Design: Sing a rainbow

By Rebecca Bowering

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The colours of the rainbow are taking decorating to new heights this season, says fabric and interior design expert Rebecca Bowering.

The faces of the Manuel Canovas weavers are captured in technicolour on Voyage en Chine fabric and fabulous Brochier colours.
The faces of the Manuel Canovas weavers are captured in technicolour on Voyage en Chine fabric and fabulous Brochier colours.

Aren't rainbows one of the most glorious exhibits of nature? The colours they produce bring a smile to all. When you see a rainbow, it feels like a miracle.

And so it was this week when we launched many of the 2013 collections for the gorgeous brands we represent. The designers "oohed" and "aahed" as we presented fabrics incorporating all colours of the rainbow.

It made me recall the time when my daughter was doing a school project on rainbows. It was a fascinating study (I think I felt more enjoyment from it than Hannah) and to this day when I see a rainbow - or even more spectacular, a mirrored secondary rainbow - I smile and think of the late night I spent putting the finishing touches to the mission. "Roybiv" we used to say to ourselves: red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet. These colours have exploded on to our neutral and minimalist decor palettes with a bang this season.

My theory is that after this long and boring recession we're longing for a miracle to occur - a miracle that, like a rainbow, tells us it's time to smile and marvel again.

Embroidered in a absolute riot of colour.
Embroidered in a absolute riot of colour.

Decorating with a rainbow of colours is great fun, but as with fashion, a little goes a long way and how boldly you use them depends on how brave you want to be.

If you've been following the trend of neutrals, or even coloured neutrals, this is a very big departure and I would suggest you start things slowly. A fabulous chair or ottoman would be a great beginning. Or if you're really quite nervous about the departure into rainbow colours, a couple of cushions may do the trick.

Most of these new multi-coloured extravaganzas are still built upon a neutral base of ivory, taupe or black, so they sit nicely with a neutral sofa. A family or rumpus room looks fun in myriad colours and will create a playful space where everyone will feel joy.

Many of the new fabrics have taken inspiration from the 1950s. Colourful and graphic, they will make a statement in any room. Mix these with plain fabrics, such as gorgeous silk satins or luscious velvets in an array of rainbow colours, for a decor that will make you and anyone visiting smile. Contrasting trims or piping can bring more colour detail to cushions, furniture or drapes. Your room is your canvas. Having a designer on board can take some of the fear away, too.

Glorious and sumptuous Manuel Canovas velvets.
Glorious and sumptuous Manuel Canovas velvets.

Just as a rainbow transforms a stormy sky, colours will give your home life and bring you pleasure.

Atelier Textiles owner and managing director Rebecca Bowering explores the latest textile trends and new interior design ideas every week. For more information visit

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