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By Julie Wishart, this blog first appeared on the Cambridge Evening News website

Choosing a paint colour when decorating, can often be the most difficult decision.  Going for neutrals may seem like a safe bet, but even then, there is a world of options to choose from.

However, as the following beautiful pictures show, with a little courage, colour can be used carefully and thoughtfully throughout your house, and if you get it right, good paint colours are always a winner.

 F&B Blue Gray

The walls in this dining room are painted in Farrow & Ball Blue Gray No.91 Modern Emulsion.  The most gorgeous soft blue which contrasts beautifully with white woodwork and the bright pink and red floral fabric covering the dining chairs.

Fired Earth Earth Storm

Walls Fired Earth Storm from The Paint Collection

A darker shade, of blue/green tempered with pale coloured shutters and warm wooden furniture creates a wonderful atmosphere of calm in a more casual dining room.

Fired Earth bath picture

Fired Earth Flow Bath painted in paint colour Mercury

If you aren’t brave enough to paint your whole bathroom in a strong colour, then opt to paint the side of the bath and you can create a striking focal point in a safely neutral/muted room.

F&B bedroom

Walls Farrow and Ball Pavilion Blue No.252 Estate Emulsion

Soft blues, greens and greys are the gentle colours most prevalent in nature and used in a bedroom they can create a lovely peaceful atmosphere which will induce calm and restful sleep.

F&B kitchen

Walls: Farrow and Ball Shaded White No.201 Modern Emulsion
Woodwork: Farrow and Ball London Stone No.6 Estate Eggshell
Ceiling: Farrow and Ball Strong White No.2001 Modern Emulsion

The kitchen is nowadays often the busiest room in the house, used for cooking, eating, working and entertaining and so it is important when choosing colours to think about the mood you would most like to create.  This kitchen is painted using several neutrals from the same colour group and it has a lovely sense of cohesion.

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Walls painted in Fired Earth Pier Point

Grey neutrals are incredibly popular at the moment – I love this colour from Fired Earth, which is inspired by the colour of sand on a Dorset beach, as it is warm as well as sophisticated. The daring use of strong purple on the skirting boards works beautifully with the quirky accessories in the room.

F&B living room

There is a myth in decorating that blue is a cool colour but as you can see from these glorious walls, it doesn’t have to be! This colour is on the warm part of the spectrum and coupled with fresh white woodwork, it look fabulous and inviting in this Victorian property.

Wall: Farrow and Ball Stone Blue No.86 Estate Emulsion
Woodwork: Farrow and Ball All White No.2005 Estate Eggshell

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After many years of seeing mainly natural stone and neutral coloured tiles, we are noticing a welcome hint of colour returning to our bathroom walls – and about time too we think! Used in the right way, coloured tiles can make a kitchen, bathroom (or any other area you care to tile) rather gorgeous, so be brave and bold and get tiling!

This blog first appeared on the Cambridge News website

These turquoise tiles, coupled with a rather groovy shower curtain, bring more than a hint of retro to this fabulous bathroom

Topps Tiles Patina Matt ceramic Mint 31.9×31.9cm £4.79 per tile.

These beautiful hand decorated tiles bring a stylish Mediterranean feel to them to a room and work particularly well coupled with this wooden worktop and warm blue wall colour.

Fired Earth Andalucia Bodegas tiles £11.95 each 20cm x 20cm

For wannabe celebrities amongst you, the Elite gold collection from Original Style is the only way to go. These mosaics are a mixture of bronze, gun metal and real gold set in glass.

Original Style Elite Kasba £145.16 per sheet 32cm x 32cm 15cm x 7.5cm

Even better than coloured wall tiles, is a mixture of coloured wall tiles! These clever stripes of red and cream work beautifully with the wall of teal coloured brick shaped tiles.

Fired Earth Bon Bon tiles in Teal, Red and Cream 90p each

Using half tiles on a bathroom wall gives a good splash of colour to a tall room without being over-powering and is also practical.

Fired Earth Metropolitan Camden 15cm x 7.5cm 96p each

Tile your bar! These hand moulded tiles are called Funkadelic Carnival Pink (of course they are!) Groovy baby.

Original Style Funkadelic £9.46 per tile 15cm x 15cm

Glass tiles give a lovely glossy finish, particularly with stronger colours. These lime green metro tiles look great as a kitchen splash back.

Topps Tiles Metro Lime Green £5.99 per tile 20cm x 10cm

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Walls in Stone Blue, woodwork in All White, both Farrow and Ball

As we are all currently decorating our houses, there has been an awful lot of talk here at the Angel and Blume office about paint colours that we personally love and although we could probably give you a hundred, here are ten colours that you will find in one or other of our homes and that we think you just can’t go wrong with.

