Colour is energy that surrounds us in every aspect of our lives. Our auras and bodies are no different. Colour is wired into the very fibre of our being and, likewise, our environment, planet and universe. So it makes sense that the colour of our homes, clothes, artwork, food and nature affects us in different ways.
Each chakra energy centre in our body is associated with colour and while fairly consistent, even these vary according to myriad philosophies. (For more on chakras, read last month’s article ‘What are Chakras and How do Colours Affect Them’). As designers at Serenvida, we use every hue, tint, shade, tone and value of colour in our work, but also focus on 14 key colours based on our holistic learning, mentors and experience.
Amongst the 14, white is on the agenda in this feature. For many it seems a non-colour and yet it encompasses all the colours in the spectrum (physics). White is most commonly associated with the crown chakra and higher levels, though it can be used all over the body for its protective effects. While it represents purity, clarity, organisation and crispness, it also brings in strength, uplifts and is effective for pollution cleansing or space clearing – personal, interior or exterior. It is a whisper and a wish, effervescent and light; crisp linen or gauzy cotton, a blanket of freshly fallen snow, nothing and everything.
It is an elemental colour, neutralising anything too dark, rich or overtly bright, while allowing the eyes rest in between bold patterns or intense colour, bringing clarity to a room scheme. White can also brighten a dull space when you opt for the right version, bringing in much needed light under grey skies, all too often the case in the UK. From brilliant ice white, matt and chalky cottage white to creamy rice pudding whites and more, white can give a room just the balance it needs, whether on one wall or in the furniture, soft furnishings or accessories. It also works well in an all-neutral scheme in subtle variations of itself as different textures. So perhaps you’ll pair crisp white bed linen with dirty white knits, barely yellow toned off-white velvet cushions or a whitish-beige mohair throw for a hint of warmth comfort, against the backdrop of a cooler blue-tinged white wall etc.
Classy and all-encompassing, even comforting in spaces, it can also teeter at the other end – stark and clinical if used all over in too stern a setting or style. Unless that is what you’re aiming for, pair whites with practically any colour going — from classic seaside blues and sea foam green, delicate rose and sage greens for a soft country look to midnight blue, cardinal red, emerald, espresso, ebony or countless dark or bright hues that need a clean and effective contrast. It can poke its head just above the parapet when you need a hint or be a statement in itself, like the luminescent spark of water creatures or the radiant North Star. White is light itself, after all. When all is else is confusing, come back to white for a clearer picture. Your home, family and you will benefit from its clear gaze.
Words: Manisha G. Harkins
Pictures: Manisha G. Harkins & Christine Taylor
• Working with Colour Healing, by Jane Struthers (excellent, introductory book on colour healing)
• https://www.worldpranichealing.com/en/chakra/7-chakras/ (a more academic approach to chakras via pranic healing for those who want to delve deeply)
• Pantone Guide to Communicating with Colour, by Leatrice Eiseman (colour psychology for marketing, branding)
With a strong instinct for colour and over 20 years of combined design experience (design, styling, design writing, design store), Kate Wilding and Manisha Harkins launched Serenvida Ltd, their intuitive colour and design consultancy. Both are trained textile designers who have exhibited at New Designers London and, more recently, at the Cardiff Festival of Wellbeing. They love to use the specific energy of colour to encourage positive living. Qualified in colour therapy and energy practices, they’ll guide your colour choices for a space, whether office, home or garden shed. Serenvida provides colour remedies suited to a client’s needs, happily bridging the gap between design and intuition in the process. Write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org for corporate or individual consultations and more.