Restore colour to your home by taking inspiration from nature


A new book by textile artist and interior designer, Susan Hable looks at colourful ways you can banish the tyranny of white walls from your home, writes Des Breen.

Fans of interior decor TV shows could be forgiven for thinking a room can be any colour as long as it’s white - we’re bombarded with the idea that white walls equal light airy rooms and the illusion of space.

However, over the past few years, textile designer Susan Hable has become the leading voice in the goal to restore colour to our homes, arguing for bright palettes which take their inspiration from nature.

This room’s natural feel takes its cue from the prominent windows and the proximity of the garden. A blue-green paint shade brings to mind the grass and sky outdoors. The colour in the drapes represents a strong sky blue, while the soft green chairs favour the greens of the landscape. Additions to the room include an antique African mat and multicoloured pillows. A wooden stage prop in shades of blue provides a quirky finishing touch.

Flowers, feathers, stones, bark, leaves became her source materials to create moods using vibrant walls and vivid textiles.

“Live out your wildest colour dreams,” she says. 

“Become a ‘design investigator’: take walks and look at the textures and tones around you— forests, beaches, historic sites, art galleries are all catalogues of colour.

“Examine how hues combine in nature at different seasons of the year.”

Forest walks inspire brilliantly saturated green colour in this room, with the classic rug roviding floral hues. Using a variety of finishes in the same colour family— jade mohair upholstery, glossy leaf cornice, matt forest green walls, makes for a rich effect. The repeated use of natural materials and tones unifies the vivid, country house palette. Picture: Rinne Allen

Some of her rooms are wrapped in one shade from floor to ceiling; others are layered, creating a mood that can be pale and soothing or dramatic and vivid.

Get creative, she encourages, colourful rooms are stimulating and even moving a piece of furniture or changing up something as minor as a pillowcase, can strike a new note.

Above all, she says, don’t be afraid to experiment and trust your instincts. 

Upbeat orange, muted browns and light blue walls in this sitting room create an eccentric and inviting effect. The texture of the walls, reminiscent of an historic home, defines the space. Inherited distress is a benefit of old houses — strip paint and gently sand wood for a similar effect at home.

Train your eye and you will soon be able to create pleasing combinations from scenes in the great world outside and then incorporate them into your living spaces.

A Colourful Home, Creating Lively Palettes for Every Room, by Susan Hable, is published by Chronicle books (€24.99).

A Colorful Home by Susan Hable - Chronicle Books.

Yellow and orange blend beautifully in a child’s bedroom. The overall feeling is playful and bright. The blinds glow in pale sunlight, bringing together layered tones of pale citrus with lemonade walls. Blue, violet and red stripes in the carpet anchor the room. Picture: Rinne Allen


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