SPRING IS IN THE AIR Now that the daffodils are up and the sun has put in an appearance, it feels as though winter is finally losing its grip. Much as I love cosy nights by the fire, I am looking forward to seeing some greenery in the hedgerows. With the lighter evenings comes the urge to revamp the house. While snug, womb-like colours do the trick in winter, I am veering towards brighter and fresher shades now. The wonderfully named Churlish Green from Farrow and Ball (www.farrow-ball.com) is a lovely, soft shade of green, which will work well throughout the year. Other options are Cooking Apple Green, Folly Green and Saxon Green - it's worth buying them for the names alone. If a warm, sunny yellow is more your style, then check out Babouche - it's a powerful shade, but will certainly make a statement. When you are painting a room, remember that you will need two coats to get a smooth, even effect, and a proper depth of colour. Also, make a note of the colour, that way you can touch-up chips and dirty marks without having to re-paint the whole space.
LIGHTEN UP WITH QUIRKY ACCESSORIES Don't take interior design too seriously, there's plenty of opportunity to have some fun with a few tongue-in-cheek accessories. I was very taken with these doggie door stops, and they are particularly appropriate to feature now, as famous dog show Crufts, is taking place this weekend. Made from vintage silk, no two dogs are identical, and each dog comes with its own leather collar. Look up www.simoncarter.net for further info. Continuing the canine theme, Roullier White has ecological puppy and dog shampoo. Dogs love to leap on sofas, beds and chairs, so keeping their coats squeaky clean with a regular bath will help save your soft furnishings. Look up www.roullierwhite.com for more details. And for those who fancy a sneaky tipple, check out the Hair of the Dog hip flask - www.uniqueandunity.co.uk | 1. Spring shades from Farrow and Ball | 2. Doggy door stops bring a sense of fun to your home | 3. Cushions add colour and comfort to every room Yvonne Jones is a Royal College of Art trained designer, and owner of Chameleon Interiors. Call 029 2037 1277 or visit www.chameleoninteriors.co.uk ADD A SPLASH OF COLOUR Cushions are an easy way to add a splash of colour to a room. Once you have the cushion pad, you can rotate the covers to suit the time of year or your mood. The Rose Bird cushion in a vibrant lime green, captures the brightness of spring. It's available from Graduate Collection - www.graduatecollection.co.uk Cushions have been with us since the early Middle Ages, when the inventories of large houses listed them. In those times, a cushion was a luxury item - indeed, in the Spanish court, a plump cushion was considered a worthy substitute for a chair. We are lucky now, as cushions have become increasingly affordable, and we can indulge ourselves by scattering them liberally on sofas and on our beds. Try mixing textures to create a rich, tactile effect - look at combining tweed, silk, leather, velvet, suede and cotton. Also bring in a range of colours, and, if you get tired of a particular combo, mix and match them with cushions from other rooms.