From simple grey to boutique brown, be inspired by this guide to the wonderful shades that will transform your home this season.
Greys are here to stay
The new neutral, ‘grey is the colour trend for the coming season,’ says David Mottershead, managing director of Little Greene. ‘Soft greys give a contemporary feel, whereas darker tones can be used more adventurously on a feature wall,’ says Paula Taylor of Graham & Brown. ‘When teamed with other colours, grey complements but doesn’t dominate, making it the perfect partner to most schemes,’ adds Dominic Myland of Mylands. ‘Use a rich charcoal or inky-blue grey to paint an entire room for a really sophisticated, cocooning feel.’
For a new kitchen extension, make grey your first choice, whether the design is modern or period. Grey has a timeless, cross-generational appeal, according to Joanna Bolt of Homebase, because ‘on the one hand it reflects the colours seen in technology, but it also appears in classic Georgian townhouses’. Teamed with white cabinetry and furnishings, one wall painted in dark grey will look dramatic and bring the large expanse of the room closer. For a ‘cosier’ feel, paint paler shades of warm grey on all four walls and add in accent tones of dark grey on woodwork. Pale, Scandi woods also look good with this scheme.
Above left: Main wall painted in Lamp Black; side wall painted in Loft White, both £41.50 for 2.5 litres of intelligent matt emulsion; flooring painted in Shallows floor paint, £57 for 2.5 litres, all Little Greene
On-trend living room
‘To achieve a more formal look, go for a cool grey palette,’ says Sherry Roberts, creative director and chief executive officer of interiors website The Longest Stay. But be aware that there are many, varied tones of grey. ‘There can be blue, green, brown or pink highlight pigments,’ says designer Clarissa Hulse. So it’s important to decide what feel you’re going for – warm and cosy, or cool and dramatic. If you’ve extended or have a large living room space, then you can afford to err on the dramatic side. Make it work by adding texture rather than solid colour. ‘Grey is often thought of as a dull colour,’ says Urbane Living’s Adam Robertson, ‘so add bold accents to create drama, or subtle complementary colours for a finishing touch.’
Above right: Sisal grasscloth wallpaper in Imperial Plum, £30 per m, Urbane Living
New ways with brights
Who says vibrant colour can’t work during winter months? Decorating with ‘pick-me-up colours’ is the perfect way to get stimulated, says Crown Paints’ colour specialist Kathryn Lloyd. ‘This is a look that could easily overload the senses, but an element of calm can be introduced with cool, light colours, minimal furniture and pared-back furnishings.’ Contemporary kitchen-diners and living areas with lots of light are the ideal canvas for this trend. ‘Really bright flashes of colour look great teamed with natural linen shades,’ says designer Clarissa Hulse, ‘or dark greys if you’re feeling more daring.’
‘Clashing colour shards bring this “colour explosion” trend alive, complementing tranquil surroundings,’ says Lisa Miller of Crown Paints’ Design Studio. Achieve this look by drawing your design directly onto the wall, using tape to mask off each area. Paint each shape with two coats, ensuring it’s dry before moving onto the next one. This type of decorating means you can use all your favourite colours in one go, without going over the top.
Above left: Wall painted in (from top) Tropical Ocean and Carrie, both £19.99 for 2.5 litres of matt emulsion; colour shards painted in (l-r) Cherry Lush feature wall emulsion, £13.99 for 1.25 litres, Carrie, as before, Opening Season and Summer Season, both £19.99 for 2.5 litres of matt emulsion, all Crown Paints, available from Homebase
‘Accents of colour work really well in contemporary schemes and can be introduced in clever ways,’ says Dominic Myland of Mylands. Some large open-plan schemes can work more effectively if zoning is used to differentiate between areas. Painting steps in an unexpected bright colour – as in this picture – lifts the neutral décor and helps to define the areas. For those with period homes who want to add a design statement, try painting the stair risers with an authentic historical bright colour such as Charlotte’s Locks by Farrow & Ball.