1. Farrow and Ball String.

A beautiful golden colour with just enough brown in it to look classy but enough yellow to be cheerful. (fyi, Kate loves, loves, loves this colour)

2. Fired Earth Orchid Leaf.

One of my personal favourites, this is a warm fresh green with yellow undertones that blends perfectly with the trees seen through a window.

3. Paint Library Stone III

A fantastic neutral that manages to be both warm and contemporary. From the amazingly useful and beautiful architectural colours range from Paint Library.

Masonry in Wimborne white, door in Skimming Stone and railing in Pitch Black, all Farrow and Ball

4. Zoffany Victorian Purple

A really dark moody brown/purple that is absolutely delicious. The office loo is painted in this colour and has gone from being a boring space to a fabulous one!

5. Marston and Langinger Pearl Grey

A gorgeous bluey grey that is masculine and smart but soft and classy enough to use anywhere.

6. Farrow and Ball Elephants Breath.

A gorgeous grey that is warm to the eye but gives a cool neutral flavour to any room scheme. Really classy. (ask Jenny about this colour and watch her go all weird)

7. Paint Library Quench the Gloom

A glorious bluey turquoise which although is quite a strong colour, manages to be subtle and soft at the same time – and a really great name!

Walls painted in Shaded White and
woodwork in London Stone, both
from Farrow and Ball

8. Fired Earth Andaman Sea

This is a really jolly deep blue colour with enough green in it to keep the colour soft. It is aptly named because is conjures up images of a tropical paradise.

 9. Zoffany Beauvais Lilac

This colour starts off looking like a lovely but simple neutral but it has really beautiful undertones of pinky lilac that make it really special.

10. Designers Guild Mother of Pearl

The softest pinky pearl that is subtle and warm and perfect for grown-up girls (and boys too, if there is any left).

Happy decorating from all of us at Angel and Blume!

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With arctic winds sweeping in and snow flurries predicted over the next few weeks its time to batten down the hatches and make sure your home is winter proof for the cold months ahead.

This blog first featured in Cambridge News

LED-Trees-&-Evergreen-Wreat

Make your home as welcoming as possible by lighting up front doors and porches  to guide visitors in from the snow (or rain). Stock up on salt as well to make sure pathways and steps are clear of ice and snow.

fired-earth

Prepare for a flurry of muddy boots by setting aside an area for damp clothes and shoes. If your hallway is carpeted make sure you’ve got a heavy duty door mat to ensure visitors don’t bring the outdoors in with them.

Graham and Green fireplace

If you’re lucky enough to have an indoor fire or woodburner stock up on supplies of pre-seasoned wood and kindling to last you through a few nights and store them in a smart log basket indoors to prevent endless trips out to the woodpile.

lewis-and-wood-DeerPark-F-R

To ensure heat doesn’t escape under the door and out into the night a thick drape across your front door is very effective. Or, for a cheaper option, a draught excluder will help to trap heat indoors and prevent the night air from whistling in.

lewis-and-Wood-LinenTafetta

And finally, layer up. Heap lots of snuggly throws and blankets onto beds to keep them nice and cosy, ensure your windows are thickly curtained to keep out wintry drafts and pile your sofa high with cushions in rich tactile fabrics.

Image credits: The White Company, Fired Earth, Graham and Green, Lewis and Wood

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Mid Century Modern is a trend that has been around for quite a while, inspired perhaps by the popularity of the ‘Mad Men’ TV series and a nostalgic wish for  simpler time. And now, with the forthcoming ‘Pan Am’ TV show set in the early 1960’s about to hit our screens, the trend is having a second revival. We look at some of the best modern interpretations of the era.

(This post first feature in Cambridge News)

This hand painted and hand carved chair by Chelsea Textiles is a great example of the paired back but elegant shapes that epitomised the era. Teamed with a simple but unusual metal lamp this room could have been taken straight from the 1950s but has a simplicity that works just as well today.

The mid century modern colour palette was a bold and vibrant one, perhaps due to a need for warmth and colour in a post-war society.  if you want to capture some of this spirit, Fired Earth have bought out a specific mid century modern paint range with some very strong, eye catching shades.

The punchy yellow from the Fired Earth range makes a real statement as a backdrop to a muted grey and wooden desk. The vintage typewriter is fabulous and much nicer to look at that a modern laptop!

But if a whole wall is too much for you, a simple pop of mid century colour such as in this image, has just as much impact when teamed with a soft grey backdrop and one or two stand out pieces of furniture  from the era.

These nesting metal tables are the stand out feature in this room for me, the pared back shape of each table is fuss free, but beautifully designed and the soft muted colour palette is restrained and beautiful.

Images: Chelsea Textiles and Fired Earth

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Autumn might be fast approaching but  you can still bring a bit of late Summer heat into your home with our pick of the best Moroccan inspired design.

fired earth moroccan tiles

These tiles are brand new from Fired Earth and were inspired by Marrakesh; I love the soft colours and exotic, decorative shape.

fired earth moroccan tiles

The faded and slightly washed out quality of the floor tiles from the same collection is wonderfully subtle and the warm sandy colour evokes hot, sunny climes.

