Chances are many of us will be spending more time than usual at home in the coming month as thousands of us find ourselves working from home, many for the first time.
And when things are chaotic outside, our homes offer an antidote, at least to the stress and strains of relentless news cycles and complicated logistics. Never has this felt more true than now as we bunker down in the face of the coronavirus (having squeezed in plenty of bunkering down already, thanks to weather warnings and storms).
Six months ago, when Dulux named a hazy green, 'Tranquil Dawn', their colour of the year for 2020, little did they realise how incongruous that selection would go on to seem. The year has been fraught with chaos and concern, so 'tranquil' is hardly the word most of us would put to it.
Yet, a closer look shows a surprising prescience. The cool-toned, grey-green hue was chosen, says Dulux, because it is "calming and comforting just when we need it most in our lives". The shade was picked to represent our growing concern over tech trends like big data and AI, and a desire to reconnect with all things natural in the face of so much rapid change.
"Colour of the Year trends echo the mood of the moment - a mood defined by a range of touch-points, from global culture to fashion to emerging technology and lifestyle trends," explains Lauren Harris, a senior designer at DFS (the sofa company collaborated with Dulux to create a matching furniture line).
While colour trends come and go, understanding the theory and psychology of how colour affects your emotional state is key. "There are strong links between colour and emotion, so the colours you use in your home do affect your mood," says Lauren. Greens have long been associated with freshness and vibrancy, as well as with harmony and balance, though the softer tones we're seeing now are less zesty and more zen.
With life so hectic, it's no surprise that paint companies are recommending hues designed to soothe and settle; consider this new wave the paint equivalent of a cup of sweet, mint tea - both refreshing and relaxing.
Pair these subtle green shades with botanicals - yes, the trend is still going strong. "We're all leading such busy, hectic lives and can often find it's quite difficult to relax," says Dulux colour consultant Amanda Daunt. "The benefits of having plants in your home, alongside really tranquil colours and natural materials like beautiful rattans or soft textiles are huge. They all work together to further emphasise that this is a space to chill in, helping us find calm."
Furthermore, the shades work whether they are used in a home office or family room. "Greyed off shades, like Tranquil Dawn, are also very well suited to Irish light, and make things a little softer and easier on the eye," adds Amanda.
Of course, painting your home can only do so much, but it is more important than ever that home is a place where we feel calm, comforted and comfortable. Whether that means corralling clutter, adding a few house plants to your hastily assembled home office, or even painting an entire room a restful hazy green, do what works for you. Any port in a (named) storm and all that.