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Five eye-popping decor trends this spring

Mix mastery

The swing this spring to lush, unmuted colours is just one part of the decorative story. Equally important: how you use (and maybe even abuse) them. In the field of hotel design, a reliable influence on residential looks, the penchant for exuberantly shaded palettes expressed in a riot of prints, patterns and pairings has been strong for some time now. (Witness such disparate phantasmagorias as The Saguaro in Palm Springs, Calif. and the Adelphi in Melbourne, Australia.) At home, the trick to pulling off such enthusiastic assemblages is to employ a little method with the madness. As this room setting incorporating a flamboyant range of floral, geometric and other motifs illustrates, keeping to a single family of hues – in this case, blue – goes a long way toward tying them all together. Note, too, that the big-ticket, semi-permanent fixtures (the sofa, the coffee table) are neutral in tone and material; it’s the elements that can be rolled up, scraped away or easily hauled off (the area rug, the throw cushions, the wallpaper, the stools) that provide the decorative punch. This technique is, as always, the best way to incorporate the trends of the day: Expressing them through accents and accessories enables freer experimentation – as well as the creation of truly moveable feasts. Button-tufted tuxedo sofa, $899.99, wood coffee table, $599.99, abstract floral 8-by-10-foot wool rug, $599.99, pierced chinoiserie stools, $69.99 each at HomeSense (

Rainbow rooms

The greys that have dominated decor of late haven’t been unwelcome: Grey is a great colour (and surprisingly, infinitely varied). Even so, a public admirably open to the charms of dove and slate is now also craving some oomph, a fact that hasn’t been lost on design brands this season. From MissoniHome (which has teamed up with Eataly, the Italian-food juggernaut, on a line of vibrant kitchen and table linens) to Foscarini (maker of Marc Sadler’s iconic Twiggy floor lamp, just released in seven “unexpected rainbow tones”), unabashed, eye-popping colour is back. On the retail front, houseware and furniture sellers from mass-market HomeSense to high-end Elte are also brightening things up, injecting boldly hued items into their seasonal offerings. Could this finally be the dawn of a brighter new age? Limited-edition Twiggy lamp in green, from $2,800 at select lighting stores (visit for retailers).

Star turns

Every industry, design included, has its celebrities. Among the powerhouses unveiling new work this season are Kelly Wearstler (whose designs for the Rug Company exhibit what it calls “her characteristic juxtaposition of rawness and sophistication”) and Karim Rashid (designing his first condo building, MyBrickell, in Miami). Perhaps the starriest of them all, however, is discipline hopper Raf Simons, the fashion master who has harkened back to his furniture-design roots to create sumptuous textiles for the Danish company Kvadrat. A new look from him? Yes – and no. Simons’s richly textured, highly tactile fabrics for Kvadrat are just as meticulously rendered as his dresses for Dior. In this case, though, you can put your feet up on them. Vidar 2 wool-polyamide upholstery by Kvadrat/Raf Simons (shown on a Freeform Sofa by Isamu Noguchi), price on request at select Canadian dealers starting in May (visit for details).

Water supply

Aquatic motifs are everywhere in design right now, from Paola Navone’s fish ceramics for Crate & Barrel to Ontario-based Korhani Home’s carpets patterned with river rocks, algae and shells. No outfit has combined watery form with landlubbing function so, well, fluidly as U.S.-based Bedol, however. A throwback to an ancient method of timekeeping, its patented wall-mounted water clock is powered entirely by ions found in ordinary tap water, no electricity or batteries needed. Two proprietary metal plates designed specifically for the eco-friendly clock generate the ions when they encounter water. According to the company, “it’s that simple. It’s that clean.” Water Wall Clock by Bedol, $89 (U.S.) through

Beachy keen

After the kind of winter most Canadians have suffered through, is it any wonder that design schemes evoking tropical seaside retreats are striking a chord? Paint companies in particular are banking on Caribbean dreaming this year. At the Interior Design Show in Toronto in January, Para Paints, to cite just one firm, presented new colour palettes with names such as Beach House and Island Escape; its colour of the year, shown on the wall here, is a yellow called Plaintain Chips (PF52). To be sure, a coat of said paint, some beach glass and few pieces of (faux) coral scattered about just may tide you over until you actually get on that plane to Mo’ Bay. Surf’s up!

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