Bright and beautiful - how to add some spring sunshine to your home
Poor old 2014 hasn't got off to a very good start. More rain fell during January than has ever been recorded in the past 250 years. So in a country oozing with mud and floods, it's hard to even contemplate the arrival of spring, says Richenda Oldham.
When the sky is a consistently depressing shade of grey and sunshine is in short supply, the answer is to render your own climate change via judicious colour injections in the home. This means that you can keep your neutral backdrops and just make small simple adjustments to create a new upbeat mood.
The two most obvious colours to choose for a spring feel are of course yellow and green:
Yellow gives an instant feeling of cheerfulness, energy and warmth. A single wall can become a focal point if painted with dynamic shades such as Pitapat or Stella from Dulux, or select a vibrant citrus hue, like Crown's Happy Daze as an accent colour for skirting, windows and doors.
Green is a soothing, restful colour, which helps create a feeling of harmony and banishes depression, as epitomised by Farrow & Ball's Cooking Apple Green No 32 and Green Ground No 206, from the Back to Nature range. For sheer wow factor though, a single sofa upholstered in a lime green fabric will add zing to a room, while green cushions, throws or rugs look stunning against cream or white.
Don't be afraid to add in elements of blue, particularly calming shades of teal and duck egg, which combine well with canary yellow or vanilla shades. Alternatively, let your senses run wild with hot fuchsia pink, (Pantone's colour for 2014), which teams up superbly with contrasting bright green foliage - think lime and raspberry.
One of the top interior design trends, which is perfect for a spring transformation, is the ombre or dip dye vogue. This translates well into wallpaper such as Digetex Home's quick to hang Isabella Ombre Yellow Wallpaper, £30 per panel (digetexhome.co.uk). Wall stickers are another simple but effective means of adding impact to a lifeless wall. Choose from trees, flowers, butterflies, dots, cupcakes or giant daisies. £13.99 for a pink flowers branch (dottyfrogdecor.co.uk).
Chores can seem so much more fun when using kitchen accessories in lively colours and citrus fruits are an enduringly popular theme. Denby and Monsoon have teamed up to produce Cordoba, a lively range of lemony items including a glass worktop saver, £16 and large pitcher, £25 (denby.co.uk).
Cushions are ideal for ringing instant changes - whether on sofas, armchairs, beds or the floor. Experiment with leafy patterns, woven textures and funky designs in eye-popping candy shades or tropical brights. Candy cushion in lime, £35 (oscarandeve.co.uk). Floating flowers, £12.99 (loadsagifts.com). African theme Kele Kele cushion, £30 (thecolournation.com).
Fabric designs influenced by hot tropical climates are very much in vogue. You can't beat the vibrancy of Clarke & Clarke's flamboyant South Beach collection of embroidered linens and jacquards, featuring Shades of Flamingo, Citrus and Sunset, £29-£55 per metre (clarke-clarke.co.uk). Alternatively look out for Ashley Wilde's Bloomsbury collection of fresh floral watercolour fabrics in a contemporary palette of teal, crimson, plum and lavender, £18 per m (ashleywildegroup.com).