Colour Your Imagination; Gabrielle Fagan Discovers How Colour Is the Key to the Latest Home Decor Trends

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Byline: Gabrielle Fagan

COLD winds outside are icy proof that winter''s far from over, but thankfully welcome winds of change are blowing through home style.

Bland neutrals have finally been given the boot and colour has triumphed, meaning that in 2010 rooms will glow with warmth and character. Feel free to use beautiful, blooming florals, or add impact with strong blocks of colourmimicking catwalk styles. Even devotees of cool monochrome schemes should add injections of colour to bring them bang up to date. Be cool and contemporary with zingy accents of bubblegum pink, citrus yellow and lime, or opt for rich, luscious plums and purples and lipstick reds for a glamorous, luxurious look.

Throw caution to the wind and mix elements of different styles, eras, colours and patterns to create a look that works for you.

Generally, people are more at ease about their taste, and this year will be ready and willing to experiment, predicts leading interior designer Anita Kohn, at Living In Space.

They''re going to want to make interior design statements to add 'wow'' factor to rooms, with bold wallpaper prints continuing to be a strong and popular trend.

It''s about being imaginative rather than feeling you have to slavishly follow one style, agrees Alan Hughes, director of Inchbald School of Interior Design.

Interior design has grown up in the last few years, he says.

Replicating a design or scheme 'off the peg'' seen in a magazine for a lifeless hotel look is very yesterday.

Instead, homes should be personal reflections of their owners, where treasured possessions complementary in colour, texture and form are displayed, and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed.

Whichever style you follow, make sure you make it your own.

set the and Make do and mend is all the rage in these impoverished times, she points out, and that''s resulting in a fashion for craft.

Sophisticated stencilling has made a comeback, with an emphasis on achieving a handpainted look, says Anita. Make your own stencils or buy ones ready-made, and apply to unexpected areas such as skirting boards, pieces of furniture, and otherwise dull corners and alcoves.

There''s no need to worry about busting the budget - a few rolls of wallpaper, a pot of paint and a new accessory could be all you need to give your home a New Year lift.

So don''t stay out in the cold!

Follow our experts' guide to the hot new trends for interiors.

GO FOR SPRING GREENS Greens, once only seen in dull public buildings like schools or town halls, are emerging as the most versatile colour for homes.

Soft, deep shades such as moss greens are renowned for their calming effect, but don''t overlook bright leaf green and lime, which are starring on everything from textiles to wall coverings. Introducing shades inspired by nature is an ideal way to freshen up a neutral scheme, says Mockie Harrison, manager of John Lewis''s Home Design Studio.

Spring is in the air, so where better to look for inspiration than the evocative charms of the verdant British countryside? Our collection, Forage, evokes the natural and harmonious nature of the woodlands. Look out for unfinished timber, and colour is key. Soft honey and cool neutral tones are juxtaposed against vibrant hues such as leaf green, pumpkin, purple and kingfisher blue.

TIP: Muted greens team well with soft mimosa yellows, warm ambers, and bronzes. …