Colour is a major element when it comes to designing our homes for well-being.  Colour imbues a space with energy, and the more energy we have, the more we are able to create, to be productive, and to engage with the world around us.  Think about the sort of things that make you smile.  That makes you pick up your camera and take a picture.  For me it is definitely brightly coloured objects – flowers, food, candy coloured houses and spectacular sunsets.  Colour literally pulls joy to the surface.

As Ingrid Lee Fettell says in her book Joyful, “Bright colour operates like a stimulant, a shot of caffeine for the eyes.  It stirs us out of complacency.”


According to Lee Fettell, in 1810 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote that “savage nations, uneducated people, and children have a great predilection for vivid colours,” but that “people of refinement … seem inclined to banish them altogether from their presence.”  This mind-set has led us to believe that colour is a bad thing!  How sad is that?  When all around us, we’re surrounded by the vivid colours that nature paints, and yet too afraid to bring it into our homes.

I have previously blogged about getting colour inspirations from nature, and so this week I was delighted to receive Farrow & Ball’s new colour card – a collection of 16 colours in collaboration with the Natural History Museum.

Image © Farrow & Ball

Around 200 years ago, in the days before photography existed, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours was published.  This book recorded in painstaking detail the exact hues and corresponding parts of animals, vegetables and minerals from across the natural world.  It became a treasured resource for scientists and artists alike, and was an indispensable tool for Charles Darwin, as he recorded his findings from the 1831–36 voyage of HMS Beagle.

Emerald Green

Working with the Natural History Museum, where a copy of this rare book sits, Farrow & Ball have developed their 16 new colours.

Broccoli Brown

For example, Broccoli Brown is the head of a Black-headed Gull and the mineral Zircon.  Ultramarine Blue is the upper side of the wings of the small blue Heath butterfly, the plant Borrage and the mineral Lapis Lazuli.  Emerald green is the beauty spot on the wing of a Teal Drake and also the colour of the mineral Emerald.

Ultramarine Blue

And of course, being a lover of nature, it’s good to know that all Farrow & Ball’s paints are eco-friendly water based paints, which was also a paramount factor for the Natural History museum entering into this collaboration

You can see the full collection of colours here.  Let me know what your favourite colour is from the collection?

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.”
Wassily Kandinsky

3 responses