Interiors: Fruity ways to look sharp

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Bright citrus shades are the perfect tonic for the recession blues, says Kate Watson-Smyth

It's yellow but it ain't necessarily mellow. The catwalks are full of acid brights for this season and where fashion leads, interiors will surely follow.

Pantone, the experts of colour, have even named Mimosa (that's bright yellow to those of you who don't go in for all these fancy monikers) as the colour for 2009. And Selfridges is celebrating all things yellow throughout May as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, when dozens of classic products such as Dualit toasters and, of course a Pantone mug, will be issued in the store's signature colour.

Perhaps it's an antidote to the dull grey of the economic climate, a way of cheering ourselves up, but right now, if you want your house to look hot you need to inject some colour to lift the mood. And, don't worry, it doesn't have to be yellow; zesty orange and lime green are all part of the trend too.

If all that sounds a bit scary you can start small with a few accessories to get you going. After all, if you've been living in a sea of neutrals, then you're perfectly placed to add a pop of colour with a few cushions or a chair.

But brightening up a sitting room or bedroom with a few soft furnishings is easy. This season it's the kitchen and bathroom which are really zinging, with several companies producing ranges in zesty yellows, oranges and lime greens.

Richard Cristina, of Baumatic, says: "We're so tired of those beautiful but bland neutrals and these citrus colours work well with minimalist white and contemporary wood. Sales are definitely on the up.

"Perhaps it's because we're so fed up with the credit crunch that injecting our kitchens with sunny colours is helping to lift the national malaise."

If you want to start small then the Magis Mago brooms fit the bill perfectly. Designed by Stefanno Giovanni, it costs £35 from www.nest.co.uk (01142 666900). The site also sells a citrus yellow Vip bin for £200 – yes it's expensive but you will be using it every day. Or what about some brightly coloured crockery to put you in a sunny mood from £11 ( www.jarsceramistes.com ).

Citrus colours are an inexpensive way to cheer up a neutral room and look great with shades of grey, which is the new magnolia. Woven Ground ( www.wovenground.com ) has a large selection of different sizes and shades depending on how much cheering up you need.

Now if you're feeling a bit bolder and brighter then try visiting Baumatic (www.baumatic.com) for your appliances. The company has produced a range of dishwashers, cookers and fridges in yellow, orange and red. Remember you can always team them with some neutral cupboards so the effect is cheering rather than dazzling. Dishwashers cost £559.

If you're staying neutral with the cooker, then consider orange for the kitchen cupboards. This will brighten up those winter days and look great in summer. Manufacturer William Ball has teamed vinyl cupboard doors mixed white or creamy colours to provide a rich contrast. Prices start from £109 for a base unit ( www.wball.co.uk ). Terry Ball, managing director of the company, says: "We weren't sure how the public would respond when we first introduced these shades but it's worked well. If you combine them with warm wood then it's an accessible choice not just a gimmick."

Offspec Kitchens has also just launched a range of cupboards in lime green with prices starting from £15,000 ( www.offspeckitchens.com )

Moving upstairs, the end of the all-white bathroom is nigh, and although we're not quite ready for a return to the garish 1970s avocado suite, Roca (www.roca-uk.com) has come up with a range of citrus cabinets and surrounds which set off the white perfectly. It's more fun than that grown-up hotel bathroom look, which is rather dated now, and you can zing it up even more with some bright towels, try John Lewis or Marks & Spencer. Georgina Spencer, of Roca, says: "I can't see a return to the coloured suites of old but colour is coming back into the bathroom in other ways – through furniture and tiles. Our new range has bold colour in the seats and backrests of the WC."

If you are feeling bold then Aston Matthews has produced three basins in yellow, orange or green to add just a splash of colour and start you off gently. Prices start at £175 ( www.astonmatthews.co.uk ). It's also worth noting that cast iron baths can also be painted in any colour you choose.

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