Get a dose of vitamin C – this zesty shade is making its way back into our homes
PANTONE 376 C
In 1753, a treatise was published that, by the end of the 19th century, resulted in a nickname, first for British sailors, and then for the British in general. It was a study into scurvy, a disease that was decimating the Royal Navy faster than any enemy action. Take a 1740s expedition in the Pacific Ocean, for example; 1,300 men out of a total of 2,000 were lost to the disease. Scurvy, we now know, is the result of a lack of vitamin C – but at the time, the cause was a mystery and treatments a combination of guesswork and superstition. James Lind, a Scottish physician and the author of the 1753 treatise, was the first person to test the efficacy of citrus fruits in preventing and treating scurvy and, by 1800, all British sailors were given doses of lime in their daily rations – this nutritional quirk earning them the moniker of ‘ limeys’.
Just like people, colours can suffer from image problems, and lime green is a case in point. Many scoff at the very idea that this shade is worthy of admiration. For most, it recalls unlamented styles of the late 1980s and 90s, rather than its fruity namesake. And yet, surely the idea of a lime revival isn’t so far-fetched. Greens of all kinds have been in vogue for some time – chartreuse, lime punch and leaf have all been name-checked by Pantone and trend forecasters as shades to watch – and lime itself is a colour that seems to tie into many wider cultural moods. On one hand, it is natural, reminding us of the outdoors – especially the ongoing obsession with all things tropical. On the other, its brighter, neon incarnations are anything but organic. The spring/ summer 2018 fashion catwalks were full of an acidic, almost toxic shade that has futuristic, sci-fi undertones.
Used in the home, lime is a strong, vibrant colour – one that Designers Guild currently has an affinity for. The brand’s paint range includes two takes on the popular shade – ‘Lime Tree’ and ‘ Varese Leaf’ ( both £44 for 2.5 litres; designersguild.com). The first is softer, the second packs a zesty punch. For those who don’t want to commit to an entire wall of bold lime, there are plenty of bright accessories, particularly for kitchens and bathrooms, where the hue’s freshness and energy work. For example, try Habitat’s ‘Sintra’ tableware range (from £8 for a bowl; habitat.co.uk) or Jonathan Adler’s ‘Mykonos’ canister decorated with gold detailing (£98; uk.jonathanadler.com). Sure, the concept of a lime trend in homeware may take some getting used to, but sometimes a little dose of the unexpected can be good for you.