The colours of 2016

colour of the year

Looking for a defining moment in modern style? 2016 may well be it. After years of bold colours and dramatic white/primary pairings, subtle is back. Of course, it’s never entirely that simple in the world of interior design so here are how some of the big players shake out with their predictions and product lines for 2016.

The Pantone colours of the year – a double whammy

Pantone, one of the leading experts in colour, present their ‘Color of the Year’ every year and 2016 is no exception. This year has two unexpected shifts. First, the colour of the year is actually two – a symbiosis of Rose Quartz (a pale pink) and Serenity (a pale blue). Second, the colours are both pastel shades, marking a dramatic end to the intense hues that have dominated for the last decade.

From clothes to paints

The Pantone colours are a big hit on the catwalks, and the delicate shades have made their way into interior design through fabric and paint. White – and colours containing white, such as the Pantone shades – are popular this year according to US paint companies. Industry experts have chosen a wider range of shades than Pantone, but all share a similar theme. From delicate greys to gentle yellows, colours are spring-like and peaceful across the board. White itself is a popular choice, taking the trend to an obvious extreme.

Picked up by the big brands

Even mass manufacturers such as Ikea have picked up on the trend, replacing last season’s tropical colours and hothouse prints with delicate designs and gentle hues. The pastel shades are balanced with white, to retain that crisp, Scandi feel, or more earthy browns giving a very natural look. The furniture giant has always had a mix of shades and styles across its range, so don’t fret too much that your favourite pieces will have vanished into the lavender.

Colour by design

Over the last few years, we’ve watched natural colours and materials come to the forefront of design, along with a resurgence in repurposed and upcycled elements. This ethos naturally lends it to the softer colours of nature and of well-worn workhorse items. Designers are taking inspiration from driftwood, faded sign boards, sea glass and river-tumbled stones and their colour palettes reflect these elements and moods.

How long before the trickle-down hits me?

While catwalks and international companies reflect consumer demands, they also create it, making ideas and choices available for mass consumption. That said, even the most dominant trends will only affect a certain percentage of the population, so if your bar has bright, tropical colours or your Mexican restaurant is decorated in all the colours of the countryside, then don’t fret: you don’t need to repaint just yet. But you may want to check the clearance aisles in case any of your favourite brights are being discontinued…


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