Above right: Walls painted in Loft White and Shallows, both £35 for 2.5 litres of absolute matt emulsion; skirting (from top) painted in Urbane Grey and Lamp Black, both £51 for 2.5 litres of intelligent eggshell; stair risers painted in Trumpet floor paint, £57 for 2.5 litres; flooring painted in Shallows floor paint, £57 for 2.5 litres, all Little Greene
‘A few years ago you would never have teamed up orange and green, or purple and yellow, but now people do whatever they like, because they often want a colour combination that will introduce tension into a setting, and this is one way to do it,’ says Ian West, founder and colour consultant at Ecos Organic Paints. When it comes to combining colours from opposite ends of the spectrum, there are no rules. ‘If you opt for one of this season’s striking bold colours, start with that and select the others to complement it,’ says Paula Taylor of Graham & Brown. While for contrasting shades, ‘it’s best to use three colours maximum in one room.’
Raspberry and grey
This shade of pink is great for adding drama to a scheme, while combining with grey will help ground it. The way to make raspberry work is with texture – avoid all-over colour and opt for classic stripes and simple patterns, keeping furnishings within the same palette. One or two items look best with plain soft grey walls, tied in with off-white woodwork. For a contemporary look, try subtly striped raspberry curtains or blinds, and for more classic styles, opt for soft greys in florals or patterns that add to the look without taking over.
Above left: All fabrics, £60-£67 per m, from the Madigan collection, Romo
Chartreuse and cherry red
Paint specialist Annie Sloan doesn’t believe that any colours don’t go together. ‘It depends on your style!’ she says. A yellow and red combination could seem rather jarring, but the secret of making this work is to avoid block colours. Mixing completely different patterns also helps tone down the overall effect, such as checks with florals – another key trend this year. Make it work by taking one common colour – for example, cherry red floral wallpaper – and pick out the colour in a stripe on a cushion, curtain or blind. Keep furnishings neutral so they don’t interfere with the combination. A hallway, which can sometimes look bland, would suit this look brilliantly.
Above right: Pink Chrysanthemum wallpaper, £15 per roll; Isla console table, (H)85x(W)80x(D)40cm, £150, both Next Home
Forget the drab browns of the last century – this time around they’re rich, exciting and very stylish. Taking inspiration from nature and autumnal colours, the varying shades of brown will add a statement feel to any room. Crown Paints colour consultant for Ireland, Neville Knott, says the trend ‘combines rich tobacco, chocolate and caramel shades, which create an atmosphere that is easy to live and grow with’. While Judy Smith, Crown Paints’ colour consultant for the UK and Europe, says: ‘Warm tones are used next to deep ones, and strong shapes are needed to stand out against the equally bold colour.’ For a completely on-trend take on these seasonal shades, ‘team with darker toned woods, and natural materials, such as linen or hemp,’ says Earthborn Paints’ Cathryn Helsby.
Varying shades of brown and darker neutrals create an aura of calm in a bedroom, and layering up different textures will make the scheme look inviting rather than overwhelming. ’The illusion of new 3D patterns and clever shadow play add a different dimension to walls, giving a sensory pleasure and creating depth in a room,’ says Graham & Brown’s Paula Taylor. Choose a tonal metallic wall covering over a dense damask wallpaper, as it will help reflect light and is ideal if the bedroom is north- facing or has small windows.
Above left: Marble wallpaper in 110758, £95 per roll; cushions made from (front, l-r) Patina velvet fabric in 141029, £30 per m; Leonida fabric in 130972, £65 per m; Leonida fabric in 130964, £89 per m, all Harlequin
‘Adding autumnal hues of brown and orange to a room is a sure-fire way to create a sense of warmth and homeliness that’s perfect for cold, wintry days,’ says Laura Baldry of The Tab Collective. To make an open-plan space more inviting, add interest with cosy faux textures and techniques, such as 3D graphic wallpapers. Get the look by combining varying shades of brown, adding in neutral/toning furnishings and warm woods, but avoid dated florals or swirls.
Above right: Gran Deco Library wallpaper, £12.99 per roll; Benwick snuggler in Angus fabric, (H)90x(W)118x(D)96cm, £579; banquette footstool in Wide Stripe fabric, (H)34x(W)104x(D)55cm, £99, all Homebase