Some (admittedly unscientific) research suggests that, on average, we feel the need to redecorate every three to four years. The aim will mostly be to brighten tired walls and revive beaten-up woodwork, but fashion plays a role too. Luckily, what’s in and out with regard to interiors doesn’t change as dramatically as clothes. But even subtle changes do catch up with us eventually. So, if you’re still sporting 2015’s Copper Blush or 2014’s Radiant Orchid, you might just be overdue for a colour update.

Embrace Nature

In recent years, attention has increasingly turned to the tones of the natural world. But aren’t all colours natural, you may well ask. Hmmm, not so much. And not all naturals are neutral, either. Think of delicate warm salted-caramel tones taking over where chilly greys once ruled. Pair not-quite-whites like mushroom, porcelain and unbleached linen with shades that are dramatic but not synthetic or confrontational. Depth-of-the-forest green-blues that change with the light; earthy cocoa or squirrelly browns; juicy watermelon pinks or merlot reds – all stay firmly on the naturalistic path while delivering a blast of high-impact colour.

Give it a go:

Use layered tones in living spaces, accompanied by vintage leather furnishings in lived-in browns. Or partner natural-wood bathrooms with deep-sea aquatic tones, picking out accents in blinds and linens.

Inspiring shades:

Spiced Honey by Dulux – a sophisticated toffee and the brand's Colour of the Year for 2019.

Hopper by Little Greene – a cool, calm and collected mossy green for kitchens and diners.

Rangwali by Farrow & Ball – an unabashed, zingy pink to twin with powdery warm greys or icy whites.

And breathe…

Fostering a sense of wellbeing, relaxation and comfort is always a good place to start when planning a revamp. Maybe that eye-popping feature wall is just too attention seeking after all. Look to mindful colours like warmer-than-last-year’s greys with hints of lilac, dove and moth. They’re happy to take a back seat but never feel cold or insipid. Pastels have had an upgrade from the saccharine-sweetness of the 80s and are now cocooning and dusty in old rose and powdery blue. Accents in earthy Dijon yellow and delicate clay complement new-age ecru.

Give it a go:

Create a haven in an uncluttered bedroom, without the need for extra focal points. Or use in minimalist kitchens to accentuate clean lines and refined finishes. Wabi-sabi (roll with it, this could be the new hygge) is a Japanese aesthetic that focuses on the beauty of imperfection – capture the spirit by using stormy blue-grey on a rough-plastered wall or in a textured wool throw.

Inspiring shades:

Sulking Room Pink by Farrow & Ball – a not-too-pink pink for elegant but informal snugs.

Eyebright by Earthborn – a new-generation grey prettied up with a drop of lilac. Ideal in the hallway or study.

Delia’s Secret by Fired Earth – a cumin-meets-turmeric tone makes a spicy choice for the kitchen.

Airs and Graces

Lovers of popping colours need not panic – the world has not been consumed by neutrals. Impactful brights, deeps and darks still hold their own, in the right context. Think regal tones of bruised purple and royal crimson, or find hidden depths in inky blues that are a step on from the popular charcoals of recent years. Burnt oranges and blue-tinged pinks lend a manageable but sophisticated edge.

Give it a go:

Used eclectically, these heritage-made-modern hues add a contemporary vibe to formal rooms. They make small spaces dynamic and complement hard-edged materials like stainless steel and granite in kitchens. Sofas, generous cushions and opulent drapes in these colours make them accessible but not overwhelming.

Inspiring shades:

Marigold by Little Greene – a scorched jaffa-orange tone to warm up a study or small bedroom, or use it sparingly as an eye-catching accent along skirting or a picture rail.

Purple Pout by Dulux – jewel-like and ecclesiastical, used judiciously this regal tone adds a boutique-chic feel to modern bathrooms.

Toy Soldier by Earthborn – the strong, silent type, this midnight blue knows it is way better than graphite grey. Creates a dramatic hallway when offset by natural wood or sparkling whites.

A word from the experts…

“Of the many themes and trends emerging, I’m pleased to say that colour is definitely at the forefront. We’ve been somewhat in the colour doldrums – saddled with natural neutrals and soft greys. Now’s the time to warm it up – less grey, more salted caramel.”

Caroline Palk, Director of Ashton House Design

“Using colour undoubtedly lifts the spirits, 2019 is not a year for holding back – be bold and allow colour to unleash your creativity. If this feels intimidating, look to use strong accents rather than entire elevations. Scatter cushions, bespoke lampshades, a brave curtain trimming or a feature ottoman stool.”

Caroline Palk, Director of Ashton House Design

“Look to colours that derive from nature, including turmeric yellows to give a vibrant pop of colour against a dark wall. I know I’ll be working with a deeper background shade and livening it up with a splash of brightness in cushions and soft furnishings. I’m loving deep greens and dark teal with ruby red, hot pink or mustard.”

Holly Keeling of Holly Keeling Designs

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