You can’t do Moroccan style without a metal lantern and Graham and Green stock some of the best on the high street. I love the contrast of this silver metal version against the smoky blue wall.

And finally, these leather pouffes add a shot of colour and are perfect for low-level lounging with a cup of mint tea served up on a decorative metal tray.

Image credits: Fired Earth, Graham and Green

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Choosing the right paint colour can seem totally overwhelming as there are so many options available. But don’t panic, we show you how to narrow down these options and find the perfect paint colour for your home.

(This article first appeared on the Cambridge News website)

Your first step is to find the correct paint range for you, this will immediately help to edit your options. For example if you like strong, historical paint colours, the Little Green Paint Company have a range of  true historic colours authenticated by English Heritage. Or if you prefer more subtle neutrals the Paint Library have an Architectural Colours range which consists of pastel whites and neutrals arranged in graduated shades of tone.

sanderson_paint

Next, buy tester pots of the colours you like and paint up a sample, as large as possible, at least A4 sized to put on the wall. This will give you an idea of what the colour will look like in situ and will allow you to refine your choices.

firedearth

While the paint sample is on the wall look at it in different lights, a colour can look totally different at various stages throughout the day and you will need to take this into account.

You will also need to look at how the colour will work with the rest of your scheme such as flooring, curtains and furniture. You can’t choose a paint colour in isolation as it will need to complement and work with all of the other elements in your scheme.

And finally consider your woodwork and ceiling as well. Do you want to make a feature out of skirting and cornicing or do you want to keep it neutral? In this image by Farrow and Ball the woodwork has been painted a strong, dark colour to contrast with the light wall colour above to create a dramatic effect.

Image credits: Little Greene Paint Company, Sanderson, Fired Earth, Farrow and Ball

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Your hallway is the first glimpse that visitors will get into your home so consider your decor carefully to make sure you show off your house to its best advantage.

A slim console table set near to your front door for keys and post is useful but try and keep it as uncluttered as possible to promote a feeling of calm when you step through the door. A vase of flowers is lovely as well, to greet visitors and family.

This image by Sally Storey for John Cullen lighting is a great example of using multiple light sources for different purposes; notice the floor level lighting mixed in with spotlights and uplights. You might not need quite this much lighting in your hallway but it’s worth giving it some careful thought and if you are not sure consider getting an expert to help you plan this stage.

A simple row of coat pegs makes a feature of hats and scarves and the shoes lined up below look neat and practical. Painting the woodwork a bold shade is a clever way to add interest to a simple scheme.

The hallway is the traditional place for a telephone table, although with cordless phones this is no longer the case in many homes. But if you do decide to have a telephone table, hanging a painting above and adding a vase of fresh flowers makes it into a pretty display. A smart notepad and pen are useful for jotting down names and numbers.

Hampton Terracotta shown with a complementary natural floor covering

A jaunty stair runner like this one by Roger Oates makes a feature out of your staircase and is a practical, hardwearing solution to endless feet traipsing up and down.  Your hall carpet will also need to be sturdy to cope with the high level of footfall and for most homes the sturdier the carpet the better!

Image credits: Angel+ Blume, Sally Storey for John Cullen, Fired Earth, Roger Oates

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The Festival of Britain was held in the summer of 1951 and was a celebration of recovery and the promotion of good design in the rebuilding of towns and cities following the end of the war. Celebrations are being held this year to mark the 60th Anniversary and there are some great interiors products on the market to mark the occasion.

Kevin McCloud has produced a collection of six fabulous paint colours (Mid Century colours) for Fired Earth that really capture the spirit of the era. From very bright Race Yellow and Festival Orange to very smart Skylon Grey, they work beautifully together to create a bold dramatic look.

Fired Earth paint Fired Earth PaintFired Earth paint

Sanderson Fabrics has produced a gorgeous collection of 50s fabrics and in amongst them is the beautiful Festival print which is a reproduction of a design created especially for the Festival of Britain. There are five great colourways and it’s tough enough to use for upholstery.

Sanderson Festival fabricSanderson Festival fabric

Mini Moderns have created this gorgeous wallpaper in three colourways which completely captures the mid-century modern feel and features architectural landmarks of the Festival including the Skylon, the Royal Festival Hall and the Dome of Discovery.

Mini Moderns wallpaperMini Moderns wallpaper

If you feel in the mood to celebrate but are not in the market for refurbishing your home (!), you might be more inclined to one of these lovely prints from Lizzie Allen (left) or Paul Catherall (right) available from the online shop at the South Bank Centre. Happy celebrating!

Lizzie Allen PrintRichard Catherall print

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