As temperatures drop, envelop yourself in comforting colours that leave winter out in the cold
There are definite signs that winter is on the way – the morning chill lingers longer, a glass of wine alfresco is not quite as appealing as it was a few weeks ago, and foodie thoughts are turning from cool salads to hearty casseroles. The cycle of the seasons is still one of the joys of life on our planet, or as one young poet put it, “I’m glad I live where seasons change – I like my world to rearrange.” Get cosy and rearrange your winter world with the transformative impact of colours to take you through the cold months ahead.
Cuddle up with colour
Such is the power of colour that it influences how we feel when we enter a room. So when the seasons change, it makes sense that visually adapting our interiors increases our enjoyment of these spaces. A seasonal response to the weather and the lifestyle changes that go with it is easily achieved, with a few well-chosen accessories or a paint job to update a room or a tired piece of furniture. See what’s on the colour horizon this winter.
’Tis the season
Colour Planning and Communications Manager for Dulux Group
, Andrea Lucena-Orr, says that wanting to hibernate in winter really makes us think about colours that make us feel cosy, and give our space a definite seasonal ambience. “We tend to spend more time at home, so it’s important to make our relaxing spaces as inviting as possible,” she says.Dulux releases distinct seasonal colour palettes and for 2016, winter hues reference infinite space, night skies and deep oceans. Key colours, based on their Infinite Worlds
palette, are intense blues, moody purples, warm mauves and luxurious shimmering metallics, with names reflecting this galactic theme – ‘Odyssey’, ‘Plush’, ‘Extinct’, ‘Jupiter Jazz’ and ‘Thebe Touch’.
Not all paint companies release specific seasonal colour palettes. Wendy Rennie fromHaymes Paint
says, “With interiors, you often need to work with palettes that can withstand shifts in accent and feature colours that don’t have the same permanence, like accessories and soft furnishings.” However, she says, some colours and combinations make a room feel a particular way, for example, deep wine reds and lush greens and navy offer a very cosy, comforting feel and work well in the colder months.
Don’t be afraid of the dark, advises Lucena-Orr. The last few years have seen strong trends towards darker interior colours, a great winter choice. “They create an ambience not achievable with light colours, especially as a background to vibrant accessories. They add drama and sophistication and a touch of retro glamour in combination with warm metallic highlights for interest and contrast.”
To avoid creating a cave-like atmosphere, look to lighting to bring out the depth and intensity of dramatic darks. Lucena-Orr says that these on-trend shades are ideal for home cinema spaces and rooms used at night, such as bedrooms and living rooms. They come to life with beautiful lighting and paler accents, such as the bedlinen seen here, to balance them.
Darker shades in Haymes’ Curate
palettes offer great tones for a winter makeover, says Rennie. Deep iris blues, greys and warm tans sit well together as do stormy blue, earth brown and autumnal golds, teamed with neutrals in lighter shades.
Visually warming your house doesn’t necessarily mean using lots of warm colours. Blue isn’t just for beach houses and summer – it’s a calming and comforting colour which encourages relaxation. Rich intense blues, as featured in the latest colour charts, can add a luxuriously cocoon-like feel to a room, more so when fabrics are velvety, tactile and contrasted with gold-toned metallic accents.
There’s a new neutral in the house and it’s a surprise candidate for winter rooms. Melanie Stevenson from Porter’s Paints
’ marketing division says Porter’s have more neutral greens and blues in their current Collection 15
than ever before. Houzz writer Catherine Smith notes that while pure white might be fashionable, for some rooms it feels too sterile. “A neutral in the greened-off shades is on-trend, and more comforting,” she says. The neutral greens – think the muted greens of eucalyptus leaves – paired with light and dark timbers, lots of indoor greenery and warm coppery and gold accessories is a winter look to take its cue from nature – without the seasonal chill.
If your heart lies with the neutral spectrum of creamy whites, pebble, ecru, biscuit and ivory, then you’ll know how beautifully these tones adapt to sunny light summer days. On gloomy days, however … well, they can use a little help. Rennie has some advice to warm things up a bit. “There’s a shift to using tan tones and materials such as leather, suede and timber, which bring warmth to interiors,” she says. “The introduction of plants is a key focus nowadays, adding an earthy and organic look and feel. Bold tones of terracotta are appearing as well as soft furnishings in dusty pinks.”
Grey – all fifty or so shades of it – has enjoyed a rather long moment in the limelight, and with good reason. One of the most versatile colours, it can admittedly be a little cold and industrial. But there are greys, and then there are greys, so look to the warm end of the spectrum as a winter alternative. Rennie sees a shift from dark greys to a warmer tone which has more yellow and brown undertones. “These greys create a great tonal palette for a liveable neutral base,” she says. “We also see a move back to soft warm browns and chocolates that sit in with charcoal greys.”
Although grey happily cohabits with a whole raft of colours, the word’s out that we are getting a bit keen on mustard yellow. Once the darling of the ’60s and ’70s – anyone remember ‘Harvest Gold’? – this deep mellow yellow turns up the heat on a grey-based interior that may need a little warming up when the mercury plummets. As with most yellows, it has a happy sunny ambience, most welcome in the depths of winter.
Scandi turns up the heat
Even pale tone-on-tone chalky Nordic interiors are jumping on the colour bandwagon with darker, brighter and more dramatic palettes. Maybe we could take a cue from these cold-climate interiors and adapt these stronger colours and atypical combinations for our own – admittedly far less icy – winter climate. Swedish Houzz writer Antonia Wiklund inThe New Nordic
notes a turn away from pale neutrals, washed blues and violets to shades of orange, pink, yellow and red.
Lucena-Orr says there are so many ways to introduce colour into a space besides a major season-based paint project. “Paint one or two walls – or all four – or half walls, below or above picture rails or dados,” she says. Stevenson says that although the feature wall in a statement colour is losing popularity, nevertheless it’s a quick way of changing your palette. “Repainting your front door is also a quick project that has high visibility and sets the tone for the whole home,” she says. Painting a tired piece of furniture, like a bookcase
, in an up-to-the-minute shade is an easy – and reversible – trick.
Another effective paint tactic for a quick mood change is to warm up the wall and brighten your day with some DIY art. Lucena-Orr has a simple suggestion to incorporate some seasonal colours – paint ready-stretched canvasses in seasonal shades. You can swap these around, arrange in different combinations and paint over colours as the whim takes you.
Without picking up a paintbrush, some timely colour tweaks can inject a pleasant snugness into rooms where you tend to hibernate in cold weather. With warm metallics more popular than ever, turn up the thermostat with a lamp that bounces a golden glow around the room, toss a cuddly contrasting throw on a velvety ottoman and swap in a co-ordinating rug to transform a space from cool to cocoon.
Cushions to the rescue! Pick out a few seasonal colours you love and give your sofas and armchairs a boost for winter. DIY cushion covers
are Sewing 101, so new covers won’t take much time to make, or break the bank. Inject a bit of fun with some clashing colours and mix up textures like knits, fur or suede to instantly envelop a room in comfort and cosiness.
Houzz Australia Contributor. Former NZ House&Garden writer and stylist