Primary colours have started popping up in artwork, tableware and home accessories, and their unexpectedness is a big part of their charm
Recently, when out on my suburban walks, I’ve started seeing large, bright, red and yellow circles painted on the roads outside local schools. Part of a ‘School Zones’ initiative, they are designed to increase awareness and reduce congestion — but it’s clear that they’ve also been bringing a smile. There’s something so fun and unexpected about these bold pops of colour in such an ordinary setting.
The same is true of primary colours: first in fashion, and now in interiors, Rubik’s Cube hues have started popping up in artwork, tableware and home accessories, and their unexpectedness is a big part of their charm.
While neutral tones, muted textiles and soft pastels will continue to have their moment in the sun for quite some time, bold, bright primary colours offer a fun, playful and refreshing change.
“Ultimately, bright colours bring joy,” says Rosie Gogan-Keogh, co-owner and managing director of Hen’s Teeth, a gallery, lifestyle store, café and creative studio based in Dublin 8.
“Over the past year, we’ve all had to spend a lot more time at home, so being surrounded by uplifting colours and things that add some vibrancy to your home and your life has never been more important.”
Hen’s Teeth has always been known for its bright and colourful aesthetic, and this has become an increasing draw: “There’s a sense of playfulness to what we do that seems to be speaking to people.”
Artwork is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to play with the trend and brighten your walls, “particularly if you’re renting and aren’t doing a whole renovation”, says Rosie. Simple things like adding a fruit bowl with geometric patterns or bright colours, having a nicely placed stack of coffee-table books or putting plants in colourful ceramic pots are all good ways to bring in vibrancy.
“If bold colours are totally new to your aesthetic, start with something small, like a nice throw on your sofa to add a pop,” Rosie recommends. “Or experiment and go all out with one dramatic room, like the downstairs loo, to test the brightly coloured waters — and go from there.”
You don’t have to look far to pick up some cool pieces that nod to the trend, either.
Recently launched Galway basin company Glyde (glydeconcretebasins.ie) has a collection of hand-made concrete basins in a range of colours, which would add a bold, Bauhaus-inspired touch to a modern bathroom, while new homewares brand Bobi, My Dear (bobimydear.com) designs fun, bright, terrazzo-style contemporary coasters, trays and more using Jesmonite, a water-based concrete substitute.
Rosie is also a fan of Dublin designer Gianni Clifford, who has reimagined the flags of every county in Ireland. “They’re an impactful and personal way to bring your primary county colours on to your walls,” she says.
Playing with the trend is definitely easier if you start with a clean, neutral base, so don’t say goodbye to those muted hues just yet. “White or pale walls let you add as much colour in the artwork, throws, cushions and other accessories as you like without becoming overbearing,” says Rosie. “That means you can mix it up more regularly without having to redecorate your whole house too.”