Building on the color personality theories of Carl Jung, Angela Wright developed a unified theory of psychology and color harmony in the 1970s to explore how colors affect our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
She discovered that different personality types have different color palettes that positively resonate with them. This has allowed a great leap forward in understanding the impact of color and how it can be used to shape our behaviors.
Color psychology offers an easy-to-follow framework that helps us better understand who we are and our personal preferences, and then harmonize a palette that will help us create successful interior designs – with clarity and confidence.
Wright’s theory establishes four different personality types: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The psychology of color for interiors is not only your personality but also the personality of the room. Hues, patterns, textures, and even the style of room decor can really change people’s moods and behavior in a space.
These are the four personality types:
It is the season of pure creativity and optimism, of new growth and fresh inspiration after a long and tedious winter. Spring is all about new life and that burst of energy when the sun comes to warm the earth after a cold winter. The spring personality is therefore naturally full of optimism, easy to deal with, warm and friendly, born communicators, and approachable in nature. They are engaging and enthusiastic about entertaining and connecting people. They love a harmonious environment as well as helping and supporting people. They are good at improvising and sometimes appear unorganized and impulsive. Their homes usually have an open-door policy, so that family and friends can gather. The connection to nature and the outdoors is important, as well as sunny rooms with large windows, botanical patterns, and lots of plants.
The decorating style that suits a spring personality is one that avoids heaviness or darkness. Colors are light, bright, and vibrant, and decorative styles help maximize that sense of lightness. Spring people love spacious rooms and open spaces, where everyone can gather. They are attracted to the novelty and excitement of new trends.
The creative energy brought by spring has now mellowed and the pace is not fast but more measured and thoughtful. Imagine our European summer, paler, more subdued, and elegant. The bright greens and daffodil yellows of spring fade into a more subtle palette of sun-bleached hayfields, powdery hydrangeas, and dried grasses. The warmth of the sun means it is time to relax, bathe and take a break.
With this seasonal landscape in mind, the summer personality is graceful, elegant, and more reserved. They love their routine, are disciplined, and are often perfectionists. They are efficient and good at handling multiple things at once. Balance, order, proportion, and quality are important to them.
In terms of interiors, they are not so interested in keeping up with ever-changing trends and prefer to stick to their own timeless sense of style, without being particularly attached to the past or the future. Quality of craftsmanship, good design, and beautiful aesthetics are particularly important.
Just as the summer landscape is washed out and bleached by the sun, this personality is drawn to soft, cool, muted, and chalky colors. Patterns are flowing, delicate, and elegant. Think faded florals, watercolors or softly shaped abstract forms, and classic stripes.
When there is no contrast between colors, quality and tactility become more important and one must invest in the real thing: wool, cashmere, linen, and the finest velvets. Summer personalities are drawn to flowing fabrics, like the drape of heavy French linen or a faded floral. Rooms are impeccably chosen, planned, and organized. Rooms where you want to create an air of calm and understated elegance.
There is a further change of pace in autumn. Colors intensify as the leaves take on a fiery russet-red hue and rich golds. The fall palette is warm and intense. Energy moves forward, robust, and abundant energy, in preparation for the coming winter, is at the heart of the autumnal personality.
Autumn personalities are deeply interested in the world around them. They are ambitious, energetic, passionate, focused, and born teachers or leaders. They are practical, organized, and authentic and feel a strong connection with the outdoors, organic materials, and the natural environment.
This is reflected in their homes with their choice of materials: wood, exposed stone and brick, cotton, jute and pottery, and anything organic and sustainable. They love cozy, craftsmanship and handmade objects. Rarely inspired by modern trends, they look to the past for inspiration. They feel most comfortable in a vintage property and fill it with vintage and upcycled items. The color palette is inherently warm and intense, from fall landscape colors to rich jewel tones. Fall interiors are warm, inviting, and grounded.
As nature hibernates and everything goes to the ground, we are left with a striking landscape. The bare branches appear architectural against the bright winter sun, making a strong visual impression in its austerity.
Winter personalities are self-assured, ambitious, born leaders and experts in their field. They tend to speak their mind and often demand respect from others. They are glamorous, dramatic, decisive, intelligent, and disciplined. They like to stand out from the crowd and value luxurious brands.
A winter decoration will be thoughtful and effective, without unnecessary frills. Instead, it is about creating a strong statement and if it comes with a high price tag, that’s a plus because winter personalities are not afraid to show off and celebrate their success. It is less about following trends and more about creating them.
In terms of colors, they favor extremes, the contrast between austere and dark. Winter colors are cool, strong, clear, and bold, and metallic. This is the only season where you can live with pure, bright white, or pure jet black. Any accent color added to this neutral backdrop will need to be bright, saturated, and cool for maximum visual impact. Geometric patterns are favorites for Winter personalities. Patterns are sharp, edgy, and defined. Textures are chrome, leather, stone, glass, glossy and shiny. A piece that wants to look impressive and make a striking statement.
We rarely find ourselves in one season. You may find that more than one of these seasonal personalities fits you. If you are renovating or planning to downsize to a smaller space invest the time to work out your color personality. You may begin to understand why certain rooms in your home have never felt quite “right” and why certain spaces make you feel your best.