Have you ever heard of color psychology?
The London Image Institute defines color psychology as a facet of color theory that assigns emotional and psychological connotations between colors and emotions. Although most of these feelings and emotions are universal, it’s important to keep in mind that some are cultural, like the Scandinavian color palette.
The 2021 Pantone Color of the Year is PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, which they describe as, “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” Notice that this description includes a feeling.
We’ve written time and time again about Scandinavian design principles that reflect a less-is-more, minimalist approach. Their furniture and decor boast clean, sharp lines and high-quality, trustworthy material that lasts a lifetime. Much like your favorite Stressless recliner actually! Well, this minimalistic, low-fuss lifestyle is also reflected in the typical Scandinavian color palette of landscape-type colors like forest green, pale blue, and greys and whites. Scandinavians value feelings of sincerity, openness and positivity.
It’s easy to see how a bright yellow like PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating can elicit a feeling. One glance at the color makes you feel like you can take on the world!
“Hold on. How exactly are these muted tones of Scandinavian browns and beiges supposed to make me feel beautiful and inspired?” Good question, we’re so glad you asked! We’re here to break down some of the colors you’ll typically see in a Scandinavian home, how they’ll make you feel and how to incorporate them into your home and decor.
Green is often the first color that comes to mind when one thinks of the great outdoors. That’s why it gives a calming, optimistic, fresh vibe to the room. It’s also the most vibrant color we’re discussing today, so it’s best used as an accent color. Search for some green throw pillows or flower vases to brighten up your living room decor. The best part is that you can also use plants to really tie in that natural, minimalistic feel while honoring the outdoors.
Another key color found in nature, brown is known as the softer, warmer mood of the outdoors. It gives off feelings of warmth, comfort, and security. Although brown doesn’t sound like the most fun color to add to your personal color palette, it can actually be used in quite sophisticated ways. Think neutral-toned materials and textures: linen, burlap, corduroy, wood, etc. The color brown incorporates quite naturally into a home with minimal effort. Think of a linen bedsheet set or an all-natural wooden breakfast table.
The color blue is often known to inspire, while making those in its presence feel serenity and sincerity. Due to its calming properties, blue is a fantastic color for spaces in your home where you want people to feel rested and relaxed. Turn your bathroom into an oasis of zen by threading the color into your towel set or shower curtain. Make it a little easier to wind down in your bedroom with blue throw blankets or a watercolor painting.
Although white is technically the absence of color, it’s a cornerstone of the minimalistic design scheme. It connotes purity, innocence and cleanliness and often makes rooms look larger than they actually are. It gives off the concept of space. If you’re looking to open up smaller spaces in your home, think about painting the walls white or making the curtains and couches a bright white color.
We’re rarely aware of the way colors make us feel, but they’re all around us, so maybe it’s time to stop and think about what you’re feeling and why! If you also value openness, transparency, and sincerity, you don’t have to go all the way to Norway to find those feelings. That’s the beauty of colors, they can inspire you wherever you go.