For the past couple of months working alongside one of my clients Get Living London (GLL), which rents and manages homes in East Village E20, we’ve been looking at how people in Britain use colour in their homes to promote GLL’s unique offering of allowing their residents to paint and decorate their homes.
In recent years, there’s been a trend towards white washed walls and neutrals. Whilst these plain palettes may be easy on the eye, white washing our homes may in fact be stripping away our personality.
GLL and I wanted to see if this really was the case so we carried out some research and found the vast majority of Brits play it safe when it comes to painting or putting colour in their homes, despite believing their well being would be improved if they dared to be more adventurous.
The stats supported what we had thought. When it comes to home owners and renters they revealed:
95% of Brits are too scared to go all out with colour so aren’t painting their homes*
3 in 5 agree that changing up their home colours has the potential to improve their wellbeing*
64% want more colour on their walls*
Those who seem most hard done by are renters where 72% are craving more colour in their home*
Armed with these findings off I went to wise buddha studios in Soho, London for a morning of radio interviews.
I love doing radio interviews especially with the regional stations as it feels like you’re just having a chat with your favourite uncle.
Here’s a brief extract of just some of the topics what we chatted about.
Why have neutral colours become so popular in recent years?
I fell this was down to two main reasons:
We see it everywhere, influenced by TV shows and magazines so we are influenced by what we see and
Underlying all of this is that sadly, most of us don’t trust our own instinct, and often find ourselves being influenced by everyone else.
Which shows up in the research stats that 95% of Brits are too scared to put lots of colour in their home*
The common perception that neutral colours are calming, is this correct?
It is commonly perceived that white, grey are calming. They can be if they resonate with your personality.
But if they don’t then white can set people on edge, finding themselves unable to relax and whilst grey is often thought of as having a relaxing effect, what it’s more often than not doing is draining energy where people feel tired and lethargic.
Why are Brits largely unadventurous when it comes to painting their homes?
It is surprising given we all loved colour as children. Somewhere along the way we’ve lost touch with our own innate colour instincts and in place of that let ourselves be influenced by others.
I believe we are experiencing the rebound effect from a decade of designing and living in monotone white, grey and beige and there’s definitely a renewed interest, a renewed passion for colour not only for individuals, but with designers and the big brands.
It’s as simple as trusting our own instincts and reconnecting to the colours we love.
What is the relationship between colour and our well being?
Colour is more than just a visual, something we think of as pretty. Colour influences our feelings and behaviours on a mental, emotional and physical level.
We only have to think of how happy and positive we feel when the sun is shining and how we just want to hibernate and feel a bit miserable when the sky is grey.
We can create positive feelings of wellbeing in our home, workplace and the clothes we wear through our colour choices.
We saw by from the stats that 3 in 5 Brits admitted colour can have an impact on their wellbeing.
Colour which is something so fundamental to our lives, is so much more than just a fashion choice.
What are your tips for renters to make their homes more colourful, particularly those who may be restricted in terms of decorating?
Renters especially in the UK, often get a rough deal when it comes to colour choice – it’s usually magnolia or magnolia, the developers and landlord’s favourite. And not just in one room, it’s slapped on every wall, floor to ceiling, in every room which over time just ends up irritating most people.
The first thing I suggest is to ask your landlord if you can repaint. After all happy tenants are far more likely to stay long term which means fewer void periods for the landlord. And the landlord would need to repaint every 3-5 years anyhow.
Advice I’ve given renters before especially those who really don’t like the colour of their walls and aren’t able to repaint is to break up the huge expanse of single colour so it’s not so imposing. Large pictures, prints or a mirror, book shelves, large plants etc. and in doing this starts to introduce the colours they want to be surrounded with.
However, more and more landlords are now starting to realise that the colour of someone’s rooms can have a really big impact on their well being and sense of feeling at home. Which is why I think it’s so great that Get Living London encourage their renters at East Village E20, to decorate and paint – creating a sense of belonging, helping them feel more at home, able to express their personality and creating the best environment for their well being. Why shouldn’t renters feel just as at home as home owners.
Over to you
I’ve created a fun colour quiz with Get Living London to encourage people to experiment and have fun using colour in their home.
I took the quiz myself and came out as sunny yellow!
I’d love to know your colour. Pop it in the comments box below.
*Any stats must be cited as Get Living London/Karen Haller 2016
Images: Karen Haller & Get Living London
Part of our #MakeYourselfAtHome campaign