Is 2019 the year to change your colours?

What colour will your 2019 look like? A calming blue? An invigorating red? Or maybe a healthy green? While we don’t usually define our days in terms of the colour wheel, there’s no doubt that colour can help define our mood and influence how comfortable—and safe—we feel in our surroundings.

Almost everyone has a favourite colour; research shows that can change as we age. A German study of 842 adults—divided into one younger and one older age group (from 19 to 90)—found that blue was the most popular colour and yellow the least among both age groups. However, the preference for blue decreased among older participants, while red and green colours gained in popularity.

Scientists speculate that this may be caused by a combination of the yellowing of the crystalline lens in our eyes, as well as a deterioration of the functioning of the blue cone mechanism.

That yellowing also causes us more difficulty distinguishing between blues and greens, says senior-vision scientist Marilyn Schneck. She also notes that younger eyes can easily differentiate pastel hues, while older eyes find the lighter shades all look very similar.

The “Is that a navy blue or black sock?” conundrum becomes more common as we get older, Schneck adds, as aging eyes find it more difficult to distinguish between darker blues and black.

Given that the early part of the new year is often a popular time for seniors to make a move to a retirement residence or to downsize to an apartment or condo, it’s also a good time to think about using colour effectively in your new home.

Schneck, in conjunction with paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams, has some tips:

  • Choose warm, rich, saturated colours, which—beyond being easier to see—give us a feeling of warmth and security.
  • If you like pastels, try not to use them together, especially in room transitions or on stairs, as they are harder to distinguish.
  • Use alternating light and dark shades that help with depth perception.
  • Select a flat or matte paint finish over a higher sheen one: older eyes are sensitive to glare.
  • Lighting is also important regardless of decorating colour choices. Pupil size decreases with age, resulting in the need for increased lighting. A combination of ambient and task-specific lighting will make any room brighter and cozier.

Is 2019 the time to consider the next exciting chapter in your life? Click here to start your journey with Chartwell’s “Exploring Retirement Living” Guide.