Ever since Benjamin Moore declared First Light their colour of the year, we’ve been rejoicing in a new, lighter mood. Ruth Bell of Village Paint & Wallpaper shares her paint and wallcovering picks to match this fresh, inspiring chapter in decor. Bell and her husband, David, took over the charming 67-year-old Etobicoke boutique in 1999. After decades of experience, she has gathered a wealth of expert colour knowledge and tips. “I’m good at selecting colours for other people,” she says, “for myself, it’s too much choice.”
Look for brighter whites, move away from yellow undertones: “The trend has been to airier colours. Last winter was drab. Now people want lighter spaces, whites, off whites, grey blue undertones,” says Bell, who also loves Classic Gray. “It’s just a modern pretty colour.”
“I’m finding people still like geometrics, but there’s a desire for more timeless wallpapers. There are a lot of graphic wallpapers going on, and neutrals, often in a 54” for less seams. That option was always considered commercial wall coverings, but they’ve come so far in their textures, they don’t look commercial now.” Bell is currently jazzed about everything Phillip Jeffries, whose inventive natural-texture wall coverings have taken the decor world by storm.
While the feature wall isn’t going anywhere soon, the new star for the decor-lover in search of a striking new approach is wallpaper on the ceiling. Powder rooms still hold wow factor for guests, too. Yet another fun spot to wallpaper is the back of a bookshelf. “Wallpaper is so versatile,” notes Bell, “it can be used for whatever people create in their own minds.”
Small and Mighty
“I always encourage people living in small spaces not to use too many colours as it breaks up the space,” says Bell. Instead of having every room a different colour, pick a light shade as the base throughout, with one or two features for accent. This leaves room to play while maximizing your space.
Portrait: Ruth and David Bell; portrait photography by Larry Arnal
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