• Adrian Ramsay

Colour Theory 2: Trends


Every year PANTONE advises the world what the colour of the year is. 2022 is the year of 17-3938 Very Peri. It’s a newly created colour that supposedly reflects our transformative times post-pandemic. A derivative of periwinkle blue with red violet undertones, it purports to invoke the expansive possibilities that lay ahead.


Then come the reports from other colour authorities and paint companies …


There’s not a periwinkle in sight at Dulux, while Taubmans offers up Blueberry Mash as their 2022 hero. Vogue Living demonstrates colours inspired by nature (and the Dulux trend palette), and Architectural Digest offers up an array of blue and green hues - a nod to nature and the calm we globally crave after the mayhem of the last few years. Shutterstock offers a global - region by region - view of trending colours.


Let’s just clarify, though - trends aren’t fad. Fads come and go quickly, and in some cases thankfully. Think stencilled walls, 50 shades of beige layered furnishings, and popcorn ceilings.


Trends usually evolve more slowly and, in some cases, lead to long-term changes with the popularity growing. They are more about culture than individuality; they are about progression.


Interior domestic colour trends tend to have a shorter lifespan in many cases, while exterior and industrial or commercial colour trends can last longer.


Interior Colour Trends and Our Current Psyche


Talking colour and trends from a design perspective, many factors come into play. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that colour psychology derives from the notion that colour can evoke emotions, influence mindset, and affect a person’s physiology. It’s vital for human experience.


Colour is a sensory perception, it has effects that are symbolic, associative, synesthetic, and emotional.


Recent lockdowns and stay-at-home orders had many of us examining our homes and spaces and colour unlike ever before. We strove to change things up, enabled spaces to become multi-functional, and the colours we’d loved so much in 2018, in some cases, now made us feel bored, clinical, or even oppressed.


Greens, green grey, and blue hues came to the forefront during the pandemic and remain - they bring the outside in. Natural and man-made tones will remain strong internally, with base colours and highlights adjusting to our mood, the seasons, the space, and what’s on trend.


Our existential yearning for calm will also see the ongoing use of pastels and whimsical palettes inside our homes, to reflect our emotions. The colours of flowers and crystals will continue as the Pantone trend dictates, as they work well as accents to some of the green hues and other natural colours that are prominent.


Increased amounts of time indoors has also offered many a better opportunity to examine how colours affect the perception of our spaces. Base colours or hues combined with tones, tints, and various shades of the same are a continuing trend. Placement and combinations can lend to perspective, depth, height, and feature highlighting internally.


Climate change has also made a significant impact on trends, as the rebellion against fast fashion has also extended to our living spaces, such as increased investment in durable and sustainable furniture pieces. Finishes will lend to and govern our interior colour palettes; think raw timber, stone, and concrete, which also extend our connection to the outside.


Exterior Trends - Sustainability and Colour


Here in Australia, we can’t talk about the indoor-outdoor living we love so much without referring back to the pandemic and re-imagined spaces.


As Jamie Durie said during our podcast, “We are attracted to, and intrinsically drawn to nature … the moment we open our eyes, all the greenery becomes the greatest architectural magnet of all time.”


It speaks to the interior colour trends, and our interiors seemingly blending with the landscape outdoors. The continuing popularity of outdoor ‘living rooms’ also blurs the lines and adds to the trend of biophilic design that is being adopted globally.


Exterior finishes also include raw materials, and in the last few years pink and its tones have been favourable as accents. Perhaps we’ll see that pivot to tints and tones of the Pantone Very Peri.


One external trend that’s continuing to dominate is the lean towards ‘monument’ colours. Stones, greys, and dark charcoals. Paired with natural materials like timber and stone, dark greys and blacks combine well with gardens, enabling the landscape and natural outdoors to shine.


While colours of the exterior may often be dictated by the materials that your dwelling is made from, there’s been an ongoing move away from all white exteriors. Stark contrasted black with white accents - or vice versa - has wide appeal, and it also benefits the surrounding gardens and highlights landscaping.


We are seeing concrete mixes in traditional compositions from light to dark grey, but also mixed with oxides to present in the hues of browns, greens, and blues, and black.


Understanding and Adopting Trends in Colour

Colour trend forecasts are based on data, but their inspiration and experiential qualities are equally important. They can spark inspiration; and because trends shift and transform, they offer even ground between a designer and client. They offer possibilities for customisation and personalisation.

Colours can be executed through paint, coatings, and finishes, and so remain one of the easiest, efficient, and dramatic ways to influence both indoor and outdoor space.

As trends develop over time and last, design trends for the most part over the recent years are still applicable to the present, and for the near future.


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