Saturday, 23 April 2016

A lesson in colour with Karen Haller, Ashlyn Gibson and Get Living London

Last week I went along to a slightly different blogging event - a masterclass on colour led by colour psychology expert Karen Haller. The event was held on behalf of Get Living London on behalf of their Make Yourself at Home Campaign. Get Living London rent out homes in London's East Village and encourage residents to be entirely creative with their homes - painting and decorating them as they wish. Of course the event was held in East Village in Olive Loves Alfie, a quirky family lifestyle shop stocking children's clothing, homeware, toys and books, run by Ashlyn Gibson.

Having just moved into my own flat in London six months ago I was keen to learn more about how I could decorate it. Admittedly I had never even heard of colour psychology before and didn't realise that decorations and colours in the home could sway our personalities.

Karen began the evening by giving an insightful talk about our personal relationships with colour. We had all been asked to bring along our favourite colour - which immediately was a challenge for me as I don't have a particular favourite! I admitted that in terms of clothing my favourite colours are bright reds and pinks, but in the home I prefer cool blues and pastel tones. Karen pointed out that this is probably because I like to give off a bright and energetic feel during the day, but at home I use my space to cool down and relax.

Most of the furniture in my flat is either white or duck-egg blue - and thinking back to when I bought it I am now wondering if these were spur of the moment decisions or if there was some kind of psychology in my colour choices?...

Karen highlighted three main triggers which affect our attitudes to colour - psychological, personal and cultural. Colour is often associated with experiences and meanings to our life, both positive and negative.

School uniform colours were a key example used on the night - did anyone else hate theirs? Mine was a dark mustard yellow colour and it's safe to say I have never worn it or used it in the home again. We were also told about a friend of Karen's who painted every room in her house green after going through a divorce, in the hopes it would make her feel uplifted, but it had the entire opposite effect and she ended up isolating herself. Similarly we were told that hints of red in an office or boardroom can promote discussion, but too much may cause heated debates and tension.

Colour is especially important with make-up. Make-up should complement a look and be part of an overall image - for example, Karen said that if a woman wears a bright led lipstick it should not look harsh or be the only thing a person sees when they look at them.

Next we were given a talk by Ashlyn Gibson, the owner of Olives Loves Alfie. Ashlyn talked us through some of the ways she has styled and decorated her homes over time and how she encourages others to be creative with photography. 

Ashlyn asked us to think of; a favourite or inspirational place, a person who means a lot to you, an object you cherish and your favourite cultural piece (such as a film or song), and use these answers as a tool-kit when starting home design. Ashlyn inspired me to make my home as personal as possible and fill it with photographs and objects.

We all got to take home a copy of Ashlyn's book Creative Family Home which I can't wait to look through! A huge thank you to Karen, Ashlyn and Get Living London for a fun and interesting evening!

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