Match the one-day heat waves we hope we’ll get periodically over the next few months, writes Carol O’Callaghan.
No question, the weather is as fickle as fashion trends, but one theme which is proving less variable than the norm this year is colour.
It soaks up brilliant white walls and banishes the drear of the default setting for a conservative decorator who wants something warmer than white but can’t commit beyond magnolia.
A paint job is the first consideration when introducing colour and, being a big commitment, will change the entire look of a room, possibly even altering your perception of upholstery and the quality of light in the space.
Admittedly, it’s cheap to change if you can’t live with the results, but there are easier ways of introducing colour that won’t commit you to it beyond a season, and in a less labour-intensive way, while channeling your inner stylist.
So, for now, leave the paint in the shed and concentrate on smaller accents by adding colour with simple textiles and objects.
Later on, when you’re more confident and know what works for you in a space, there’s the option of investing in the fashionable statement furniture piece in a favourite colour, should you fancy it.
When it comes to choosing accents initially, keep it simple. Lauren Harris, designer at furniture retailer DFS, says:
“I change my cushions with the seasons. For now, I have green as it’s a personal favourite and it’s also the colour of the year.”
Known for its calming, relaxing quality, green will also help to extend garden lushness into the house, especially if you introduce it with another trend for summer, leaf motifs on cushions and rugs.
Typically trending, too, is blue and its associations with the beach, but there’s a surprise on the colour charts - one we normally associate with autumn.
“Last year pinks and dusky purples were big,” says Lauren.
“But this year we’re seeing burnt orange in sofas, with cushions having ethnic patterns with Moroccan and Marrakech vibes. To start, let the sofa, or any major piece of furniture and its colour do the talking and take centre stage.”
But for a general approach to a room, without investing in new furniture, Lauren likes to mix various hues of her chosen colour and to add in other trends for a more textured, layered finish.
“Don’t just stick to one shade of a colour in the room,” she advises. “Use different shades to add depth. For example, lime, forest green and emerald all work well together.
“Bring in pattern through soft furnishings; florals always work well and are timeless. Don’t be afraid of a pattern clash – it makes everything more interesting.”
Now there’s a thought. As a die-hard for white bed linen, I was tempted into unfound territory recently by a new duvet cover with a fleshy hue that has since seen me adding it in throws across the ends of otherwise neutral beds. Not exactly an all out conversion to colour, but a step in the right direction.
“Think about metallics as a colour too,” says Lauren.
“Warmer copper is like a version of orange in accessories. It’s also being used as a material in side tables which gives an elegant finish as a change from the more rustic look of wood.”
If you do nothing else this weekend, just check out dull areas which can be resolved with a warmed hue, like the dark wooden coffee table weighing down the middle of your sitting room, used as a repository of newspapers and spent coffee cups.
A few colourful books will brighten up the table and the room as a result — or group three same coloured orchids in a rectangular pot in the centre for that boutique hotel look.
While you’re at it, bring precious items of colour out from behind cupboards and let them be seen.
Easier, of course, where there aren’t tiny inquisitive fingers, but there are out of reach mantelpieces and shelves where clutches of objects might have a transformative effect.
And don’t forget the season’s ever-changing supply of colour, ready and waiting to be brought indoors from the garden.
“Use natures best gifts,” says Lauren.
“Flowers and planting instantly make a room more interesting, especially for summer. They not only add another layer of colour but they also add texture, shape and life to a room.”
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