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How to…bring colour into your home

Living-room70When it comes to using colour in your home, Laura Stephens, interior designer and founder of Pistachio Giraffe, is something of an expert. Just check out her beautiful London home, which we featured a few months ago. If you love the idea of using colour, but are a little nervous of it looking like a toddler has gone mad with a bucket of paint, then read on as Laura gives us the inside track on how to do colour tastefully.

“Using colour in your home environment doesn’t have to mean you feel like you’re living in a primary school classroom. Even used subtlety it can be hugely uplifting, adding depth and interest to your surroundings. I find living with colour so inspiring I couldn’t live it without it! Here are my top 5 tips for adding colour to your home.

1. Softly, Softly…

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For colour phobes start by introducing some pale pastels into your home. A great way to do this is with paint. Even painting a single wall in a colour can add a lot of impact. One of my favourite pale pink paint shades is Farrow & Ball’s ‘Middleton Pink’, which is a beautiful pretty delicate pink. Another is ‘Calamine’ (also Farrow & Ball), which is a very sophisticated pale pink with a hint of grey. If you fancy going for blue, a lovely shade is ‘Borrowed Light’ (Farrow & Ball). They are all subtle shades that add enough colour without being overwhelming. Here is a mood board scheme (for a child’s room), which I put together using lovely gentle pastels – easily adapted to an adult living space. I also continue to love my ‘Pistachio’ green subway tiles which add a lovely delicate green to my otherwise white kitchen – see below.

Pastel moodboard

Pastel moodboard

2. In the details…

If the (semi) permanence of coloured walls makes you break out in a cold sweat, introduce colour through details in your home. Vases, bowls, crockery, cushions, flowers and lighting are all fab ways to add colour and can be easily interchanged with your mood.

Photo albums from Designers Guild

Photo albums from Designers Guild

Colourful crockery from Tiger and Rice DK. Pencils from Penguin

Colourful crockery from Tiger and Rice DK. Pencils from Penguin

3. Mix it up with shades of grey…

Grey is a colour most people aren’t afraid of and can look stunning put together with hints of strong colour. I have recently completed a project for a bedroom, dressing room and bathroom where the client liked the sophistication of greys but wanted a bit of colour for fun. She found ‘Arsenic’, a bright green from Farrow & Ball and we put it together with a variety of grey shades – it looks amazing!

Grey and green is a great combination

Grey and green is a great combination

Grey and green moodboard

Grey and green moodboard

4. Working colourful wallpaper with white…

Colourful wallpaper on a wall of an otherwise white or neutral room is one of my favourite ways to add colour, in fact three rooms of my house are decorated this way! It works particularly well in my girls’ bedrooms, both wallpapers look so pretty.

Wallpaper from Designers Guild

Wallpaper from Designers Guild

Designers Guild wallpaper

Designers Guild wallpaper

However, it’s great for adult spaces too. It gives a room a focus (especially if a room doesn’t have many original features) and provides you with an instant colour scheme to bring out with accessories and furniture elsewhere.

I hankering after this Designers Guild Kimono Blossom Madame Butterfly wallpaper for our living room

I hankering after this Designers Guild Kimono Blossom Madame Butterfly wallpaper for our living room

5. Think about furniture…

Finally, if you want to keep colour minimal try your hand with painted furniture to introduce a contained block of colour to a room. I have just finished this dresser for a client – I love the fuchsia inside.

Dresser

Dresser

I do it professionally, but transforming an old tired bit of furniture with paint can be easy if you keep it simple  (Annie Sloane does great paints and her book is a good DIY guide to painting.) If you’re a beginner I suggest painting something neutral and add colour through the hardware. The piece below is one I did for a client. I painted it grey with an aged look and added these fabulous colourful handles which I found in Zara – I love the way the colours of the handles are mismatched.

Chest of drawers

Chest of drawers

IMAGES: House to Home; Farrow & Ball

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