Debbie Travis: Navy blue a good bet to paint drama into your space

It’s the time of year when our sense of design begins to switch over from lightweight, airy and cool to rooms with a little more texture and warmth.

Clothing racks flaunt the newest colour trends, showing basic black moving over for navy blue, paired with autumnal spice shades, russet red, lime yellow, and a splurge of passionate pink. No surprise that interior-decorating colours are following suit.

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Back from the holidays, September heralds new beginnings, a fresh start, a renewed energy. Although we can’t redo the house every season, small adjustments are easy to make. Check out what’s new and make a plan.

If you’re ready to paint a little drama into your space, navy blue is a good bet. This shade is a classic and goes with anything. Dramatic yes, but relaxed, too, it’s a colour that works in most rooms. White trim will keep it fresh.

Orange continues to be popular, but think spicy, tinged with brown to tone it down a little. This pumpkin shade is always cheerful and full of energy. It makes a great focal wall as a backdrop for modern art or an eclectic display of memorabilia.

This year, red is veering toward plum or purple, but is as powerful as ever. Red steps up the heat and will become a focal point on the wall or as a statement piece — a side chair, row of cushions, or lampshade. It’s said that red increases brain activity and promotes high energy and chatter. Be careful not to overdo it.

Yellow and lime green are shaded toward the exotic, best chosen as an accent colour. Clean and clear, they suit a kitchen. Grey is still a favoured neutral year round. It’s a classic unifier that suits all styles. But this versatile colour can be dull. Pair it with any of today’s shades to freshen your space.

Metallics are a stunning accent that can be introduced in many ways. There are metallic paints to add a luxurious touch to trims and mouldings. Fabrics are shot with metallic threads that glitter softly on cushions and upholstery. Chairs and sofas are showing off metallic legs that update more traditional pieces with a modern flair.

For a modern edge, note the legs on the oversized bubble chairs in the vignette shown here. Living-room tables tell their own story now, combining glass and metal in interesting new shapes. Tripod tables are styled to move inside each other in small spaces and separate to different locations when company comes.

Area rugs come in so many patterns and colour combinations that it’s difficult to choose among the options. Size matters. A rug will define a living space.

For the living room, choose a rug large enough that the chairs and sofa can sit on it. Rugs afford balance. If your room is decorated in dark tones, a rug that is light will keep the space from feeling too heavy.

You want your rug to last a long time, so choose one that you won’t tire of quickly. Funky designs and colours are great for a den or other room that is not used often.

Wall art of all kinds is flourishing. There’s plenty of choice in moderately priced pieces. When you’re making up a collage, it’s helpful to connect disparate pictures by frame or colour.

Mixing and contrasting creates interest and makes a great focal point. Play with what you have — use artsy lamps, vases, and sculptures along with framed pictures.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email decorating questions to Follow Debbie at,,

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