Colour trends 2020: gentle neutrals and muted brights

In a world where we’re constantly ‘on’―whether it’s connected to our digital devices or processing the stream of information coming our way 24/7―it’s all too easy to get caught up in the madness.

However, we also yearn to step away from our screens and have more authentic, grounded experiences while at the same time be increasingly environmentally conscious.

The 2020 Dulux Colour Forecast ‘Essence’ is influenced by what’s happening in the world around us, says colour and communications manager, Andrea Lucena-Orr.

“With more focus on mental health, the wellness movement continues to gain momentum, as does an emphasis on natural materiality,” she explains.

“Colours for 2020 are more restrained than in previous years. Brights are pulled back and influenced by nature. They appear in smaller doses―think feature walls and details―and are often used tonally as a backdrop for hero furniture pieces.

“Neutrals are soft and sophisticated, with a gently faded feel that speaks of stillness and calm. Clay, with its warm, earthy appeal, is emerging as a key neutral.”

The Essence collection consists of four palettes including Comeback, Grounded, Cultivate and Indulge.

“Trends can be a useful roadmap when choosing colours, but it’s those little touches of the unexpected that give your home personality,” says Lucena-Orr.

The Dulux Highlights palette consists of four fun, fashionable brights―a 70s-inspired fuchsia, primary blue, orange-red and acid yellow―that can be combined with any of the four 2020 colour palettes to create a unique look.

“Use them however you like―on a wall, front door or in a nook―to really make the space your own.”

Comeback―a fresh and invigorating palette consisting of rich oceanic and mineral shades of blue-green, azure and amber, highlighted with warm tones of burgundy, rust and clay. Accents of black add gravitas.

“It’s the ideal backdrop to combine furniture from different eras―from mid-century through to the 80s―in elegant and refined shapes,” says Lucena-Orr.

Grounded―we are turning away from cheap, mass-produced pieces and seeking out quality designs made from honest materials. Interior spaces are pared-back and uncomplicated, with furniture in natural materials such as honeyed timbers, pale leather and linen. The Grounded palette combines gentle, livable neutrals, running from soft grey and biscuit through to muddy lavender, punctuated with warm coral.

Cultivate―nature is no longer an afterthought in home design. We’re increasingly aware of the positive effects of nature on our mental and physical health and seek new and innovative ways to bring it inside, whether it’s growing our own food or creating lush displays of indoor plants.

The Cultivate palette is a serene layering of greens―from soft olive and a pistachio to verdant forest green―with accents of plum, curd and chalky blue adding an unexpected edge.

Indulge―The Indulge palette is decadent and luxurious, featuring rich burgundy, eggplant, earthy brown, faded terracotta and soft coral. Styling makes a nod to the past, with nostalgic touches of 70s disco and art deco.

“This palette is not for the faint-hearted―it’s dramatic and exciting and is guaranteed to add wow factor to a master bedroom, dining room or living room,” says Lucena-Orr.

“Pink, a key colour of the last few years, makes an appearance, but in a more neutral tone that’s closer to tan, alongside a warm, dusty rose.”

Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.