Mad About . . .

Welcome Back: Beautiful Rooms for Autumn

5th September 2022
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Hello! I hope you have all had lovely summers – perhaps a rest – or perhaps now the rest begins if children have gone back to school. The blog is back too and I was hoping to be able to share some news with you this week but it hasn’t quite happened yet so fingers crossed it still will and you will be the first to know. Well maybe second…

design by plain english

design by plain english

In the meantime shall we slip back into September and the start of the year with something comforting and familiar? There’s a lot to be said for new and exciting, but when things are as precarious and worrying in the world as they are right now it can be reassuring to dig those sheepskin slippers out from the wardrobe and put on a comfy cardigan that makes no demands on one.

design by plain english

design by plain english

So while Summer prepares to fold up her shorts for the last time and make way for Autumn who is quietly looking out some cosy socks, let’s have a stroll through some beautiful rooms. This week the theme has turned out to be a warm blue – not a colour I have ever used in my interiors – but one that when paired with warm caramel is both warm and autumnal  and also reminiscent of summer skies – perfect for September in fact. It’s also one that I find it suddenly calling to me although it would necessitate a complete change of furniture so perhaps not…

design by Morrisstudio (@tom___morris). Photographed by @paul_massey for @houseandgardenuk

design by Morrisstudio (@tom___morris). Photographed by @paul_massey for @houseandgardenuk

But I can still appreciate the beauty of this shade and it lifts the spirits to look at it for sure. I have long been a fan of using a disrupter colour in a room and the cobalt blue wardrobes above do exactly that. I, like many of you who live in period properties, have rooms with chimney breasts and alcoves either side and the problem is that the wardrobes always stick out beyond the fireplace. In my son’s room I painted the cupboards to match the wall to try and make them disappear – they didn’t. Then, about ten years ago I painted the chimney breast in a contrasting colour in the classic way. That doesn’t look great either but now he won’t let me change it. When I saw this I felt instantly that this is the solution.

I have said before that if you have a strong feature that you don’t like but can’t hide, then you should celebrate it instead. These wardrobes, which are beautifully simple – note that curve detail on the side – don’t disappear into the recess so the designer, Morris Studio, has turned them into an eye-catching and glorious feature. As long as you pick a colour you adore you won’t go wrong and these really make a statement in this bedroom which has a subdued  and more restful colour scheme on the walls and floor.

bathroom design by lonika chande

bathroom design by lonika chande

This bathroom, by Lonika Chande, has a similar colour scheme to the bedroom above – albeit with softer versions of the same colours. Tongue and groove in bathrooms has been popular for a while now and if you don’t have toddlers splashing around and can be reasonably certain that water will stay in the places it’s intended then it can be warmer than tiles although there are so many gorgeous tiles around you may feel you are missing out on a chance to introduce a bit more pattern into a room.

bathroom design by beata heuman

bathroom design by beata heuman

Because you know – this! This bathroom is by Beata Heuman, whose colourful schemes and whimsical ideas have taken the design world by storm. This is a relatively simple idea – check tiles – not even expensive (unless you want Zellige) but what elevates this is the coloured loo. Now you will know I (and many others) have been predicting the return of the coloured bathroom suite for ages but it hasn’t quite taken off yet. I suspect the reason is the word “suite”. Just as three piece suites in sitting rooms have fallen out of favour (they’ll be back when the Generation After Z discovers them for the first time and decides they are completely radical) so the idea of a coloured, and matching, bath, basin and loo feels too much. But coloured basins (see Kast) have been gaining in momentum and so why not add a loo. Keep the bath white – or paint the outside as is often done on freestanding tubs – and why not add a coloured loo to the mix?

A few years ago I was looking for a new basin for my tiny downstairs loo and managed to track down a Barbican basin on eBay, which, when it turned up, turned out to be cream not white. This went beautifully with the wallpaper but hated the stark white loo. Which I eventually replaced with a black one. Now you can buy reconditioned and discontinued ones from brokenbog.com in all sorts of colours from pink to pistachio and even peach. I saw lots of blue ones when I dropped by the other day and if I was doing a bathroom I would be sorely tempted to start here.

