If you’re craving an escape from the heat and stresses of the day, pale and interesting rooms could be the answer. A neutral palette is not only fashionable, but visually restful.
“We believe in putting together a relaxed and comfortable home that reflects your own particular lifestyle and personality, and the quest to create a happy home - not a show home - is paramount,” explains stylist Atlanta Bartlett, who, along with her husband, Dave Coote, is co-author of Pale & Interesting, a guide to decorating with a muted palette of subtle shades, for harmonious, soothing interiors.
“A laid-back, relaxed look stems from an easygoing attitude and is conjured with neutral tones and clever use of contrast. Then make it your own by pairing functional with decorative, elegant with casual, hand-made with man-made, and old with new.”
Take your pick from a sophisticated "Chic White" scheme or "Shades of Pale", a fresh interpretation of rustic.
“This simple way of decorating - with a predominantly white palette - creates spaces that feel calm, spacious and uncluttered,” says Atlanta.
“When it comes to furniture and accessories, less is more. Stick to one or two key pieces and allow them plenty of space to breathe so they can speak for themselves. Soften the look with colour for accents and focal points. Chalky pastels, off-whites, greys and neutrals will add just the right amount, without being overbearing or fussy even one bright blue cushion in an all-white scheme will offer a welcome place to rest your eye.”
Decor tip: If you have a family and pets, use washable wall paints, opt for painted floorboards rather than carpets, and plenty of easy-care loose covers so the space is practical and beautiful.
Shades of pale
This is all about a gentle, pared-back, country-style interior, which celebrates natural textures, tones and upcycling. “Ensure your home has depth and interest by exploring the use of texture and form,” advises Atlanta.
“Take inspiration from nature’s earthy tones and combine rough with smooth, geometric with organic, and light with dark.
“Recycling and reusing are essential Not only do they lighten the load on the world’s natural resources, they’re also easy on your pocket and will help you to create an individual one-off style.
“Furniture and accessories that show signs of wear-and-tear are like dear old friends, full of warmth and character. Think of textures like shades on a paint palette and combine surfaces as you would colours. Bear in mind that heavier, coarser ones, like wood, stone or linen, lend themselves to a more relaxed, rustic look.”
Decor tip: Architectural reclamation companies are a recycler’s dream. Plunder them for pieces such as old shutters, which can be transformed into fitted cupboards; a pile of roof slates can be given a new lease of life as a tabletop and an old window fitted with mirrored glass could be a stunning centrepiece for a hallway.