How to brighten up your home with colour for the winter months ahead

Farrow and Ball's 'Salon Drab' on the walls wit h 'Yeabridge Green' on the door.

Kya deLongchamps shows how to use on-trend paint and accessories in a way that will brighten up the house now that the wet and dull days of winter lie ahead.

Even with our thermostats set to efficiency by a phone app and flitting to the warmed house, directly from the car, winter prods at our need for visual and sensory comfort. 

If you’re redecorating over the long nights, open yourself up to some new season colour with real heart.

Burning Golds

Precious metallics have been something of an obsession in the design world and Dulux has chosen cherished gold as one of its star colours for 2016. 

Bold, dramatic and eliciting an instinctive sense of comfort and luxury, this putty, grey-based yellow has its roots in Georgian colour schemes.

I have used flat matt gold-indicated walls in my own bedroom for 10 years, and now combined with accents of mid-century shell pinks, mid-greys, deep nut-brown and deep teal, my decor may have spun 40 years but I’ve stayed with the golden anchor. 

Gold glows from the right ochre based family of yellow. Use it all over the walls to raise comfort levels or try blocking it in as here over cabinetry. Cherished Gold, Classic Black (cabinetry), far wall in Cookie Dough, all by Dulux. From €31.99 for 2.5l emulsions, www.dulux.ie
Gold glows from the right ochre based family of yellow. Use it all over the walls to raise comfort levels or try blocking it in as here over cabinetry. Cherished Gold, Classic Black (cabinetry), far wall in Cookie Dough, all by Dulux. From €31.99 for 2.5l emulsions, www.dulux.ie

Feather your nest this winter with earthy ochre colours that will offset the blue-tinged light of winter.

Lift the colour to mettalics with this seasons gold/ brass treasures, including an extensive range of gold cutlery and ornaments. Test yellow golds on the walls as they appear much darker in small tiles on the card, and belt in white woodwork to keep the look fresh.

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* Primitive scandi-style, gold embroidered bird cushion on white ground, €30, Debenhams.

* Helen James Considered, Lafayette mirrors from €80.

* Colortrend torc emulsion, interior matt €21.50 per litre.

* Graduate three-seater leather sofa in orange, from €1,738, DFS.

* Sanderson strié Cherwell fabric (new) in Catkin #235952, around €50 per metre, stockists include The Drapery Shop, Emmet Place, Cork.

* Aurelie bed in rose gold from €279.99, Argos nationwide.

Post Modern Minerals

Colours taken from the shades of natural rock and split crystalline geodes are ideal for sumptuous mid-winter colour.

The trend for glassy semi-opaque minerals encompasses everything from washes of semi-precious colour to rugs and curtains to a new appreciation of marble (largely pure white Carrera) and gemstone choices in iridescent and coloured glass.

Turning away from more problematic amethysts and pink quartz family which can appear cool and synthetic, my choice would be moody slate grey, silver, deep teal blues of lapis and Nordic and malachite.

These grounded shades are superb 1970s favourites to groove up neutral (grey-based not cream) and all white rooms. 

A dramatic mineral grey room is lifted by harmonising lapis blue and fresh white accessorising with warming top notes of antique wood and brass. The retention of a white cornice and ceiling and silvery wide plank flooring bounces light off every surface. If your windows are double or triple glazed don’t line the curtains- diffuse that low winter sun. Image: IKEA.
A dramatic mineral grey room is lifted by harmonising lapis blue and fresh white accessorising with warming top notes of antique wood and brass. The retention of a white cornice and ceiling and silvery wide plank flooring bounces light off every surface. If your windows are double or triple glazed don’t line the curtains- diffuse that low winter sun. Image: IKEA.

In a larger room, don’t be afraid to take this year’s truly dark greys to the walls.

Prepare with a good dark undercoat to ensure a deep finish and use a satin choice for a subtle bounce of light. Woven texture, flashes of luxuriant colour and a good lighting plan will stop things getting too sombre.

Theatrical abstract colour bleeds and abstract rugs in velvety piles and blocky seams of colour ore are ideal as the central moment for this sophisticated take.

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* Carolyn Donnelly, Eclectic Peacock vase, €15, Dunnes Stores. J

* Jan Kath rugs, represented in Ireland at rugart.ie. POA.

* Fleetwood elite grey, €31.99 for 2.5l.

* Atmosphera in the Akaishi wall coverings (new) in indigo from Zoffany-Endo, from €155 per metre, www.zoffany.com 

* Erwan Peron snow sideboard, €6580 (new) for Roche Bobois (Dublin).

* Donegal Studio snail trail/twill/ herringbone blankets, Studio Donegal, €79, at www.iamofireland.ie (Youghal).

* Formel Wood, oxidised copper (blue) light, €795, www.nordicmakers.com (Dublin)

Winter Greens flavour New Greys

No, no, not more blasted grey I hear you shout. Well, Little Greene has devoted an entire collection to grey this season, and most paint and fabricmakers are turning the dial full down to dark smoky smoulders, or right back up to shimmering pale silvers.

For a brighter counterpoint to a lush dark choice, mix up the folksy prints and embroidery hitting the shelves with silvered wood colours and white ware. 

Wood Ash (Little Green again), is an off-white a few fathoms into grey, ideal for a whole room or picking out architectural detail in an otherwise all white space.

Bedroom in French Gray No.18 Estate Eggshell from Farrow and Ball.
Bedroom in French Gray No.18 Estate Eggshell from Farrow and Ball.

With the promise of returning spring and available in juicy saps and antique celandons, green is a natural companion to the sooty and pale new greys for 2016/17. Farrow & Ball’s new Yeabridge Green is my favourite.

Found in an 18th century farmhouse during renovations intact behind cabinetry, its lush grassy optimism is irresistible for classic or contemporary rooms. 

With beautifully figured wood, or raw rattan to signal a resonance with nature, and simple mid-century lines — you are there.

Style edit

* Colortrend Wolfhound (sexy dark) and sorrel (silver grey) €21.50 per litre.

* Farrow & Ball Yeabridge Green (new) #287, 2.5l Modern Emulsion €60, eu.farro-ball.com 

* Pax wardrobes in fardal green (new 2016/17) from €330, IKEA.

* Georgian laser-cut wood clocks (inspired by Dublin fanlights) €48, www.jennywalshdesign.com 

* Calligaris Area 51 chair, €105, Caseys furniture.

* Honeycomb ceramic collecton tall jugs (new), from €17.95, Meadows & Byrne.


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