Swinging by the next two rooms to show a dash of blue used simply as a focal point. Above Fiona Duke has panelled a seating area. This has the effect not only of zoning an open plan space but the vertical lines (echoed in the seating) also draw the eye up and make the ceiling seem higher than it is. And, if your space is smaller than you’d like then using height to detract from width (as it were) is always a good idea.

Below, the room is entirely neutral but, much like the wardrobes at the top, the door and its architrave have been painted in a contrasting blue that works to define and zone the space while also providing an interesting focal point.

image via stadshem

image via stadshem

Or, from the other angle – how about colour drenching the space? I love this idea although if you stop to think about it it shouldn’t feel that new – we’ve been doing it with white (or variations thereof) for years. Suddenly you start seeing the same thing in a strong colour and it’s groundbreaking. It looks great though and it does take a bit of courage to soak a single colour all over everything, but if you have a piece of furniture you want to show off, or, as I said above, a small room and you want to distract the eye from that, then this is your answer.

Don’t forget you can do the same thing in tonal shades too – so perhaps use a paler version of the same on the ceiling – or you could use a darker version for the cupboard. Try playing with and experimenting with your paint – there are no rules. It’s only tradition that says white woodwork and the same colour on all four walls from top to bottom and corner to corner. Your home your story. Never forget that. And, after a month off, it feels right to remind you all that this blog exists to help you all find your own way to tell your own story via your own walls.

To finish this most summery of blue rooms by Lucy Williams, who has paired her room with shades of tobacco and soft red and created the most perfect of rooms which sums up perfectly that feeling of summer fading gently to autumn.

How are you feeling about using blue in your interiors? It’s the world’s favourite colour in poll after poll but it’s often regarded as cold and, when paired with white, can be a bit of a cliche. These rooms show it can be both warm and versatile as well as used to create some beautifully original schemes.

design by lucy williams

design by lucy williams



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  • lolbeans 26th September 2022 at 11:53 am

    Most of them are colored blue. Very elegant.

  • Mrs. Ainee C. Beland 5th September 2022 at 7:59 pm

    I live in a rented condo and this weekend while cleaning and such; I decided to put a new cloth on the dining table I selected a blue cover for it and it is so calm each that I walk nearby the table. I have always heard that blue was or is a calming color and so here’s to those who adhere to peace and warmth in the shade of blue. Having typed this, I am now just reminded of that horrible ‘indigo’ dye-blue but that’s another story altogether and not well understood. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rebecca 5th September 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Being a lover of the husky, dusky, 1970s jewel tones, (and always ending up in old, cold English houses!) I’ve often found blue too cool to be cosy. However, we’ve painted our bedroom walls Green Smoke, the cornicing Paper I (sorry!) and the ceiling is a cheery Wedgewood blue… wow wow wow! Throwing open the curtains early in the morning and the clambering back into bed to gaze at the ‘sky’ is one of my new favourite pleasures. Such a charming way to start the day.

  • Theresa G. Chickering 5th September 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Just joined the blog! You’ve already given me an idea for my kitchen, which needs wall paint.
    So looking forward to viewing your beautiful work.

  • Teresa 5th September 2022 at 1:44 pm

    Welcome back!
    We just colour drenched our living room in Hague Blue and I’m loving it. Using the same colour on all the woodwork makes such a difference – and no cutting in!
    Looking forward to hearing what your news is x

  • Lenore Taylor 5th September 2022 at 10:51 am

    I have never been a fan of blue walls, but these rooms could make me a convert! Cheers from Canada!

  • Cate 5th September 2022 at 10:35 am

    Great post, thanks! I do love blue. Also what I love about several of these rooms is that they’re simple and uncluttered, but warm and interesting at the same time. The first pic, the little home office by Plain English, is blissful – so simple and beautiful.

  • Catherine 5th September 2022 at 8:57 am

    It’s good to have you back! Hope you had a very restful August!
    Thanks for this great blog, which sends me off looking at stuff and seeing familiar things in a new way.
    Love all the colours and colour drenching, but for me the most restful of the images is the Scandinavian Stadshem one, which is a classic of very neutral walls with the doors painted in a lovely grey blue – a cool colour combination I have used endlessly for over 25 years (although never had internal doors breaking up rooms that beautiful!)

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