I was fortunate recently to spend the day visiting Keukenhof near Amsterdam. Known as the Garden of Europe, it is one of the world’s largest flower gardens covering almost 80 acres and apparently some 7 million bulbs are planted there annually. It was a complete blast of colour and impossible not to appreciate the wonder of nature.
My partner was in her element and soon feverishly planning the planting of yet more tulip bulbs in her garden this autumn. For someone who might be best described as gardening illiterate, you could be forgiven for thinking I was there under sufferance. But nothing could be further from the truth. The bright colours created a feeling of well-being from the moment we entered the gardens and it just kept going on the longer we were there. My limited gardening knowledge is such that I do know daffodils are variously a mix of yellow and white, sometimes with a hint of orange. But I never knew there were so many different tulip colours with what seemed to be the full spectrum abundant across Keukenhof. There was even one variety named after Paul McCartney.
Reflecting on the late flight back to Leeds Bradford, I began to recall the number of instances where the clever and often bold use of colour, however small or large the property, proved to be a critical factor in achieving a successful sale. And this prompted me to question how many of us, in reality, just take colour forgranted in and around our homes? I suspect in some form or other, the majority of us. You may know the intimacies of the Farrow and Ball colour chart (and other brands are of course available). You may love the minimalist look with brilliant white throughout and hardly any furniture. You may be the complete opposite and chaos abounds with little regard to organisation. Whatever your preference, bright colours set amidst the emptiness or clutter rarely fails to stand out.
And as the bright colour is likely to be there by choice, it probably has added meaning or reason. A reminder of good times, a statement of intent or success. It might be a specific wall painted a different colour with a selection of special photos, a personality defining piece of art or furniture that contrasts with the remainder. It might simply be an eclectic mix of colour to the cushions on your sofa. Whatever your reasons, why not differentiate and stand out like the tulips I saw on Monday?
Colour is a powerful tool when it comes to homeownership outside as much as inside. The garden where you avidly seek the perfect stripe to your lawn, but others might hate the idea. It might only be a balcony or terrace that is your outside space, and it might not be south facing. Whichever your alternative, if you avoid having added colour in some form, I contend you simply won’t be enjoying your home as much as you could. Okay, it might have to be artificial, it might end up having to be painted and if actually grown, you might be rightly proud if the colours are cultivated personally in your greenhouse, but do accept others just buy their plants for instant colour. Whichever route you follow, adding colour adds pleasure and in the majority of cases, it could add value as well.
And before you ask, this piece did not originate in a coffee house 20 miles down the road from Keukenhof in central Amsterdam.
Tim Waring FRICS, Head of Residential.