3 ways to use colour in winter

 

Between autumn’s russety reds and spring’s sorbet shades lies a bit of a colour conundrum. Suddenly all-white-everything feels stark - not summery - and those brilliantly bold tropical hues are (literally) all shades of wrong. So how to keep the colour whilst capturing the mood of the season - and without resigning yourself to picking up the paint or frantically swapping the cushions every three months? Here’s three ways to make colour work, all year round.

 

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Green velvet chair in living room

 


1. HIDDEN GEMS


The shades

In their modern iteration, these wonderfully rich, pigmented hues – think forest greens, petrol blues and glamorous clarets and aubergines – stormed straight to the top of every interiors trend round-up around 2016, and never left. Along with the decade-defining velvet sofa, they add a bit of punch and personality whilst still being moody enough to make sense for winter - the perfect alternative to summer’s bold prints.


The psychology

Going wall-to-wall with one of these jewel tones - and according to one of this year’s biggest trends, across the ceiling while you’re at it – is a shortcut to serious cosiness. The oft-quoted flipside is whether the room feels smaller as a result. And it makes sense. These hues have Victorian heritage - where rooms were often double height with big bay windows - and long pre-date the light and airy Scandi design DNA we’ve all since championed. There’s plenty of ways to tap into the trend, so it’s worth considering what works for your space.


The styling

If you’re prepared to add some drama – but not to invest in a new sofa – a statement armchair makes a more portable option, or a scatter of cushions in a variety of hues (pair bold with bold, we say) might be all you need to transform a tired old one. Pair with velvet to let these shades really shine - and tick off two winter trends - or bring to life with warm metallics like gold and bronze. And whilst we don’t believe in design rules, sticking to clean lines (à la all things art deco) is the easiest way to keep it under control.

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Plumen bare bulb twist pendant lights

 


2. EARTHY DELIGHTS


The shades

Encompassing hues of honey, rich clay and olive green, these saturated shades are a little like autumn’s rush of colour with the sound turned down. But make no mistake - this take on terracotta et al is a far cry from your pile of old plant pots lingering in the shed. These are warm, luxurious and ultimately contemporary colours that owe far more to Mediterranean villas and Moroccan riads than any failed gardening attempt.


The psychology

From clay-roofed cities to hip design hotels, these earthy – yet seriously luxe - tones are as traditional as they are on-trend. They’re at a bit of a colour crossroads, too. Sitting pretty in the sweet spot where vibrant, saturated colour meets pared back, organic hues, they’re the best of both worlds - so it’s no wonder they’ve triumphed both on the catwalk and off. If you’re looking to go au naturel for winter, there’s really no chicer way to do it.


The styling

The key to preventing warm, earthy tones from tipping into ‘rustic’ territory is keeping silhouettes contemporary and paying attention to subtle differences in similar shades – think rich and pinky-brown, rather than orange-tinged. Be wary of too much decoration and even the most delicately distressed finish, which will feel instantly retro (and in this case, we’re talking BC). Stick to solid colour, bold and blocky prints or a simple two-tone effect balanced with white or powdery pink.

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Pink sofa with dark wood furniture

 


3. CHALKY PASTELS


The shades

Candy hues have had a contemporary update, and it works just as well for winter as it does spring and beyond. Pinks are the star of the show – and the star of many a recent red carpet snap – alongside sage greens and paler, grey-tinged denim blues. An ice cream colour palette this is not – the shade reference is far more stonewashed than sickly, more powdery than Palm Springs. Hailed as the new neutrals, it looks like this newly grown-up group of shades is here to stay. Yes please.


The psychology

Whilst we’re not quite ready to end our love affair with the fifty shades of grey that have dominated the last decade, these soothing hues make a good argument – they’re just as restful, but far less likely to feel stark or subdued. Yes, this makes the bedroom an obvious decorating destination, but consider pastels to add some calm - and colour - to hectic, high-traffic areas like your kitchen, too.


The styling

It’s worth considering contrast, whether that means adding some edge with geometric prints or anchoring powdery shades with a splash of something stronger. A dusky pink – which is a little too feminine for some - is made thoroughly modern with a navy or forest green, while textural details like tassels and fringing make a subtler statement paired with paler shades. Beware layering pastel hue upon pastel hue, however, or you’ll feel like you’ve been unwittingly cast in a Wes Anderson film.

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