Living

Add a splash of colour to your home décor

Put down the beige paint! There are ways to introduce colour into your décor that won't cause a dead faint.

Grab some shades
In the 90s neutral palettes reigned, but it’s 2008. Colour is dominating the runways, and where fashion goes, home décor doesn’t trail far behind.

Some of the freshest hues to perk up rooms today are industrial-strength orange, turquoise, girly fuchsia, bright yellow and chartreuse green. And you can never go wrong with a true red: it’s so classic it practically qualifies as a neutral. One caution, don’t get muddy – current colours are clear and bright, and bereft of brown undertones.

Love your accent
Accent walls have been around for a while. For a new spin layer them with peel-off graphics so the effect looks like custom artwork.

Instead of painting an entire wall, use a bold stripe in places like a bedroom, where it can be particularly effective behind a bed, acting as an ersatz headboard. Or use paint to highlight an architectural detail, such as the backs of built-in shelves. And don’t neglect bold bedding, mix patterns for a chic, eclectic look.

Colour fast
It’s easy to tire of a spruce sofa, so don’t sink your investment dollars into a piece that will lose its appeal after a year or two. Instead, think bright accessories such as a toss cushion, vase or lampshade that doesn’t cost a lot of green.

Red carpet
The trend for graphic, artisanal carpets adds a hit of colour in a more subtle way than walls or drapes. To mimic the effect of a custom-made carpet, pick one with a background that’s similar to walls with one bright accent hue. For traditionalists, a sisal rug can be bound with tape in an unexpected shade.

Back story
Bands of tiles in rainbows hues will perk up a backsplash in a kitchen or bath. The Europeans have embraced coloured kitchen cabinetry in a big way: hot shades are appetizing, sapphire blues are sophisticated while greens are energizing. Not ready to commit to a major overhaul? Try colourful small appliances and silicon kitchen accessories – manufacturers are loving brights too.

Take a powder
A small bathroom benefits from the big impact of colour: whether it’s a bright, graphic wallpaper or rich jewel-tone paint. Make a powder room into a major statement by drenching it in one colour with matching towels and accessories.