Colour means a lot more to us than literal chromatic shifts across the light spectrum. As humans, we associate different colours with different moods – in the West, red means anger or danger, and deep purple means royalty. Meanwhile in China, red means prosperity and in Thailand, Brazil and Italy, purple is associated with mourning. The meanings of colour change across the world but its ability to shape our mood and the way we move through the world is universal.
So it's no wonder that people are both subconsciously and deliberately using the psychological impact of colour to bring calm, contentment and joy at the moment. In the world of fashion this has been dubbed 'dopamine dressing' but it doesn't need to be reserved for outfits. You can apply the same logic of dopamine dressing to your home.
Bernay Laity, a colour consultant and applied colour psychologist with Philip Martyn, tells R29 that she has noticed certain colours which she associates with uplifting and soothing our moods becoming increasingly popular in interiors recently. Various outlets have promoted brighter, bolder palettes but people are actually seeking "softer, muted colours. In particular: violet, a pale grey green and a pale light grey blue, and also a warm orange pink."
At first glance, dopamine dressing seems to suggest going for bolder colours as many of us associate bright colours with happiness. Laity suggests however that setting softer, more soothing colours in contrast to brighter accents is a way to lift your mood without overwhelming the space.
So if you are seeking to breathe new life into a space, reinvigorate your home or just bring a touch of calm and happiness to your surroundings, we've pulled together the shades that Laity and Valspar, together with colour psychology expert Justine Fox, have selected as a baseline to elevate your mood. Whether you're going for a complete room overhaul or a couple of accessories, these shades all work beautifully in concert to gently enliven a space, and provide a perfect backdrop to bolder, brighter shades.