Colour, Glorious Colour

Are you not thoroughly sick of grey, cream, beige and brown? Or minimalist black and white? I am. I go to a lot of hotels, most still stuck in the fifty shades of grey spectrum.

True, a bridal-type suite of billowing white muslin, deep goose-down duvet covered in finest white cotton, pale painted furniture and soft cream carpet exudes purity and luxury, but add a great wham of colour -- bucket of amaryllis or huge Howard Hodgkin picture of swirling green and orange -- and that virginal room will elicit a gasp of pleasure rather than a sentimental sigh.

I am delighted that, at last, at last, colour is back. In clothes, decor, kitchen stuff, everything.  Going to a kitchen shop used to feel like going to a hospital supply store, all stainless steel and gleaming white. Only expensive le Creuset casseroles stood out in flaming orange. But now plates and bowls, utensils, napkins and pots are all a riot of colour.

Maybe we've caught the colour bug on our travels. The Far East, Asia, Africa, Mexico,

South America, India has always been great with colour. I love those Indian trucks lit up like a Christmas tree, and sarongs and longis dyed in jewel like stripes, tropical flowers of glorious vulgarity. I recently saw, in Sri Lanka, a household mop head, the bristles made of half a dozen violent clumps of different colour. Also a flashing light which jumps from red to blue to green to yellow. Useless, but irresistible. We bought four.

I have always had a penchant for vulgar colour. I have a garden terrace and flower beds stuffed with red, purple and orange flowers and dark leaved plants. I excuse it on the grounds of my South African childhood, where colours are strong: red flame trees, purple bougainvillea, blue plumbago against blue sky or yellow veld.

My drawing room has had the same bright turquoise leather sofas for twenty years. And every time I redecorate a room somehow it turns out orange and turquoise.  

But I have been tastefully restrained with my new kitchens, of which I confess to having two in my re-jigged Cotswold house. One is pale dusty blue and one is pale dusty green but to be honest they are so subtle and classy, so “Farrow and Ball “that no one can tell the difference. But I do love them. If you spend as much time in the kitchen as I do, you need it to be calm and peaceful, not an exciting clash of glorious colour.

This brings me to colour for children and is one area where I think the love of colour has gone too far.    Don't infants sometimes need a rest from strident primary colours absolutely everywhere?  I know babies are supposed to need constant stimulation, but does every toy, dress, piece of nursery furniture have to be in fairground shades?

Maybe all that colour in childhood promotes the teenagers’ addiction to black?