A Cat’s Lick and a Promise
I absolutely love Christmas!!! Everything seems brighter, warmer and cosier. Houses are beautifully decorated and welcoming. Folks are full of the Christmas spirit – and not only the type that comes from a bottle! Then there’s New Year, and a feeling of hope and optimism, a feeling that despite the government’s ubiquitous spending cuts things really are getting better and there’s so much to look forward to. And then there’s . . . well not much really. A bit of an anti-climax. Twelfth night duly arrives, down come the decorations and the house looks barer than ever. It can even look a bit tatty. Perhaps it was like that before Christmas and we just didn’t notice. We’re all spent out, and dreading the arrival of the January credit card statement, so a major facelift is out of the question.
Well worry not. A cat’s lick and a promise, as my old mum used to say God rest her, really can go a long way. Whether it’s a tired looking living room, a long neglected dining room (that has probably just seen it’s once a year visit), or a hall that has lost it’s oomph, a coat of paint can work wonders. If your walls are already painted you’d be amazed at how much fresher the room will look if you just give them another coat or two – even if it’s the same colour. But while you’re at it why not change the colour? It could either be a dramatic alteration, giving the room a complete change of direction, or an enhancement of your current colour, making the room feel warmer and cosier.
When it comes to paint colours, these days you truly are spoilt for choice. In recent years Little Greene have established themselves as a real brand leader. Using up to 40% more pigment than competitors, their colours have a magnificent depth to them, and are actually better priced than some of the so-called premium brands. It’s funny, but I’ve never come across a decorator who doesn’t rave about Little Greene, or a decorator who does rave about other manufacturers beginning with an F and a B. (last time I mentioned that, said manufacturer got all huffy and closed our account). Little Greene began many years ago with their Colours of England range, developed in collaboration with English Heritage, and went on to produce Colour Scales, taking 12 of their best colours and expanding them into 4 hues of each colour. In 2013 they launched the Grey colour card. This was an instant hit, a proven palette of graduated greys, formulated on 4 naturally occurring pigments; Verdigris, Umber, Ochre and Red Oxide.
Well now they’ve done it again. Their latest offering, released last autumn, is the aptly named Blue range. Comprising 21 shades, 17 of which are previously unpublished by Little Greene, this really is the colour blue at its very best. As you would expect, the palette encompasses a wide spectrum of tones, from confident indigo to calm linen hues. These are truly beautiful colours, which, when teamed up with Little Greene’s standards such as Joanna, Hammock and Rolling Fog defy anyone to utter the word cold.
And if you feel like taking things a little further why not consider a wallpaper? Wallcovering manufacturers are definitely catching on that not everyone wants a feature wall, and that not every room can take a large pattern. There are a whole host of fabulous textures on offer, as well as some delightfully subtle prints. Mind you, if you do like to make a statement there are still some truly mouth-watering papers to choose from.
There are of course many other ways to refresh your home without spending a fortune. The humble cushion is often overlooked, but can become a little hero when it comes to adding pizzazz. You may have found a fabulous fabric that you’d love to have as curtains but can’t stretch to right now. It only needs a couple of metres to make four scatter cushions to throw on the sofa or bed. Failing that, you can liven up your living room by adding scatter cushions in a vibrant plain or textured fabric, and teaming them up with co-ordinating accessories such as lamps or vases. Generally speaking the smaller the item, the more intense the colour can be without upsetting the balance of a room.
New bed linen can often do the trick in a bedroom, as can a change of bedside lamps (there really are some stunning lamps to be had at the moment !!!), or even just lampshades. A tired carpet or a bare wood floor will almost certainly be enhanced by a rug, or possibly two. Here again, the world’s your lobster. Choose from a myriad of tightly woven textures and patterns, or deep, sumptuous shaggy rugs you could easily loose a small child in.
So there you are. Hopefully that’s whetted your appetite, and kick-started your creative juices for 2016. Happy New Year !!!
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - January 2016
Images above or far right courtesy of The Little Greene Paint Company Limited.