10 Ways to Bring Colour into Your Life

From glossy green lips to tangerine walls, here’s how to make news with the hot hues of spring 2024. 

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

By YAM Staff

After more than a decade of tasteful, low-risk, cool-neutral everything, we’re seeing a multi-hued explosion of colour across all disciplines of design. And that means you have a  whole colour wheel of choices for every aspect of your life from what you wear to how you cook to what you drive. 

Aside from looking pretty, colour has meaning. We respond to colour biologically (for instance, “seeing red” when we’re angry), culturally (associating green with cleanliness) and emotionally, through personal experience. Bright, warm reds, oranges and yellows stimulate energy and happiness, while cool blues, greens and purples soothe and calm. And it’s not just your mood that’s affected by colour: Chromotherapy is an alternative holistic health treatment based on the idea that different coloured lights can reduce pain, accelerate healing, decrease tension, improve sleep and regulate mood. 

Colour is powerful, which is why designers use colour symbolism in branding, why fast-food chains package food in red and yellow (they’ve found people eat more off red or yellow plates), why psych wards paint their walls blue (because it has a calming effect on patients) and why e-commerce companies use orange in their logos (it inspires impulsive actions like “adding to cart” even when you know you really shouldn’t).

Even if you don’t believe in any of this symbolism and holistic hocus pocus, we can all believe in the power of colour to make this the prettiest spring ever. Here’s how.

Paint a Feature Wall

It’s been a long, long, sterile stretch of grey flooring, white tiling, grey walls and white cabinetry in our homes, but now colour has made a major comeback in interior design and décor. Two trends lead the way — the warm greens, clays and earthy tones of a 1970s-ish back-to-nature movement and the lush, opulent and sophisticated hues of the kind of maximalism we haven’t seen since the 1980s. Meanwhile, here on the West Coast, mid-century modernism never goes out of style, and neither do the optimistic bright pastels of that era.

But painting an entire room in say, Me Decade burgundy or space-age aqua can be a bit overwhelming. Instead, why not paint a feature wall in one of the season’s trending colours? It makes an impact without going over the top, plus it’s easy to change if you get bored of it.

Consider one of these hues from Pantone’s spring 2024 palette, which are rooted in nostalgia, but with a fresh modern feel: bright, citrusy Orangeade (Pantone 17-1461); refreshingly vibrant Mint (Pantone 16-5938); or Chambray Blue (Pantone 15-4030), a soft, versatile denim-inspired hue.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

Be Lovely in Lilac

Fashion runways are typically awash in pastels for spring and, although this year saw a surprising amount of acid lime green and cherry-stained red, one delicate pale hue stood out: lilac. The serene light purple showed up everywhere from Balmain to Issey Miyake to Carolina Herrera, especially in traditionally feminine silhouettes like silk tunic dresses and voluminous ballgown skirts. If you want to avoid looking like an escaped  bridesmaid, though, consider lilac in an oversized jacket, trousers or pullover.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024
Wunder Puff long jacket, Lululemon

Plant Some Pretty Flowers

It may seem like winter will never end, but spring is just around the corner. That makes this a good time to plan your summer garden, so why not make it one filled with colourful flowers? Lushly ruffled garden roses, ranunculi and peonies are expected to be especially popular this year, and come in dozens of beautiful colours. Besides, the more colours in your garden — especially orange, red, yellow, pink and purple — the more pollinators they will attract. We especially love the romantic pink-and-peach hues of ranunculi like the ones to the left.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

Carry On, but Colourfully

One thing is certain: We are always going to have too much stuff to carry, and will need a giant tote to carry it in. At the SS24 ready-to-wear shows, Miu Miu even made this reality a relatable fashion moment, sending models down the runway with oversized bags overflowing with shoes, scarves, wallets and other, you know, stuff. So if you’re going to be lugging a great big bag around anyway, why not make it a colourful one? If you must go neutral, beautiful glossy browns are back in style; otherwise, designers are still having a love affair with red. And we’re smitten with the classic Longchamp Le Pliage recycled canvas tote in cornflower, wheat, forest or tomato (above) — or maybe one of each.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

Choose a New Chair …

… or other accent pieces. If even a feature wall is too much of a colour investment for you, consider a few throw cushions, an accent chair, an area rug or décor pieces like picture frames, vases and the like to add some pops of colour to your neutral space. Pro tip: Almost everything goes with grey, so it’s impossible to get this one wrong.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024
Sven Yarrow Gold chair and ottoman from Article

Make an Entrance

One of the lowest-risk, biggest impact ways to make a colourful statement is with a brightly painted front door, especially if your exterior walls are a tasteful white, grey or other neutral. Red is always a wow and yellow adds a warm sunny note, but we’re loving blues right now, especially Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year 2024, Blue Nova 825. It’s a saturated, vibrant blend of blue and violet that the brand says “was inspired by the brilliance of a new star formed in space.” What a perfect way to welcome a new year.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024
10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024
Risk it All Matte Velvet Lipstick from Sephora.

Opt for a Bold Lip

A red lip never goes out of style, but if you really want to capture the bold spirit of spring 2024, go dark, glossy and witchy. At Burberry, models on the runway wore oil-slick-shiny lipstick so dark it looked black, but was actually deep emerald green. At Dior, makeup artist Peter Philips applied black lip liner to the centre of the lip and blended it outward. At Junya Watanabe, models wore inky blue, purple and black. If you go for one of these vampy hues, be sure to apply plenty of gloss to keep from looking like the undead.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

Cook in Colour

The colourful kitchen is back in style, but blue cupboards, green islands and multi-hued backsplashes may be too bold for those of us used to the clinical cleanliness of floor-to-ceiling white. The easy way to add colour without big commitment is through bright cookware, like Le Creuset’s rainbow of enamelled cast iron and stoneware pieces, perhaps in cerise red, agave (pictured here) blue or artichaut green. Still too bold for you? Consider Le Creuset’s shimmery blue-purple iridescent stainless steel knob instead. 

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024

Drive to be Seen

Look at any parking lot these days and it’s a sea of black, white and grey. Make your vehicle the one that’s easy to find by choosing one of the cool new colours on the market. Take Hyundai’s Digital Teal, a futuristic metallic green-blue that looks green in the sun and deep ocean blue in the shade. Or BMW’s refined purple Thundernight Metallic, or Toyota’s Electric Lime, or Acura’s retro Long Beach Blue Pearl. And if you are truly bold and/or not quite over Barbie yet, how about pink? The Porsche Taycan is available in an eyecatching pinky-red hue called Ruby Star, while Jeep’s Wrangler comes in bright Tuscadero Pink. Now those are what we call hot wheels.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024
Porsche Taycan in Ruby Star

Make it Mermaidcore                         

Move over, all you ballerina wannabes in pretty pale pink. This spring, it’s all about the mermaid, at least when it comes to makeup. Think: a dewy, glowing complexion; aquatic hues for eyes; sexy, wet-look hair; and nails like bedazzled barnacles. Mostly this look is all about the eyes, though, with dramatically winged liner, asymmetrical splashes of eyeshadow (as shown at Anna Sui) or bold streaks of colour swept in the crease in a way we haven’t really seen since the 1960s, all of it in shimmery blue, green and purple. Scaly tails not required.

10 ways to bring colour into your life - YAM Magazine Jan/Feb 2024