5 August 2013

It's high time to lighten the mood

Bring a brighter, more summery feel into your home

While we might not be able to coax our climate into endless sunshine, we can do something about our homes.  From balmy sky blues and look-at-me lipstick reds to colour-clashing and prancing pheasants, there's a lot you can usher into the house to brighten it up for summer.

Furniture revamp

Strip furniture, rebuff and repaint it to give it a more Mediterranean feel, see Baroque Ardor (baroque-ardor.co.uk), perhaps applying farrow and Ball paint (http://www.farrow-ball.com/?gclid=CL-h0uHW5rgCFZPItAodd3YAkQ). 

It's recommended to choose the fabrics first, and allowing this to dictate the colour scheme for the room.  For ideas of fabric see Parna (parna.co.uk) or eBay.  For furniture to revamp, see auctions or local second hand shops, also try The Treasure Trove (thetreasuretrove.co.uk) for bespoke furniture treatments.

Fresh, summery pastel green, pink, blue and monochrome designs celebrate the richness of our wildlife and bring a welcome sprinkling of summer into the home.

Novel ideas include pheasants, partridges, hares, stag heads, ponies, even tractors.

Change your outlook

Out with the heavy interlined curtains, in with the floatier summer fabrics.  If you start with good fabric which has been woven well, then new curtains do not have to cost a fortune, see Pret a Vivre (http://www.pretavivre.com/), a company specialising in English fabrics and wool linens spun by weavers in Italy.

Cheaper, more lightweight fabrics, which still hang well and feel luxurious to the touch, include the mixed blends linen viscose (from around £33 a metre ) and wool linen (£38).

Many home owners rip out the back of their house to extend, installing bifold doors, but haven't given any thought to what to do with the light flooding through; heavy voiles diffuse the light and give a little more privacy.  Vintage linens, which are treated before they are woven give a two-tone effect to window dressings.

Beyond France (beyondfrance.co.uk) stocks beautiful hand-spun vintage linen, including caramel striped grain sacks (from £45), which can be transformed into attractive window blinds.  Botanical prints on blinds dress up a tired bathroom or kitchen.

Colour and texture

Stick to a neutral palette of beige or grey sofas or chairs and highlighting with colours such as dusky pinks or burnt orange in your customs or fabrics (see Remodelista com, the celebrated website for interior designers).

Otherwise, for those who are feeling a little more adventurous, clash colours - otherwise known as 'colour blocking' - with bright pinks and reds and fluorescent accents.  Mint green is very popular at the moment. Pastel pinks, orange and bit of fluorescent coral combine well, and painters' dropcloths can be used as tablecloths or as instant casual slip covers if you're tired of your upholstery.

The home-improvement empire that is Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com) has an entire section devoted to 'dropcloth decor', cushion covers and pillowcases dyed in bright citrus hues, similar in texture and colour to muslin but a fraction of the price (from fabric shops and DIY stores).

Bodie and Fou (bodieandfou.com), the top interiors blog and shop, recommends lightweight Moroccan rugs and sunshine-yellow throws for a 'beachy' feel.  

Also try the beautifully hand-spun cotton dhurries (flat woven rugs) or runners from Mahout (mahoutlifestyle.com) in lime greens and deep reds, with bold chevron, chain-link and diamond patterns.

Wawa (wawa.co.uk), is an interior design company known for its bold and bright modernist approach, champions statement oranges, yellows and reds against barely there blues and natural tones in their fabrics.  They suggest giving simple furnishings a seasonal boost by combining florals with strong colour and feisty pattern for a more contemporary feel. 

Try mixing botanics with bold stripes, delicate voiles and satins, in a palette of acid limes, turquoise blues and pillar-box reds, 'an eclectic mix of styles and colours, with a nod to Fifties retro, to create that holiday feel within the home.

(Ideas from The Sunday Telegraph, 30 June 2013)

Or, if you have absolutely no money, buy a cheap set of light-coloured, or very bright, bedding. Then cover your cushions with the pillow cases (folding back the excess fabric) and drape the sheets in your windows and furniture. 
This will create a similar effect to that suggested above - then come the winter, the bedding can be used as bedding again.  And no need to spend a fortune!

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