Chromatherapy lighting, using the power of colour, is the latest domestic trend, a "de-stress" system that first found its way into luxury spas but which can now be installed for as little as £850 in your own home. It works best in bathrooms, making the most of their reflective surfaces and mirrors.
Chromatherapists believe exposure to colour can improve mental and physical wellbeing: blue makes us calmer, red fills us with vigour and orange is believed to stimulate appetite. The ancient Egyptians even built solaria fitted with panes of coloured glass so bathers could enjoy the healing power of colour when the sun shone through them.
Bathroom designer Ludvik Krnc has installed chromatherapy lighting at London homes. He says the growing availability of affordable lighting technology has made this possible, and demand is strongest among clients in busy careers.
"My clients are people in highly stressful jobs, actors, musicians, business people who have it in their bathrooms to create a relaxing sanctuary," says Krnc, managing director at My Bespoke Bathroom.
Krnc has installed a £2,500 lighting system in the bathroom of a not-to-be-named female singer's south London home. The lights are in the ceiling, around the base of the bath, the mirror and in the steam room, and can be operated with a waterproof remote control.
Choosing from 300 hues, the singer can decide which colours to use and how long they shine. "She can set a sequence through the blues and greens, but none of the reds if she wants," says Krnc.
The steam room, however, is filled with colour, so it appears to be a solid mass of red, blue or any other hue, and to be immersed in light like this provides the most beneficial health effects, says Krnc. There are less expensive systems available, and at an oil executive's home in Notting Hill, Krnc fitted chromatherapy lights into a bathroom ceiling for £850. Using a remote control, the client can choose 21 hues which either glow gently or fill the space with colour.
Chromatherapy lighting is low voltage, costs little to run and carbon emission is low, says Krnc. Joe Burns, co-founder of property developer and architectural practice Oliver Burns, says incorporating chromatherapy lighting into interior design schemes is the latest step in using colour not only for decorative purposes, but to improve wellbeing.