Fiona Duff: London calling, but letting here is a colour clash

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A friend of mine has just bought a three-bedroom flat. It’s not for her to live in but part of her pension. 
 Living in London, she can’t believe what she can get for her money in Edinburgh and the rental income will easily cover the mortgage and earn her a tidy little sum each month.

There are, however, two slight problems. Tidy is not a word to describe the interior and she’s 500 miles away. So it’s yours truly who as been tasked with getting it ship-shape and ready for prospective tenants.

Now, I’m not an interior designer and the budget is, in her words, “as little as possible”. Apparently I’ve to aim for neutral. I started thinking about taupe, or beige to the rest of you not in the same business as Kelly Hoppen.

Since that thought I’ve been told that taupe is wrong and that now it’s all about grey. But if grey is everywhere it’s not only hardly the cheeriest of colours, but very soon it will be last year’s colour.

Putting wallpaper on one wall was another suggestion, but that’s not neutral and I might have to suddenly become concerned about what it goes with. Clash isn’t good (unless you’re my husband, as they’re his favourite band, and that’s the only comment he’ll get to make about the whole process).

Instead, I’ve made the decision that the only sensible thing is to buy industrial quantities of white emulsion and slap it on every surface I can see. When my friend asks me what it looks like I can say truthfully, with my hand on my heart, that it’s quite heavenly.

I know that colours for clothes go in cycles. Unfortunately for me, yellow seems to be the one for this year – with my pale, pinky skin and blonde hair it’s not a good look, so I’ll be giving it a body swerve. But walls? Are there shows in Paris where large segments of plasterboard sashay down the catwalk all painted slightly different hues of whatever colour someone with too much time deems is “in” for the next 12 months?

Indeed, who in the real world even repaints their walls each year? I haven’t touched mine in a decade. Actually, I lie. Sometimes I take a cloth to it in order to wipe off the fingerprints. But enough of these fancy thoughts and back to the, at present, not very fancy flat.