BY BEN BRANNEN, principal designer with Bespoke Design
With the contemporary movement to bright, airy modern interiors, and the cooler spectrum of colour in today’s homes, achieving that warm, nested feeling you crave in fall and winter can be a design conundrum. Here are a few ideas to consider if you want to warm up a white or light-grey interior and prepare your home for the cool season.
WARMING UP TO IDEAS
Paint colour preferences tend to change with the seasons. For instance, if you were to begin a decorating project during the summer, chances are you would choose a cool palette. In contrast, for a winter painting project you would probably select warmer colours.
So how to do find a balance that will serve you well year round? A good colourist will help you predict your home needs for all seasons so you can avoid that feeling of loving your home only when the summer sun is shining.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT WALLS
Choose a versatile base colour. I’m guilty of enjoying the use of Farrow & Ball’s All White as a staple base. It’s versatile, with just the right mix of fresh and neutral without being cool and blue based, so it works in any season.
Add a feature colour to a wall. If you want to keep to a contemporary, cool palette for the most part while adding a bit of warmth and interest, try using Off Black for a strong contrast.
And don’t be afraid of using black in a small space — it can have the effect of infinity, making a
room feel larger. The important thing to remember is that dark colours are not light-reflective so you may need to compensate with additional lighting.
Add a dash of “hot” with a yellow- or red-based tone. To dramatically warm up an entire room (hint: not for the faint of heart) go for the deep yellow of Farrow & Ball’s Babouche. Or try their Incarnadine as a deep orange-based red on a feature wall. Consider painting your front door in the hot colour you crave this fall. I like to do both sides of the door in the same colour to bring interest to both the exterior and interior.
Farrow & Ball’s Babouche brings a cheerful brightness that intensifies when used in large areas but is never gaudy.
MORE WAYS TO CREATE COZY
Besides paint, there are many ways you can up the coziness factor of your home for the cool seasons. Here are a few great ideas:
Turn up the texture to bring coziness to contemporary neutral spaces. This can be as simple as adding in a textured carpet or linen slipcovers. A smart tip is to have two sets of slipcovers made so you have seasonal versatility, plus these covers can be taken off and laundered at least twice a year.
Don’t shy away from wallpaper. It’s perfect for adding in interest with pattern and visual texture — and you’ll get a tremendous amount of style. So go ahead: wallpaper a feature wall or an entire room. And since wallpaper is something you are going to want to love for a long time, consider using it in a transitional area like a hallway or stairwell instead of a room where you spend lots of time, as you may tire of the pattern. Chosen correctly, the pattern will eliminate the need for artwork as additional decoration.
Add draperies to windows to warm up your interior rooms as the temperature lowers. They can be decorative side panels or full drapes that give you more privacy during months when you spend more time indoors with the lights on.
Transform with lighting. Many contemporary spaces use LED lighting, which trends to shed a cool light spectrum on a room. I prefer using a variety of lighting to get a room’s look just right. While it’s true that incandescent and halogen bulbs add warmth, there are drawbacks: incandescent bulbs are becoming obsolete, and halogen bulbs give off heat. However, there’s plenty of hope for LEDs as bulb makers add more range to their products, from very cool to warm. And, coming soon, you’ll be able to purchase LED bulbs that offer a cool spectrum when bright and a warm spectrum when dimmed.
This interior stairwell space stays true to a neutral grey-and-white scheme but gains warmth thanks to the use of a repetitive wallpaper pattern. Note that larger-scale wallpaper patterns will add to the contemporary styling of a white-neutral home.
GET IN THE GLOW
This eating area has a simple contemporary light fixture that features warm parchment shades, so no matter which type of bulb you choose for it, you’ll see a warm glow through the paper.
YOUR HOME, YOUR CHOICE
Whatever way you choose to warm up your space for fall and winter, have fun with it and enjoy the transformation of your home’s interior — and your mood. Your home’s interior design is not something you should only enjoy during the right months and have to “live with” during the rest. These ideas give you the power to change your home to suit your unique needs, year round.