A STYLE ALL YOUR OWN
This year, decors are largely inspired by the tastes and preferences of a home's occupants. An unusual use of colour is a great way to personalize your living space. Try soft, floral hues with bright or dark colours. Black is also back in use, particularly to highlight an architectural element, and can be emphasized by combining it with a fresh, bright colour -- such as pale blue -- for a more joyous and lively touch.
To instill a mood both romantic and futuristic, softer nuances and chalk whites mix well with pure purple and dark slate. If a room is already painted a neutral colour, a bright, floral colour on only one wall will create a totally personalized mood, with the accessories -- cushions, bedding or a rug -- in other colour combinations providing the finishing touches.
If simplicity reigns in 2009, it certainly won't be lifeless, with ultra-bold and unusual colour combinations (like peach and fuchsia, mustard yellow and teal, electric blue and dark slate) getting top billing. The goal: daring to achieve a unique look by mixing and matching influences. To make this style more accessible, vibrant hues blend nicely with pastels or very dark tones and can be complemented with neutral colours. If you're afraid to try chicer colours, the colour-blocking technique is a practical and very trendy option. It consists of using colour in only one section (be it a strip, a rectangle or a square) rather than applying it to the entire room. To make the most of this look, the other walls should be painted a pale and neutral colour, even a pure white. BACK TO NATURE
Recent seasons have been marked by a surging environmental movement that's still going strong this year; now, however, the trend is purer and more pared down than ever. The objective is to combine simplicity, durability and minimalism in an effort to create rooms that are pleasant and down-to-earth. Driving this trend are materials and textures inspired by nature, such as stone and wood, which set the overall tone for decor, with rich botanical hues -- green or yellow -- brought in to magnify the look. For an atmosphere at once relaxing and lively, these colour tones can be coupled with whites, fresh and creamy beiges or pale greys. COLOUR NOTES
- Red coupled with purple yields a burgundy, even a brick red; tinged with pink, it acquires a fresh andlively feel.
- Sprout-inspired greens shot through with yellow confer an all-new softness. A small amount of blue creates a fresher and more metallic effect.
- Violet, last year's star colour, warms up when red is added.
- Grey, the new neutral, is now a classic available in several shades. It marries well with all colours and has a place in decors traditional and contemporary. This year, a delicate touch of green lends a more subtle effect.
- Orange is a budding star when it comes to warming up a decor.
- Very pale or reddish blue has also found its way back onto designer palettes.