‘You can make a home by what you put on the walls’

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

In­tense re­search goes into fore­cast­ing Du­lux’s colour of the year, the hue that sup­pos­edly pre­dicts the com­ing mood. Next year it’s all about Spiced Honey; the think­ing be­hind this warm am­ber shade is that it’s invit­ing, time­less and ver­sa­tile, rep­re­sent­ing a slightly more out­ward­look­ing, kinder mind­set than 2018’s colour, a muted heather that was all about hun­ker­ing down at home and hid­ing from the world’s un­cer­tainty.

Du­lux’s ac­com­pa­ny­ing im­agery shows off a va­ri­ety of pal­ettes and un­usual ways with colour: Spiced Honey on the ceil­ing, with pale pink walls, sten­cilled el­e­ments and a soft greige on the wood­work. What’s more in­ter­est­ing is that this mul­ti­fac­eted, imag­i­na­tive way to use paint is no longer sim­ply the pre­serve of mar­ket­ing cam­paigns: real home­own­ers are also aban­don­ing the usual rules of coloured walls and white wood­work and ceil­ings, and doing some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween the beau­ti­ful rooms we see in mag­a­zines and re­al­is­ing them in our own homes sim­ply lies in the con­fi­dence to have a go,” says Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford, Du­lux’s cre­ative direc­tor. “‘It’s only paint, so I can ex­per­i­ment and have fun with it’ should be your dec­o­rat­ing mantra.” She also points out that dig­i­tal tools, such as Du­lux’s Visu­aliser app, are also mak­ing it eas­ier to get an idea of how your room will look in its new liv­ery, with­out hav­ing to lift a paint­brush.

“I think you should be able to take a photo of an empty room, and it should still look in­ter­est­ing. You can make your house a home just by what you put on the walls,” says in­te­rior de­signer Lucinda San­ford.

She sug­gests a start­ing point for the unini­ti­ated: “If you’re not that brave, but you know that you don’t want one colour on the walls and white on the skirt­ing, a tone-on-tone scheme is a good first step.” She rec­om­mends both Paint & Pa­per Li­brary and Lit­tle Greene, whose paint col­lec­tions in­clude tonal ver­sions of the same colour, “so the work’s been done for you. You can have, say, Plas­ter I on the ceil­ing, Plas­ter III on the walls and Plas­ter V on the wood­work.”

Of all the re­cent paint trends, us­ing any­thing-but-white on the wood­work is the one that’s taken hold the most strongly. “It nor­mally takes a bit of arm-twist­ing to per­suade peo­ple, but it’s be­come a bit more nor­mal now, so it’s just a case of what peo­ple are used to see­ing,” says San­ford.

Fel­low in­te­rior de­signer Lucy Bar­low, of Bar­low & Bar­low, agrees: “We love to do a painted skirt­ing board, it’s a re­ally fun and cheap up­date. Dark wood­work gives that in­dus­trial look: if you can’t af­ford Crit­tall win­dows, paint the ex­ist­ing win­dow frames black and sud­denly you’ve got that ware­house chic.”

Con­trast­ing ceil­ings are also be­com­ing more pop­u­lar. There’s a worry that they will make a room seem more closed-in, but Shilling­ford says the ef­fect is more like a blan­ket – com­fort­ing rather than claus­tro­pho­bic.

In­te­rior de­signer Rachel Forster, of Forster Inc, has just painted the ceil­ing of her home of­fice a dark char­coal grey (a shade called Smithy, from Lake­land Paints) and de­scribes the ef­fect as be- ing “re­ally warm and cosy”. She’s an­other fan of coloured wood­work, re­cently paint­ing the win­dow frames in a client’s house’s yel­low, then cre­at­ing a sense of co­her­ence across the rooms by us­ing the same shade on other de­tails, such as yel­low hair­pin legs on a ta­ble. “Pro­por­tion is im­por­tant, though,” she says. “Go for per­haps five per cent in a bright colour, and think of it like the con­trast­ing lin­ing of a suit that you don’t see all the time. If it’s over the top it ends up look­ing like a nurs­ery.”

Fol­low­ing the broader shift in tastes to­wards dark, en­velop­ing shades on the walls – first it was grey and in­digo, now it’s mov­ing into deep green and aubergine – we’re go­ing the whole hog and cov­er­ing the ceil­ings and skirt­ing all the same shade, cre­at­ing a com­plete co­coon.

There’s a his­tory be­hind this seem­ingly mod­ern way of dec­o­rat­ing. “Paint­ing ev­ery­thing the same colour from the ceil­ing to the skirt­ing boards seems like a scary mod­ern thing to do, but the Ge­or­gians were the first to re­alise the po­ten­tial of this tech­nique to make rooms ap­pear seam­less, el­e­gant and more spa­cious,” says Shilling­ford.

“I think we are start­ing to ap­proach colour in a more sub­tle way, us­ing in­ter­est­ing tech­niques rather than bold shades to make a state­ment,” says ar­chi­tect and de­signer Shalini Misra. For ex­am­ple, for one pro­ject, she painted the skirt­ing boards, and then the same depth above it, in a glossy dark blue, topped with a slim metal­lic band, with matt walls.

Du­lux’s Colour of the Year for 2019, Spiced Honey, is shown here on the ceil­ing, left; main, graphic colour­block­ing us­ing paints from Crown – Fairy Dust, Rebel, Splash­ing Around and Soft Steel

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