THE COUNTRY DECORATOR
FROM REGENCY BRIGHTS TO 18TH-CENTURY NEUTRALS, HISTORICAL HUES HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME – HERE’S HOW TO BRING THEM INTO COUNTRY INTERIORS
Design ideas using the latest heritage paint shades
1 Bygone Blue
Throughout the ages, shades of blue have lent themselves beautifully to restful spaces – think living rooms, bedrooms and reading rooms. Inspired by inks used in fountain pens, Squid Ink recreates this relaxed ambience, blending seamlessly with wooden floorboards and ornate cornices. For a contemporary feel, use the same shade for walls and woodwork.
2 Natural surroundings
For subtle elegance that lends itself to country settings, choose colours that mirror those found in nature. Victorians often teamed mossy greens with big patterns on flocks and damasks, but ‘pairing them with wooden furniture and metallic touches brings the look into the 21st century, and evokes the feeling of a textured natural landscape’, says Judy Smith, Colour Consultant at Crown.
3 Nostalgic Neutral
Jonquil shares its name with a paint shade from the 1800s and has yellow-pink undertones that set it apart from modern-day neutrals. ‘These undertones come from red ochre, an earth pigment that’s been used in paints for thousands of years,’ says Edward Bulmer, architectural historian and Founder of Edward Bulmer Paint. ‘They bring warmth to stark stone architectural features such as fireplaces.’
4 Victorian splendour
Austere charcoal shades were seen as restful in Victorian times, often gracing the walls of bedrooms and bathrooms. Nowadays they can have impact in other rooms, too. Sarah Foster, Paint & Wallpaper Category Manager at Fired Earth, recommends Top Hat for modern country kitchens. ‘Classic and simple, it offers a strong backdrop to current trends such as wooden cabinetry and copper accents.’
5 Warm Welcome
Though considered desirable architectural features, high ceilings and large sash windows can leave big rooms, particularly in period properties, feeling somewhat cold and uninviting. In such spaces, combining warm hues, such as Koi Carp (inspired by the jewel-like colours found among the silks of Zoffany’s vast fabric archive) with white woodwork is the perfect way to maintain brightness, while also creating a cosy, lived-in feel.
6 contemporary twist
Owners of stately homes in the early
19th century often looked to gardens for interiors colour inspiration, from leafy greens to strong floral shades like Radicchio. ‘Bright and contemporary, this modern take on a heritage hue can be paired with browns and greys to create a scheme more closely resembling those from the past,’ says Charlotte Cosby, Head of Creative at Farrow & Ball.
7 mellow mood
‘This timeless shade creates an enduring look that translates from season to season, while also referencing past trends,’ says Paula Taylor, Colour & Trends Specialist for Graham & Brown. Combine Infinity with ornate soft furnishings, or tone it back with co-ordinating accent paints or accessories – a Georgian decorating technique – to create a calm, contemporary backdrop that will soothe the senses.
8 Royal entrance
If you’re lucky enough to have a grand staircase, paint the surrounding walls in rich jewel tones to replicate the luxurious look of royal country estates. ‘Regal purples were historically the preserve of the very rich, due to the high cost of violet pigments prior to the industrial age. This strong association with opulence remains today,’ says Helen Moore, Marketing Director at Benjamin Moore.
Walls, painted in Squid Ink, £46.50 for 2.5L pure flat emulsion, Paint & Paper Library.
Wall, painted in (main colour) Steam Engine, £25.49 for 2.5L matt emulsion, Crown. 2
Wall, painted in Jonquil, £45 for 2.5L emulsion, Edward Bulmer. 3
Wall, painted in Top Hat, £39.50 for 2.5L matt emulsion, Fired Earth. 4
Walls and ceiling, painted in Koi Carp £45 for 2.5L flat emulsion, Zoffany.
Wall, painted in (main colour), Infinity, £32 for 2.5L matt emulsion, Graham & Brown. 7
Wall, painted in Radicchio No.96, £43.50 for 2.5L estate emulsion, Farrow & Ball. 6
Walls, painted in Shadow, £61 for 3.79L Regal Select flat emulsion, Benjamin Moore. 8