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By Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH

Whether you travel abroad or simply appreciate global style from the comfort of your own corner of the world, adapting cultural colour schemes and design elements can transform your indoor and outdoor spaces. A blend of cultural traditions with contemporary influences can reinvigorate both your life and your living space.

Cultural colours of the past and present have depth, intensity, and richness. These hues can effortlessly blend into your home. They are naturally warm with golden undertones reminiscent of textile colours with roots close to home or from places like the Middle East, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and South America.

These are colours that look as if they were once bright and intense but have now mellowed a bit with age. They are vibrant enough to catch your attention and lift your spirits. Colours right for today coming from around the world, past, present, and future include deep-sea turquoise, hillside green, curry orange and golden yellow look as at home here as they do in their native setting.

Intermingling colours and patterns from other cultures with your current style will give your home a global perspective while maintaining your personal design point of view. These are hues that allow you to be creative and individualise your interior décor. Putting these colours together in unexpected pairings updates these time-honored hues.

If you want to make a bigger impact, add these jewel tones to walls, furnishings or window treatments. Making a daring statement against a traditional backdrop creates a higher level of intensity and richness. Surfaces that reflect light emphasise the drama of bold colours.

You can also push the reset button on the design of your home with your accent colours against a neutral scheme. Found in everything from architectural elements to occasional pieces, neutrals are a strong foundation for any design style. Neutrals that work best with these bolder colours are inspired by natural elements. From stone surrounded cities, to sand at the beach, to sunsets over the desert these hues speak to our desire to relate to the world around us.

Earthy neutrals and vibrant hues are elegant when paired with platinum, copper, bronze, or gold. The same combination of colours happily pair with the crafts, neutral wood and cultural colours for a more casual space. Choose a few of the colours that make you smile to be the feel-good factor that makes you happy to be home.

From India or Turkey, to Morroco and Mexico, the colour scheme possibilities are endless and as diverse as the cultures that spur your creativity. Look to both new or old designs. Let the patterns and colour palettes be your inspiration for an indoor or outdoor living space with global style.

Kate Smith is Chief Colour Maven and President of Sensational Color, a company that develops colour information to help you confidently select colours for your home. As an internationally recognised colour expert, author and speaker, Kate has been regularly quoted in major media outlets and is a favourite as an on-air guest and speaker at top design conferences and trade shows worldwide. Together with Duracoat, Kate is working in East Africa to provide guidance on how to create colour harmony in your home.

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