A very useful list of colour combinations that work well together by Abigail Ahern, one of Britain's top interior decorators. You can even change the tone if the darker version isn't to your taste, and they still work. Instead of charcoal and magenta, pale grey and pink is a lovely colour combination (as done in Christian Dior's swoon worthy new flagship fashion and interiors storeon New Bond Street in London).
After weeks of dry (which does not always equal nice) weather, the heavens opened yesterday and the temperature dropped as we had a day of low cloud and rain. Much needed for the garden but it was dank and chilly. At the end of the working day, I rushed home, walked into my house, kicked off my Hunter rubber lace-up brogues (for the wet, but still cool looking) and took off my waxed parka (also for the wet) - we British are well versed in fashion for the wet, put a few gentle lights on, switched on the heating (yes, in England one occasionally has to pop the heating on for an hour or so to take the chill off even in the summer), and made my husband and I cheese on toast with a big mug of tea for dinner (pretend there is an arty pic here of melted cheese on perfectly done toast and a steaming mug of tea). Some days you just need comfort food. It never tasted better and I was as happy as could be watching the rain fall outside and feeling warm and secure inside. As I had walked into my partially finished house this particular evening, I was reminded of something I read written by interior designer, author and style guru Abigail Ahern in her book "Colour" that really stuck with me. She wrote,
"The ability of colour to transform surroundings, to excite, inspire, tantalise and calm, is second to none. It has changed my life. I know this sounds super dramatic, but it's true. Colour has given me a home that I never want to leave. It has made me happier. When I put my key in the door at the end of a long day I get this squishy feeling of contentment that envelopes me, and it is all because of colour. I can assure you, a white hallway just wouldn't have the same effect!"
Painted in Canton by Little Greene with black eggshell wood trim and an art deco door from ebay. My non-white "enveloping" hallway which is STILL not finished after 3 years, but still gives me joy as I walk in the door. Or is that because the well stocked cocktail cabinet is right there.....
She has a point about having a home that "envelopes" and makes one feel happy, secure and....at home. That is exactly how I felt when I walked in my door. And the truth is, I feel the same whether the weather is bad or not. This, in a nutshell, is why we put time and money into our houses: decorating, furnishing, accessorising and have done ever since we started to build homes. Ms Ahern has three rules: 1) Make it personal 2) Take risks (I translate that to "ditch the rules") and 3) Be curious. This is interesting. Sometimes people worry about decorating and are not sure what to do. Somewhere along the road, there were whispered rules about how one should decorate and this has had the effect in many cases of inhibiting people and stop them from creating something truly personal, taking them away from creating a home. As Ms Ahern says, "The more you ditch the rules, the more intriguing a room becomes". And more personal of course. If you look through her book you will see that Ms Ahern is totally at peace with using dark colours for decorating.
My dark living room, walls painted in Farrow & Ball's Blue Black and my gorgeously comfortable sofa (Rupert range) from Habitat in emerald green velvet. The room is even more cocooning at present as the curtain rail is broken and the curtains have to remain closed. My husband and I totally unwind here binge watching box sets (currently "Game of Thrones" - are we late to that party or what?) cutting ourselves off completely from the outside world for short, precious, spells, recharging the batteries.
This would send many running to the hills, but, to digress slightly, in fact she is right about them. They are underrated and seriously gorgeous to use. We wear dark colours because they are flattering. Well, the same applies for walls. But I am not about to tell you to use dark colours. Colour is your choice and I couldn't agree more with Ms Ahern: just make it personal.
Ultimately, we all gravitate to making a nest and there is no better feeling than walking through our front doors, breathing a sigh of contentment and feeling a shiver of pleasure at being home.
That, in a nutshell, is why we decorate.
PS. Ms Ahern does have another recommendation and since we at The Stencil Library are all about pattern, I feel I should pass it on :) As she says, "Pattern is a fundamental part of design"