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Edition 10

Using colour to create calmness



Do you suffer from too much pressure, stress and never being able to unwind properly? If yes, then it’s perhaps the time to alter the colour scheme in your home to something a little more tranquil and relaxing, writes Kate Smith.

Colour therapists have known for decades that colour affects mood and provokes physiological reactions. Being surrounded by a peaceful, calming colour therefore could certainly make you feel that life is more under control and you are a little more serene.

For this reason alone, blue or lavender is often found in bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s also a good tone to have in an office, as it’s believed cool colours make us more productive. In fact, it’s a colour which tends to be favoured by quiet, intellectual and reserved people and is thought to be one of the easiest colours to live with.

Light blue should be blended with medium and darker shades to provide balance in a room of blue hues but the predominant colour should be light rather than dark blue. Brighter blues could be added with cushions, watercolour prints and vases.

Other ways to create more peaceful  surroundings in your home include:

Keep contrast to a minimum

The light brown and aqua drape and pillows in this contemporary living room provide a contrast which isn’t too overwhelming. Since the patterns use two colours that are in subtle contrast to one another and each are light shades of their respective colours the room feels both fresh and calming.

Calmness in the bedroom 1Using light pastel blue, aqua or even green with neutrals or other colours that are does not create high contrast but will create a space that feels calming, relaxed and serene overall.

Decorating in predominately light, cool colours such as light blue, aqua, and lavender or light neutrals and use warmer colours more sparingly.

A child’s bedroom with its walls and drapes in aqua has a light, airy feel. The buttery yellow, white together with light carpet keep the feeling upbeat and youthful.

Downplay pattern and texture on fabrics, floors and wall coverings.

The pattern in this room is on the accessories rather than main pieces. Even then the subtler patterns are made up of lighter shades of blue and tan. This addition of patterns adds a bit of vigour to the room without being too energetic. It is a nice touch when placed against the more muted and neutral shades of light blue and cream.

soothing blue shades in the bedroomA monochromatic colour scheme is often used to create a tranquil retreat.

How restful does this bedroom look with its soothing blue shades in a monochromatic palette?


Kate Smith is Chief Colour Maven and President of Sensational Color, a company that develops colour information to help you confidently select colours for your home. As an internationally recognised colour expert, author and speaker, Kate has been regularly quoted in major media outlets and is a favorite as an on-air guest and speaker at top design conferences and trade shows worldwide. Together with Duracoat, Kate has been working in East Africa to provide guidance on how to create colour harmony in your home.