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How to swing your mood by using particular shades in your home

  • Baker-Miller pink is renowned for its soothing qualities
  • TV star Kendall Jenner is a fan of the shade which is said to also suppress appetite
  • So which other shades will have a calming effect on your home? 

Do you have a mindful space in your home? Well apparently, you should.

Mindfulness is fast becoming more fashionable than the latest home technologies — and that bastion of high-end retail, Heal’s, has been hosting sell-out mindfulness workshops in its Tottenham Court Road store in London.

Calming tones: Pale green, like this shade from Little Greene, is said to promote relaxation

Calming tones: Pale green, like this shade from Little Greene, is said to promote relaxation

Fitting then, that experts at Pantone chose a colour of the year that is ‘a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade’ associated with spirituality and mindfulness.

We take it for granted that colour can affect our mood, especially in the home. Pale greens and blues are meant to promote relaxation and feelings of tranquility. Bright, bold reds and oranges are cheering and stimulating.

The model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner announced last year that she had painted her living room wall Baker-Miller pink.

She explained why to her tens of millions of Instagram followers. It seems some friends had told her that ‘Baker-Miller pink is the only colour scientifically proven to calm you AND suppress your appetite. I was like, “I NEED this colour in my house!”.’ 

In the pink: TV star Kendall Jenner uses the powers of 'Baker-Miller' pink in her home

In the pink: TV star Kendall Jenner uses the powers of 'Baker-Miller' pink in her home

This might not be quite so daft as it sounds. The pacific properties of Baker-Miller pink were once renowned. 

In 1978, Alexander Schauss, a U.S. scientist researching the possible effects of colour on strength, suggested that painting cells pink might have a calming effect on detainees.

Two officers at the U.S. Naval Correctional Centre in Seattle, Washington, put this to the test and had a cell used for holding new inmates painted a shade of pink and later reported that incidences of violence had stopped. 

Now the internet is awash with the full spectrum of ‘colour psychologists’, all promising to explain exactly how hues can be used in interior design to increase productivity, promote harmony, spark passion and so on.

Certainly those in the decor industry are convinced. 

Perky pink: Will walls painted in a Baker-Miller like pink have a soothing affect on your home?

Perky pink: Will walls painted in a Baker-Miller like pink have a soothing affect on your home?

‘The colours used to decorate the home can absolutely affect people’s moods and the purpose of a space should always be taken into consideration,’ says Farrow & Ball colour consultant Joa Studholme.

‘Like music, colour has an effect at both a conscious and sub-conscious level. It has the capacity to transform a room beyond all recognition and change the mood within that space.’

Ruth Mottershead, at the Little Greene paint company, says: ‘I think that if you use, say, greens and blues in a room, they are likely to evoke feelings of calmness and serenity because we associate those colours with the sea and the countryside and we’re happy with being in a natural environment.’

Yet the scientific evidence is far from conclusive. Red — probably the colour on which most work has been done — does seem to confer a competitive advantage on sports teams in red kit (England wore red, of course, when winning the World Cup in 1966) and appears to make women wearing it more attractive. 

But it doesn’t necessarily follow that painting the bedroom red will guarantee nights of unbridled, athletic passion.

The blues: Our perception of blue has changed over centuries. Now we think of shades like Stiffkey by Farrow and Ball as cool, but in the Middle Ages blue was considered a hot hue

The blues: Our perception of blue has changed over centuries. Now we think of shades like Stiffkey by Farrow and Ball as cool, but in the Middle Ages blue was considered a hot hue

Kassia St Clair, author of The Secret Lives Of Colour, points out the problems.

‘Oranges and yellows are seen as energetic and warm, but do we perceive them that way because that’s what we’re told? Today, blue is considered the archetypal cool shade, but in the Middle Ages it was thought of as a hot hue.

‘Our ideas can shift over time. We’re not sure what the active agent is: the colour itself or what we associate with it.’

In other words, the psychological effect of different shades is still a grey area. 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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