Grey, beige, eggshell – when people name their favourite colours, these hues rarely get a mention, yet they overwhelmingly fill our homes. Why is that? A fear of colours has a name – chronophobia – and architects and designers link it to a fear of making a choice, especially a choice that has a sense of permanence.
This fear or uncertainty is reinforced every time we visit a friend’s home or an office space, decorated in the same neutral colours.
Neutral tones are calming, but colour is energising, with a proven uplifting effect on our moods. Colour is bold. Colour is vibrant. And if you love colour – in nature, in your clothing, in art – don't be afraid of adding a pop of colour to your home. Here are five ways to get started.
If you love the idea of a little colour, but feel your chronophobia kicking in, start outside and start with something simple. Hang a brightly coloured birdhouse in a favourite tree. Paint an outdoor bench or chair in a striking colour, like a red or a blue. Or make an impact by painting your front door. There are thousands of hues to choose from, from bold statements to something more whimsical.
Tip: Our paint matching service can match the colour of almost any flat, dry sample.
Once you’ve added your pop of colour, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it attract your eye and brighten your mood? Would you prefer something a little more subtle? Take that information with you as you look to introduce colour to the inside of your home.
It does take practice to become comfortable with colour, so start small. Vibrant artwork, bright flowers, patterned throw pillows and colourful candles are inexpensive ways to share a space with colour before committing to it.
Also, think about how you use a particular space. Your kitchen (lively and inviting) will likely have a different mood to your bedroom (restful and relaxing), for example, and your colour choice should complement that. You want your space to reflect your personality, as this will make you feel most at home.
Still feeling nervous about colour commitment? Trust that nature knows best. Choose your favourite colour and temper it to a hue you’d find in nature. For example: rust instead of red; forest green instead of turquoise; dusky rose instead of pink. You’ll still be infusing your home with colour, but they will be more familiar colours, and a starting point for something more striking.
A good way to energise a space is to brighten something big. The next step in becoming comfortable with colour is to choose a prominent piece of furniture – a wardrobe, cabinet or table – and create a brand-new statement piece with a fresh coat of paint.
Feature walls and floors can transform a room, creating a look and feel that’s uniquely yours. Although it might seem like a big step, this D.I.Y. project is inexpensive and impermanent – if you don’t like it, you can always paint over it, choosing a different colour.
For floor spaces, consider painting floor tiles in the bathroom or laundry as a starting point. It’s more cost-effective than re-tiling, and a great way to liven up a well-used space.
Feeling bold? Ready to let your personality shine through? There is a world of specialist paints to explore, from lustrous gold finishes, to shimmering effects (like pearl, metallic and glitter), to showroom-style epoxy finishes for garage floors.
Painting is a great way for beginners and experts alike to hone their D.I.Y. skills. Check out our series of articles to get you painting, and then head in-store to browse our wide range of paints and paint accessories.
Photo credit: Sue Stubbs and Belinda Merrie.