour is a good place to start, says Jus­tine Fox, co-founder of Lon­don-based colour agency Calzada Fox, which spe­cial­izes in colour re­search and psy­chol­ogy.

You can use colour, along with light­ing, to draw you through the dif­fer­ent spa­ces in your home, says Fox. Vi­brant colour choices are a great op­tion for so­cial ar­eas of the home, she says, be­cause they make us feel lively, and sooth­ing, re­lax­ing colours are per­fect for bed­rooms.

“Be­cause I’m a colourist, peo­ple think that my house will be in­cred­i­bly colour­ful, but the space where I work is ac­tu­ally a su­per pale, pur­ple grey, al­most white, and it’s be­cause you don’t al­ways want that dis­trac­tion of so much in­ten­sity around you,” she says.

The dark blue shades that have been on trend re­cently are very im­mer­sive, says Fox, and though they work re­ally well in sen­sory de­pri­va­tion, or spa rooms, they can be­come “daunt­ing or de­press­ing ” if you’re sur­rounded by them for too long, so not ideal for home of­fices.

It’s all about get­ting the right shade of in­ten­sity, says Fox, so you get the ben­e­fits with­out it be­ing too much. Peo­ple have gone “a bit nuts” with the colour grey, over the last year, says Fox, paint­ing en­tire in­te­ri­ors in this colour.

“They must have been ex­hausted all the time be­cause it kind of drains all your en­ergy,” she says.

From a trends per­spec­tive, the paint in­dus­try is be­com­ing more colour­ful and vi­brant again, says Fox, which could be driven by a feel­ing of so­cial un­ease.

“It’s that wish for a bit of es­capism. A lot of peo­ple have been talk­ing about 2020 and re­lat­ing it to the 1920s, eco­nom­i­cally, and be­ing in a very sim­i­lar po­si­tion to what they were in then. Some of them pushed over into ut­ter deca­dence and you do see some of that com­ing through in colour, where peo­ple have that at­ti­tude that it’s all too much, so let’s just go a bit wild in things that don’t mat­ter so much,” she says.

In­tro­duc­ing colour in your home doesn’t mean you have to do a dra­matic ren­o­va­tion or even paint an en­tire room, says Fox.

“It can be the colour of some ac­ces­sories that give you a fo­cal point. Or sur­round­ing your­self with plants, as you’re get­ting the ben­e­fits of oxy­gen, and the green­ery it­self has a re­as­sur­ing, re­lax­ing and calm­ing ef­fect that sig­nals ev­ery­thing is all right,” she says.

Like many of us, Fox is presently work­ing from home, around the needs of her two chil­dren, and has just or­dered a “tiny” desk from Ikea to “shove into the cor­ner” of her bed­room for when she re­ally needs to con­cen­trate. Her usual rit­ual for tran­si­tion­ing into work mode, when work­ing from home, in­cludes clear­ing away all her fam­ily’s clut­ter and chang­ing the light­ing.

“I have colour-chang­ing light bulbs in our liv­ing room, so I can change the light to blue white, be­cause it’s re­ally en­er­giz­ing and it helps the cir­ca­dian rhythm,” she says.

The colour of the light­ing in your home is some­thing peo­ple don’t of­ten think about, says Fox, but it has a pro­found ef­fect on our mood and en­ergy lev­els.

The golden, am­ber light of early evening, she says, (repli­cated by the pop­u­lar ’20s style Edi­son bulbs) tells the body it’s time to wind down and re­lax, so this isn’t al­ways the best light for a home of­fice.

In the last few years, peo­ple have be­come more aware of the ef­fect of the blue light given off by our tech de­vices (phones, ipads etc.) says Fox, which keeps us awake (as it repli­cates the bluish white light of mid­day).

“Peo­ple are us­ing it later and later into the night, and it’s mess­ing up their sys­tems, so they’re eat­ing more — hence the obe­sity and di­a­betes — but also it’s im­pact­ing our sleep, which is in­creas­ing men­tal health is­sues,” she says.

COMEX PPG

The colours you choose for your liv­ing and work spa­ces can af­fect your mood and en­ergy lev­els, ex­perts say.

Jus­tine Fox

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