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The psychology of colour: multicolour

Martha Roberts, creator of The Colour File, investigates how colour makes us think, act and feel. This time, joyful multicolour

by Martha Roberts

Multicolour

3 minute read

There's nothing more visually pleasing than the colours of the rainbow alongside each other, evoking happy childhood memories in bright playrooms.

It’s often the simplest things in life that make us happiest and a rainbow is one of them. In a 2015 survey, rainbows came 28th in the top 50 things that made Brits feel great. Not only does multicolour cheer us up, it can land us the job of our dreams. Research found that one in five people credited wearing colourful clothing with landing a promotion.

Rainbows are synonymous with togetherness, and are the symbol of the cooperative movement in the German Peasants’ War in the 16th century and, more recently, the gay and LGBT pride movement. Alexandra Lees, wellbeing coach and feng shui design consultant, says: ‘Rainbow hues are symbolic of positivity, creativity and joy. They also help us connect with our inner child.’

However, she says that when it comes to decorating, some people worry about the saccharine effect of a full palette. ‘They may imagine a Disneyesque environment without restraint,’ she says.  

Kaleidoscopic challenge

Do multicolour in bite-sized chunks. ‘You can use multicolour in subtle ways,’ says Lees. ‘Add a splash of multicolour to your screensaver or fashion accessories.’

Wear secret multicolour. Introduce the rainbow covertly. ‘Multicolour lingerie will lift your mood in the workplace.’

Food colouring! Think beyond decor and start with what you eat. ‘Traditional Chinese medicine suggests a seasonal diet; add colour with fruit and veg.’

Energise your life. ‘For a career boost, focus on office space; for more pizzazz in romance, the bedroom. If the space is neutral, be playful with pops of vibrant multicolour in small additions,’ says Lees.

Find out more about Martha here.

Images: Martha Roberts

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