How to use colour to spark joy

Spreading interior cheer

Joy can come in many forms. And right now, we’ll take all the joy we can find. Joy is tipped to be a major theme of 2021 in a bid to brighten the national mood, and we’re seeing a surge of bright colours emerge in fashion and interiors already. 
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The joy of colour

After years of Scandi minimalism dominating interiors, colour is set to make a serious comeback in 2021.

We’re seeing in fashion and interiors that people are instinctively reaching for bolder and livelier hues to wash away the misery of the past 12 months and signal a brighter future ahead.

And while we can’t control the world outside, we can choose to change our clothes, homes and surroundings in ways that elevate our mood and positively impact our mental health.

Colour can evoke memories, stir strong feelings and create a tangible impact on how we feel, behave and respond to situations.

So, it’s no surprise many of us feel the urge to shed our inhibitions and embrace the power of colour this year.

Which colours make you happy?

Many colours can spark joy in your home, and it can be a personal experience. However, here are a few colours scientifically proven to promote feelings of happiness, so you can use these as a starting point to embark on your odyssey to bring colour into your home or workspace.


Famously, yellow is associated with positivity, closely linked to the sun’s power to bring warmth, energy and spontaneity into your life.

Said to spark all the senses, yellow is connected to laughter and hope: two things we need plenty of in 2021.


Evoking nature, the colour green is said to relax you and improve focus and concentration. Creating feelings of optimism, health and calmness, green brings balance and security when used successfully in interiors.


Orange represents vitality, energy and happiness. Striking and bold, it’s a balanced alternative to red.

Frank Sinatra declared orange to be the happiest colour, and it undoubtedly has uplifting and healing powers, as well as being the most creative colour.


Pink symbolises hope, youth and health, introducing calming energy when we wear it or surround ourselves with it.

Provoking a sense of acceptance and nurturing, pink can be a comforting and tranquil presence in your home.


The colour of the sea and sky, blue is a calm, cool choice for your home and signifies trust, serenity and strength.

While bluey-green sparks creativity, darker blues can bring feelings of calm and wisdom to your home.

Choosing the right colour for you

Of course, colour is a highly personal experience to the individual, and while one colour may be joyous to some, it can have negative associations for others.

Your home or workplace is your domain, so you should listen to your instincts and select the colours you feel yourself naturally gravitating towards to unlock your happiness.

Identifying moments of intrinsic happiness and nostalgia in your life can lead you to choose specific colours that will impact your own version of interior joy.

How to use colour in your home or workspace

While yellow is undoubtedly one of the most cheerful colours to bring into your home, many people may be afraid to go the whole hog, and a little can go a long way.

Pairing yellow with neutrals like grey can allow it to shine through without taking over and create a pleasing balance in your home.

For its annual Colour of the Year, Pantone has chosen both Ultimate Gray and a yellow named Illuminating, signifying the power of contrasting elements.

Illuminating is a bright, vivacious yellow that pairs beautifully with Ultimate Gray, evoking feelings of nature and resilience.

Speaking about the combination, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute, said: “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted - this is essential to the human spirit.”

Meanwhile, blue is a powerful colour to introduce to your home office or bathroom to invoke creativity or calming influences. A versatile colour, blue can look phenomenal with yellow, pink, green, white, grey or gold. There are so many hues to choose from; it’s all about finding a shade that resonates with you and makes you feel good.

While it can feel like a bold choice, orange can make for a joyful, cosy home environment or a creative choice for your workspace. Play it subtle with grey or white or match it with bluey-turquoise tones for a bolder impact. However, moderation is key, as overusing orange can induce anxiety and suppress creativity.

Tips for adding pops of colour to your surroundings

If you’re new to colour or you’re reluctant to repaint an entire room in bright pinks or deep greens, there are of course lots of subtler ways to incorporate colour into your home.

Many of these tricks can also help you update a rental property or workspace without repainting or redecorating.

Try painting a single wall first, or try a colour out by investing in cushions, lamps, rugs or bedding in your chosen hue.

Brightly coloured appliances and painted cabinets can update your kitchen beautifully, while vibrant artwork is a fantastic way to introduce livelier colours into your home in a less committal way.

Colourful furniture can transform a room, and you can start with smaller pieces until you gain confidence and identify the colours that elevate your mood. Reupholstering chairs or sofas in a bold fabric not only brightens up a space, but it’s also a sustainable way to update your home without being wasteful.

If you love green, filling your home with vibrant plants can revitalise a space without investing in new furniture or repainting walls. Plus, plants' benefits go way beyond the aesthetics, bringing energy and vitality to your surroundings.

Will you be adding stronger colours to your home or workspace this year? Which colours will you choose and why?

written by
Franky Rousell

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