On Lanzarote you can leave subtlety, reserve and understatement behind. This is an island where it pays off to make big, bold statements.

First published in Gazette Life, September 1st 2020.


Lanzarote’s whitewashed exteriors aren’t particularly traditional. Before César Manrique approved the colour schemes for the island, homes were painted in all sorts of colours. Take a look at the multicoloured homes spilling down the hills of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to get an idea of how colourful the Canaries can be.

Indoors or on your patio you can use whatever colours you like, and Lanzarote’s ebullient atmosphere and in-your-face climate means that shrinking violets need not apply.

This island is just 100 miles away from Morocco, where interiors are often decorated in the richest and most vivid colours and patterns. There are also strong influences from Portugal, especially in the use of brilliant blue tiling. The warm, toasted colours of terracotta and ochre reflect the strong shades of iron and sulphur that can be seen in volcano country, and all you have to do is pop your heads underwater to enter another, brilliantly coloured world.

Then there’s a whole modern Spanish aesthetic based around bold, bright colour, from the paintings of Joan Miró which inspired Manrique to the film sets of Pedro Almodóvar and the designs of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

Forget about subtle matches and complementary colours – just go for it and embrace the whole paintbox.