Colour me happy

Clashing colours will lift your spirits for spring
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Vibrantly clashing colours are spring's big fashion trend. Think lilac, orange, fuchsia, lime and citron - then do a mental mix.

This look has flashed from catwalk to the street as Londoners strut their stuff in clashing hot hues.

Homes have quickly caught the colour bug. Young designer Henry Holland electrified London Fashion Week last month with outré colourful outfits in graded neon shades inspired by paint cards.

Different strokes


Paint, of course, is the best ally of every colour addict. But you won't find top tints in the can at B&Q. You'll need to explore a clutch of boutique brands that currently fill the gaps between Crown and Dulux.

A neat website called www.poshpaint.co.uk (01837 55565) can send out a perfect paint package - a set of colour cards from the nine best names for just under a fiver.

Wall stickers from Rockett St George
Wall stickers (from £98). Visit www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Though located in Devon, it is inundated with calls from Londoners desperate to sort their Fired Earth from their Farrow & Ball. Paint ordered by lunchtime can usually be delivered the next day.

A racy on-screen wheel fulfils colour fantasies at the click of a mouse. But it's safer to get initial tester pots since you're probably not playing safe here.

'Bright colours give off good vibes on their own, but are electrifying when used together'



Designers Guild (020 7893 7400) still has the most shocking pink, telling turquoise and loudest lime, so you could cut to the chase, going straight to its showroom at 275 King's Road, SW3. Or buy paints, order shade cards and testers at www.designersguild.com/ukshop-online/paint.

Queen of colour Tricia Guild has been doing brights since the Eighties - the last
time they were in. "Vivid colours didn't really go away," Guild says. "It was just
that minimalism was all-white-on-the night. Our colours were waiting. Now it's their turn again, but balance them with white ceilings and neutral floors - of wood, perhaps, or stone or a wool carpet."

Brian Yates wallpaper
Wallpaper by Brian Yates, £63 a roll (www.brian-yates.co.uk)
Gill Nono (01282 471622; www.nono.co.uk) is a daring pattern designer who's always bang on trend with fabrics and papers for her own brand. "Bright colours give off good vibes on their own, but are electrifying when used together," she says. "Team up poppy and fuchsia, acid and aqua, dove grey and vitamin C orange. Ignore old worries about pairing pink with red or blue with green - clashing colour is where it's at."

Colours truly "ping", she says, if mixed with white, or with black for an edgier more dramatic feel. And Nono is never timid. "Go full on," she says, "do out a whole room in an intense shade, adding equally bold accents with cushions, flowers, and other accessories."

'Colour is a very London thing - the Italians and the French just don't get it'



London's neutral backdrops of stone and brick are the perfect canvas for brilliant brights. Ethnic touches of brilliant colour enliven London's streets, from Brixton to Brick Lane. Shop windows and hoardings intensify the colour mix, and everywhere is the arresting red of buses and postboxes.

"Actually, colour is a very London thing - the Italians and the French just don't
get it," says designer Nitin Goyal (07765 537499; www.nitingoyal.com) from East London. New cushions are dip-dyed in vivid combos of turquoise and lime, yellow and cerise. They're on sale at Heal's in Tottenham Court Road, W1, in three sizes from £65 to £105 (www.heals.co.uk).

Ikea drop-leaf table, £26.43
Ikea drop-leaf table, £26.43 (www.ikea.com)

Making an exhibition of colour


Significant Colour is an exhibition that will open later this spring at Aram Designs in Kean Street, WC2 (www.thearamgallery.org). Curator Ptolemy Mann is a weaver and architectural colour consultant.

Dominating the show will be a large slab-like sofa by Moroso with a pixellated pattern, designed by Christian Zuzunaga, who is also making special window blinds.

In store for you


Shop buyers are right behind the colour trend. "Yes, it's green - and pink and yellow - for go, and it's so exciting," says Sally Bendelow, head of design at M&S.

Polly Dickens has been running a Colour It Bright promotion at the Conran Shop (www.conranshop.co.uk). Having travelled extensively in India, she recalls how vivid the colours are there. A new Conran Shop collection in "mashroo" traditional Indian silk-cotton fabric has "wildly bright" striped and tucked cushion covers and quilts with jade green appliqué detail.

John Lewis picnicware
Set of four tumblers (£6); Dotty large bowl (£6); and four sundae glasses (£10), from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
Try Ikea for inexpensive chairs and tables, or the Conran Shop for updated classics, including a green Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer (1925). Just one bright appliance will jazz up a kitchen. Dualit toasters, for example, come in a staggering 11 colours (from www.pots-and-pans.co.uk). Smeg fridges and dishwashers are similarly multi-hued (www.smeguk.com).

Accessorise


At home, brights can be tiring over a long period. So maybe keep them for a changeable feature wall, or for one wall of the hall, or for a downstairs loo.

Towels that clash are an easy update for bathrooms - M&S towel bales (four towels and two facecloths) cost £7.50. Add cushions, pillowcases and a vivid throw. Turn the tables with coloured cloths, napkins and runners, and add coloured glasses and candles.

Funky acrylic or melamine picnicware also make a fab table.

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