Is color psychology changing the way we decorate? The new wellness trend taking over our homes

Designers respond to the scientific movement – and share how to spark positivity through paint

Little Greene ceiling
(Image credit: Little Greene)

Color psychology – the study of hues and their relationship to our wellbeing – has seen a sharp increase in recent seasons. But this color trend shows no signs of slowing down.

A recent investigation* reported a 215.78% rise in Google searches for color psychology – meaning the movement will continue to make waves in the interiors industry long into 2022.  

'There is an ever-growing recognition that interiors color choices directly impact the atmosphere of the space they inhabit and the energy of those that experience them,' explains Jean Frédéric Nothomb, founder of the Parisian paint label Argile.

Colorful painted room with bright tones

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Color psychology certainly isn't going away. So, we sat down with the individuals who are responsible for reshaping paint ideas to discuss their reactions to the movement. And science meets design; the experts have a lot to say. 

Why has the interest increased?  

'Over the past year, we have all had a chance to reflect on what's important in life: health, wellbeing, and our environment have certainly moved to the forefront in people's minds,' explains the Creative Director at Little Greene, Ruth Mottershead. 

'The renewed interest in color psychology is a natural extension of that desire to surround ourselves with colors that elicit a positive feeling,' she adds. 

Colorful painted room with bright tones

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Should we follow color psychology? 

Color psychology has emerged as one of the biggest interior design trends – but do the paint experts recommend joining the color revolution?

'Rather than following trends, it's important to choose colors and patterns that speak to you, be that to make you feel happy and energized or tranquil and serene, your color choices should feel personal to you,' Ruth says. 

And, while different colors speak to different people, the trend is fueling the desire to uncover the tones that make your happiest, as Ruth suggests: 'We are seeing that people are really recognizing that the colors they choose to surround themselves with are key to determining how a space will make them feel.'

Colorful painted room with bright tones

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Color and Paint Expert Annie Sloan agrees with Ruth – suggesting you should only choose tones that evoke personal emotion – rather than what you should like. 

'Color psychology is a flawed concept because color is a deeply personal thing,' Annie says. 'It's far better to look at colors in terms of whether they're active and dynamic or serene and calming, as these traits are less subjective.'

Which tones do the experts recommend?  

As Annie and Ruth suggest, your reaction to color is highly personal. However, these are the shades that are most likely to provoke joy throughout your interiors. 

'Use bright, bold, active colors in social spaces like kitchens or living rooms and calming, earth-toned shades in bathrooms and bedrooms,' Annie suggests. 'A color clash will always put me in a good mood because it feels cheeky, daring, and mischievous and heightens the qualities of each color to fabulous effect.'

Plus, Jean recommends turning to colors that derive from nature for their calm and tranquil qualities. However, 'this goes beyond having a blue bedroom.' 

Colorful painted room with bright tones

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'It's depth, subtlety, and texture is what allows you to truly experience the color [that surrounds you],' they explain. 

Will science fuel your next paint project? We expect this wellness trend will be big news for the seasons ahead. 

*Google Trends study by MyJobQuote.

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.