Interiors

Beast on show

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The trend for featuring c reatures - great and small - is gathering pace, with dogs leading the pack, closely followed by owls, with foxes, squirrels and rabbits bringing up the rear. Want something really wild? Designers have also given lions, elephants, tigers, zebra and even wolves freedom to roam on wallpapers, fabrics and accessories.

Something in the air

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You may not be able to bottle happiness, but you can capture the scents of summer, whether it's the salty tang of the seashore, a freshly-cut lawn or a rose-scented garden.

Museum mix 'n' match

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They bring history, science and art to life. A peaceful amble around a museum can transport you to a faraway - sometimes even fantastical - world.

Homes from home

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You're truly pure of heart if you've never wanted to snoop around other people's homes, lingered on the street to peep into a lighted room, or viewed a house, with no intention of buying - just to satisfy your curiosity about what it's like inside.

Feeling blue?

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Blue skies may not be a permanent fixture as we struggle to see a settled summer, but the colour blue is key for this year's interior landscape.

Pick of the bunch

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A gorgeous bouquet of blooms in a vase, lovingly placed on the kitchen table or windowsill, has to be the simplest way to instantly bring colour and warmth into a room.

It's all in the detail

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In the same way some people can make an item of clothing look special just by adding a single accessory, others can transform a room in a trice with a little re-arrangement and the addition of a few eye-catching items.

Winning decor - Rio style

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Take bold colour, flamboyance and exotic design, shake it up and you have a winning decor cocktail.

Find your macho style match

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Time was when decor was a girly pastime, and men who were enthusiastic about interior design were warily regarded as being a little too in touch with their feminine side.

Butterfly ball

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Graceful, beautiful and naturally attracted to blooms, the butterfly's endless variety of bold colours and intricate markings offer constant inspiration to designers, and their motif frequently flutters onto fabrics, botanical prints and delicate decos

Bring the indoors out

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Lounging and dining outdoors is one of the pleasures of summer but it must be done in style, because a poor setting will dampen spirits faster than a sudden downpour.

Decor to float your boat

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Who says summer can't last forever? You'll guarantee blue skies whatever the weather if you get on board with coastal chic, which summons up pleasing thoughts of holidays, sandy beaches and relaxed living, no matter what the time of year.

Pick of the bunch

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Flowers are blooming in our rooms, as our love affair with nature and all things botanical continues to grow.

The grub outdoors

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The closest thing to a villa holiday, nothing signals summer like stepping outdoors and entertaining family and friends in the sunshine.

Room for fun

a cosy lt, featured in Creative Family Home: Imaginative and Original Spaces For Modern Living by Ashlyn Gibson, published by Ryland Peters & Small

If your home is feeling like a battleground after the school holidays, as you and your children fight for territory, it could be time for a new strategy.

Don't let renting cramp your style

a sunny yellow feature wall and cheerful accessories cheer up a kitchen Image in Home For Now by Joanna Thornhill, published by CICO, £16.99

Our home should be a place where we can truly feel ourselves and show off our style and taste - but millions of us are living in someone else's property, with all the limitations that imposes.

Get cracking at home

Gisela Graham Wooden pastel Happy Easter garland, £9, The Contemporary Home

Easter egg hunts, a celebration lunch and time with the family are the pleasures of the upcoming holiday, but don't forget one key element of the preparations - setting the scene at home.

Season's gleamings

Kenwood appliances, Kmix kitchen machine, £279, hand mixer, £64, Kmix hand blender, £69, Isme

Spring is in the air and it's time for that annual ritual - giving rooms a good clean and polish.

An old-fashioned update

Rangemaster Classic Cooker, from £1,525, Rangemaster.co.uk

If you're feeling nostalgic, and your most-loved possessions are ones which hark back to childhood memories, chances are, retro-inspired homewares will appeal.

Lights of fancy

a Royal Collection Crystal Chandelier, £1,625, Blue Almonds(www.bluealmonds.co.uk; 020 7584 8038)

They may conjure images of royalty and riches, but there's no reason why chandeliers can't illuminate more down-to-earth homes too.

Spring fresh homes

Elements stair set

We're finally leaving winter behind, yet our homes can look as though they're still suffering from its effects. Thankfully, a few changes, small but significant, can spruce things up.