utumn has well and truly arrived – but for some of us, it’s Autumn all year round. At least, that’s the theory of theColour Affects System, a super interesting branch of colour psychology. This System is connected to the four temperaments identified by the Greek physician and philosopher Galen, and has been further developed by psychologist Angela Wright. Wright famously revolutionised colour theory when she identified the links between patterns of colour and patterns of human behaviour. Wright asserts that all colours can be classified into one of four tonal groups, each of which correlates to a basic personality type. These personalities are divided into seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Once you identify your colour personality – and therefore your season – colour selection becomes so much easier, in every area of your life. In particular, harnessing this knowledge about personality classification and colour seasons can transform your approach to colour within interiors. It forms part of the analysis I carry out with my clients, to help them understand their natural colour affinities. These “labels” help everyone to really understand and embrace the shades and styles they are instinctively drawn to.
The power of knowledge
We are all affected by colour psychologically. But it’s important to realise that there are no “good” or “bad” colours per se. There are no absolutes in the universe. The key lies with the way in which each colour is used. Colour personalities are also present in fashion, although for this sector, seasons and shades are based more on skin undertone, eye colour and hair colour. The (Angela) Wright Theory focuses on psychological responses, and how the combination of colours triggers this response.
The Colour Affects system removes the guesswork from choosing a colour palette. Once you identify your personality type, you can focus on the corresponding colour season. Happily, all the colours within each season are compatible with each other. In other words, there is a pre-selected palette which you can combine in any way you like. No more painful procrastination or prevarication! Knowing your colour personality and season gives you a fantastic framework to work within. It enables you to make key decisions about interiors much faster, with much more confidence.
Different personalities suit certain specific colours. There are four key types – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – each of which have a natural affinity to the corresponding seasonal colour palettes
A study in Spring
The Spring colour personality type is friendly, outgoing, caring and optimistic. Just like the season itself – which symbolises rebirth and reinvention after the long, dark months of Winter – Spring personalities are energetic and motivated. They like everything to be bright, shiny and new. This personality also enjoys entertaining. They are usually perfect hosts, which reflects the way they like to arrange their homes.
The corresponding Spring colour palette is clear, clean and fresh: think delicate colours (no black), with a warm, yellow base. Spring personalities love nature, and often incorporate it into their interiors, favouring jars of fresh flowers and fern-like plants. Modern, light, open interiors, featuring pale/painted furniture with clean lines tends to suit. Bold prints and smooth, shiny surfaces also work well within this aesthetic.
The Summer colour personality is cool, calm and collected, especially when compared with its Spring counterpart. Sensitive and creative, they appreciate order and balance. Summer personalities are witty, yet restrained: think subtle, serene and self-possessed. They do not tend to enjoy primary colours, preferring cooler shades with grey-blue undertones, which are delicate but not necessarily light. Traditional, understated, elegant interiors appeal to the Summer personality. Soft, floating fabrics and patterns, symmetry and muted shades are key characteristics to embrace. Nothing too showy – always aim for discretion.
Summer personalities lean towards elegant, understated interiors that feature cool, subtle shades. We used cool, grey-blue tones for this Victorian house in Chiswick, adding interest with pops of colour, but keeping things calm and contemporary throughout
An analysis of Autumn
As you’d expect from a season associated with such intense shades of red and orange, rich, golden hues associated with the earth, but often set against deep blues attracts the Autumn colour personality. They tend to be intense, inquisitive and external things motivate them, unafraid to take charge and get things done. The Autumn colour palette is rich, fiery and offbeat, with warm tones. These personalities enjoy cosy interiors, and prioritise making their living environment feel homely, warm and inviting. They feel a strong connection with nature, so materials such as wood, cotton and jute will suit. Autumn colour personalities appreciate mixing beautiful elegant objects with rustic finishes that showcase craftsmanship and quality.
The wonder of Winter colour personalities
The final colour personality, Winter, oozes leadership and authority. People from this group are perfectionists, highly efficient and forward-thinking. They need a sense of space within their homes, free from clutter, so less is definitely more when it comes to interiors for these clients.
Winter interiors should be strong and bold, with very light or very dark colours. Modern monochrome is the perfect colour palette, as showcased here by this High Street Kensington penthouse
Winter personalities need clarity and precision, so the Winter colour palette of primary colours, with its strong contrasts between pure hues will ideally suit them. Winter colours are cold, and are either very light, very dark or very intense. Imagine surrounding yourself with an icy blue or cold grey sky, with accents of black, red and dark blue. Interestingly, Winter is the only personality where a main colour is black. Winter interiors should be bold and bright. Mix striking geometric patterns with luxury furnishings and textures to create a clear and strong design statement.
Once you have identified your colour personality, it’s easy to understand how important it is for your home to reflect and support your inherent preferences. Fads and fashions come and go, and should not be the priority when embarking on any major redecoration or renovation project. Focus instead on using colour psychology to identify your season, and create an interior that complements perfectly on the outside how you feel on the inside.
Keen to find out more about how colour psychology and the Colour Affects System could transform your home? Please get in touch to find out more about the design services we offer, or to book a consultation.
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