Colour Psychology: Using Teal in Interiors

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL workspace

This series continues to be the most popular of all the posts here on the blog and I have the wonderful applied colour psychology expert Karen Haller to thank for that. In each installment I interrogate Karen about how we can and should be using various colours in our interior design schemes. As teal was announced earlier this year by Dulux as the Colour of the Year for 2014, I thought it only fitting that this particular colour gets examined here on the blog this time around.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who would appreciate some expert advice on using this colour in our homes. Luckily we have Karen on hand as our personal colour consultant to guide us through its use.

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 Sea Urchin 1 

Earlier this year, Dulux announced that teal was its colour of the year for interiors for 2014. What was your reaction to this?

KH. Teal, and specifically the Dulux Sea Urchin 1 (Teal 90GG19/151 P0.20.40), was the colour predicated following extensive research over 18 months by a panel of global colour and trend experts. Dulux picked this specific tone as they felt it most strongly resonates with the mood of the moment.

Given the ongoing worry about the socio-economic issues we are currently experiencing here in the UK, this can be unsettling. This tone represents balance, calm, and soothing whilst also being restorative and rejuvenating – perfect for these unsettled, uncertain times.

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL office

According to Dulux, the overriding mood of the moment for 2014 is the unlocking of the potential that surrounds us. How does teal fit into this?

KH. Every year, ColourFuturesTM presents one dominant idea which inspired us to create the five colour trends. This idea influences each of the trends in a different way but also holds them together with a single concept that determines what the most pivotal hue, The Colour of the Year, will be.

We are in a time of great change and in order to capitalise on new and exciting opportunities we must understand who we are and how we fit into the new order of things. By looking afresh at what we have, we can unlock the potential that surrounds us. This applies to countries, businesses and individuals. Every home, office, school or factory has huge potential if you just know how to unlock the space and the ideas within.

The mood of the moment has a great effect on the type of colours that are popular and for 2014 we see a world in search of answers, which provides us with an open and exciting palette of colours lead by the most popular of all, teal! The cool and contemplative colour area of teal really captures the feeling of reflection and focus but its ambiguous position between blue and green shows that we’re not quite sure who we are just yet.

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL

For many people teal has come to symbolize balance. Why do you think this is?

KH. Teal is a combination of blue and green. They are the two colours (light wavelengths) for which our eyes require little to no adjusting; we translate this to mean balance and restful.

What are the main positive psychological properties of teal?

KH. Blue positively communicates feelings of tranquillity and calm, whilst green positively evokes feelings of peace and balance.

Teal is a great colour to use where you wish to relax and unwind – to regain balance and equilibrium after a hectic busy day.

Dulux colour of the Year 20Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL accent wall14 TEAL accent wall

How can we best harness the positive attributes of teal in our interior design schemes?

KH. If you love it and it feels right for you then use it. Teal (like any colour) comes in many different tones so go with the one you love.

Sea Urchin 1 is a lighter tone but you may like to go for a darker shade if that suits you better. Remember lighting will play a major impact on how you see colour so make sure you view the colour at various times of the day and against the artificial light sources you’ll be using so you can see how the colour will look.

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL Doorway

What other colours do you suggest we use with teal and why do they work so well? 

KH. With Sea Urchin 1 as this is a warm blue tone, this teams well with other warm hues such as coral, mustard, nude pink, burnt orange, russet reds, ivory white, and warm earthy brown tones.

Whichever tone of teal you go for, pick the colour tones that resonate with your personality, those you are instinctively drawn to. This means they’ll have a positive impact on how you feel and how you behave in your own home.

Likewise, which colours should not be used in conjunction with teal?

KH. Any colour when you put them together jars or feels it’s just not looking right. For example put a cold acid yellow with a warm teal and they will jar. It’s like hearing a wrong note in a piece of music. But if that’s the feel you are going for… then go for it.

Dulux colour of the Year Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL Livingroom2014 TEAL Livingroom

Are there any rooms in the house that particularly lend themselves to teal? If so why?

KH. Teal is a great colour to use when you wish to relax and unwind – to regain balance and equilibrium after a hectic busy day. Think of using it in rooms such as the living areas, library space, bedroom (teenager/adults). Think about using it in the bathroom to create that restorative, rejuvenating spa-like feel.

Dulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL kitchen

What are your top tips for using teal successfully in residential interiors?

KH. You don’t have to paint every wall in teal. Too much of one colour can create an overwhelming feeling. Sometimes all you need is a splash of colour to give the space a lift, to change the mood of a space. So consider proportion in combination with the rest of your colour palette, placement and application, where that’s gloss, satin, matt etc.

Teal is also coming through in interior accessories so something as simple as scatter cushions on your sofa, a colourful kettle in the kitchen or a lamp in the living room can instantly change the mood of a room and how it makes you feel.

If it doesn’t feel right, then play with the proportions, combinations and placement until it feels right for you.

Enjoy experimenting with colour!

Dulux colour of the YearDulux colour of the Year 2014 TEAL seating area 2014 TEAL seating area

I would like to thank Karen once again for being so kind as to take part in this series of interviews. As always her input is invaluable for the many readers of The Design Sheppard who really appreciate her expert opinion and input.  A couple of weeks ago Rebecca Thompson, Dulux Senior Colour Consultant, and Karen spent a day on the radio talking about Dulux Colour of the Year and colour psychology. To read more about that head on over to Karen’s blog.