Interior design

Colours for 2021

By January 7, 2021 January 27th, 2021 No Comments
Dulux Colour of the Year 2021 - Brave Ground.

Our homes are our own personal sanctuaries, spaces where we want to feel safe, comforted and, above all else, happy. This has never been more important than right now as we spend more time at home than ever before.

One of the key elements to creating beautiful interior design is colour. Major paint manufacturers devote a great deal of time and effort to researching ideal colours and palettes to define how we will be feeling in the coming year. Colour and design experts work together to analyse the latest global trends impacting our lives. Their insights are then translated into a key colour, or palette, which reflects the mood of the moment. For inspiration they look to a variety of influences.

The ways in which artists use colour in their work energises and inspires us and influences the way in which we see colour pairings in a new light. The expression of personality and style seen on the catwalks also informs our colour choices as does contemporary culture. The environment around us, from nature to architecture and the distinct colour palettes seen whilst travelling, also provides influence as do trends in the design of furniture, lighting, fabrics and home accessories.

One colour trend is a move away from cooler tones on the grey scale towards more milky and almond toned neutrals. We are seeking to create cosy, cocooning spaces and these warmer neutrals are perfect for creating restful living spaces that bring a sense of comfort to the home. Little Greene propose their Oak Apple, Mushroom and Bath Stone as all being go-to tones for the coming year. A natural, cooler beige, Crocky Road, exhibiting a slight green undertone, is suggested by Earthborn paints as a strong choice for 2021. Farrow and Ball echo this preference for soft, understated earth tones as neutrals and recommend Jitney as the perfect background to build upon or Dead Salmon for those looking for a stronger, more mushroom, tone. Such neutral tones work well as a base from which to introduce a colour highlight.

Calm-inducing, grounded tones are proposed by several of the larger manufacturers. The Dulux choice for 2021, Brave Ground (see image), is based on the premise that we are all reassessing what really matters in our lives. It takes courage to embrace change, and 2020 was a year of unimaginable change for most of us; therefore we are looking to our homes to provide a solid and supportive foundation giving us the scope to be creative. The warm, natural neutral of Brave Ground is intended to bring a balanced, stabilised feel to any room and yet be sufficiently versatile to let other colours shine. As in previous years, Dulux provides four easy-to-use palettes, all centred around Brave Ground.

The 2021 Colour of the Year from Valspar is Brown Bunny. This delicate light brown is designed to create a welcoming interior to your home reducing feelings of anxiety. Such a restful, neutral colour pairs well with chalky whites providing a calming interior to rejuvenate the mind after a busy day.

Greens, which have been growing in popularity in interiors for several years, will still be going strong in 2021. Green has a powerful, restorative quality and delivers a feeling of being closer to nature. A trend towards olive greens in particular has been noted. This stronger hue, such as Sap Green from Farrow and Ball or Olive from Neptune, provides a grounded and protective feeling and works well with traditional or mid-century furnishings. The yellow undertones of olive are particularly suited to north or east-facing rooms which tend to have a cooler natural light.

If your base palette remains grey, paler olives such as Treron from Farrow and Ball will work well in combination and bring a traditional feel. Alternatively, if you want to go a little darker with your green, but have a warm light in a south or west facing room, Green Smoke from Farrow and Ball would be a good bet. The 2021 palette from Benjamin Moore, designed to radiate warmth and wellbeing to ‘make your home feel even more like home’, also has at its centre a blend of blue-green and grey in their choice of Aegean Teal, a mid-tone designed to create natural harmony.

In times of uncertainty, we often crave warmer tones to enrich our homes and cocoon. 2021 therefore moves away from charcoal greys and navy blues towards the warmer tones of reds, browns and plum. These rich, saturated tones bring a cosy, but luxurious atmosphere to any room. Graham and Brown’s colour of the year captures this perfectly with Epoch as does the redder hue, Preference Red, from Farrow and Ball who also offer Tanner’s Brown and Deep Reddish Brown to bring a grounded but luxurious atmosphere. When only blue will do, or cooler tones are needed, Farrow and Ball’s clean blues such as Pitch Blue, Ultra Marine Blue or Stiffkey Blue all provide a soothing effect.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year choice is likely to influence much more broadly than paint manufacturers with its reach across fashion, industrial design, home furnishings, product packaging and graphic design. Not for the first time their choice was to select two colours, Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating, thus combining a practical and solid choice with a warming and optimistic one. This choice was driven by a deepening understanding of how much we need each other and that it’s our connection to each other that gives us the fortitude and hope to move forward. The message is a combination of strength and positivity inspiring regeneration pushing us forwards to new ways of thinking and concepts.

Pantone’s colour combination should lend itself well to interiors especially for crisp and cheerful spring and summer designs. Mixing neutral greys with shades of yellow creates cheerful yet sophisticated interiors. Grey provides a soothing backdrop to a stunning pop of yellow. For retro and Scandi styles ensure that lines are kept clean with simple patterns and use of geometrics. For a country chic look these colours also work well with florals. Adding textures will ensure that these colours also see you through the chillier months.

Need help with choosing your colour palette for 2021? Contact us at