At home: Colour your world

Interior stylist LeeAnn Yare shares how to be colour confident in the home.

Melissa Bowman's lounge. Photo / Larnie Nicolson
Melissa Bowman's lounge. Photo / Larnie Nicolson

The biggest trend being showcased in interiors worldwide right now is all about creating colourful and eclectic spaces that are well lived-in and full of personality. As an interiors stylist I'm a firm believer that even the most drab or underwhelming home can by made to look amazing, as it's often more about the stuff inside and how it's styled that gives it the wow factor. It's a refreshing change to see that minimalism has taken a back seat, and a definite "more is more" approach has taken hold. Let colour be your friend, and fill your home with things you love that show your personality - an eclectic mis-matched look is always eye-catching and interesting. Be passionate about your favourite things no matter how quirky. Here are some tips to help you get colour confident and personal in your own home.

Dollars and sense

Use your budget wisely. An easy way to achieve this is with wallpaper. Starting at well under $100 a roll it is an affordable way to completely change the look of a room. Wallpaper is hot, the bigger and bolder the design and colour, the better.

If you fancy the idea but you aren't quite convinced about an entire room then make a statement on one wall or create a panel as wide as you like using architrave to frame the edges.

Trade up

Go through your entire home and list everything you don't want on the internet, or get together with some friends and have a group garage sale; your trash is always someone else's treasure. Use your proceeds to buy what you really want, even if it's only a deposit! As co-designer for both Meluka and Apartmento furniture, Melissa Bowman says "Invest in a few timeless quality pieces that will last the distance, then you can mix in second-hand treasures and bargain buys. At home we favour a black and white palette with some bold colour injections, my favourites include acid yellow, kelly green and orange," Melissa's biggest interior nightmare is homes that look like furniture catalogues. "Real homes need a sense of humour and a soul," she says.

Colouring in

The most dramatic transformations can come from a tin of paint. It's easy and affordable; for the cost of a few lattes you can work miracles. Dated 70s wood can become modern chic with a couple of coats in white, and make a dark space feel fresh and much larger. "Embrace colour," says director and designer of fashion label Federation Jenny Clegg. "Each Federation range starts with the concept of what we would wear and that is exactly the approach we took to our home, we treated the entire project like designing a range, your home should be an extension of who you are. We painted a wall in our open plan downstairs living space in Resene "Onepoto" as a colourful contrast. Simple wooden crates create an eye-catching display, screwed on to the wall they are a successful storage idea. "If splashing colour about on the walls scares you, then recover a second-hand chair with a bold colour or pattern, it will accentuate the architectural form. Try collecting a group of items in a single colour family and display them together; use varied tones on different objects for an expressive display."

Kitchen confidential

A stylish kitchen need not break the bank. Don't be afraid of tackling this room because of what you imagine it may cost. If you can't afford to start from scratch you may be able to give your old kitchen a serious makeover with a few easy ideas. Remove the cabinetry doors and spray them a new colour adding some new handles, or replace that old round-edged bench top with a contemporary square-edged one. We removed dated curved wall cupboards and replaced them with Ikea stainless steel shelving for a more industrial look, while a left-over wallpaper roll has cleverly covered beige cabinetry and created a statement around the kitchen bench.

Recycle, reuse, relove

Look at your existing room and decide if what you have could be made better. Take your cue from the home of interior designer and fashion writer Anya Brighouse. She says "Virtually any dining table can be modernised with colourful new chairs. An old sofa or chair may have been inherited from your grandmother, but if it's a great shape a simple recovering in a funky fabric can make it a statement piece. A vintage lamp base can be given a new lease of life with an updated shade, or a couple of coats of gloss to the base in a fabulously bright colour."

Art collector

Think outside the square when it comes to interesting and affordable art. My own kitchen has become somewhat of a gallery, which is how I have taken the emphasis away from our boring beige cabinetry. Old bus blinds and advertising posters make graphic statements or hang a miss-matched collection of vintage plates. Photocopy interesting images from your favourite coffee table book such as scenes from old movies or interesting places, or take your own photos of intriguing things like different shaped white Crown Lynn vases. I even framed a printed tea-towel.

- NZ Herald

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