Dulux has introduced three palettes of colour it says are influencing people in their 2022 interior design decisions: Wonder is a selection of lilac, blue, rose and lemon pastels; Restore has comforting charcoal-purple, buttermilk, forest green and moss colours; and Flourish has cosy and reassuring colours like muted earth-based greens.
Dulux colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr says the colour forecasts all reflect the time we’re in.
“Wonder is a much more positive, forward-looking palette which includes a bit of fun and frivolity,” she says. “It’s looking past COVID and has a sense of hope and freedom beyond the pandemic.
“It has a lot of pastels, which haven’t been extremely popular for a number of years, but we’re really seeing more pastels coming back now. We’re seeing people using small volumes of pastels in paint, with maybe one beautiful wall or a study nook or a side-table, which tends to reawaken a sense of celebration.”
We’re now seeing those pastels re-emerging in home decor items, laminates, textiles and fashion in Europe particularly, which is always a big influence on Australians, says Lucena-Orr, a member of both the international Colour Marketing Group and the International Colour Association.
“We’re now seeing a big shift in the way people live with colour,” she says. “We’ve all been spending more time at home, so we’re looking for a change. If you looked at the same four walls every day, you’re going to scream, so people are now wanting something different and are choosing colour as a way of creating that.”
We’re being helped out by Pinterest, which now has a massive influence on Australians’ choices of home decor. It has come out with its most looked-at styles for each room in the house.
It reports that, for kitchens and living rooms, the vast majority of people are now searching for images of vintage looks, while contemporary rules bathrooms, industrial is taking the mess out of home offices, and people planning to give their bedrooms a makeover are opting for shabby chic.
That kind of eclecticism throughout the home reflects how we’re becoming more confident in deciding what suits us personally, rather than being faithful to one style throughout, says Sue Axlund, interior design director of design firm Axlund & Goldstein.
“Instead of following trends, people feel they can express their own personalities more at home,” Axlund says. “So we’re choosing a mishmash of whatever makes us feel comfortable.”
The resurgence in popularity of the vintage-style for kitchens and living rooms is perhaps the most surprising result of the Pinterest results. Axlund thinks that may partly have come about as a result of us being forced to confine our travels to our own country, visiting many more regional and rural destinations and liking their vintage looks.
In addition, with the kitchen still the heart of the home, it’s about having a warmth and friendliness where all the family can come together.
Andrew Loader, of Andrew Loader Design, agrees. He’s now being called upon to design many more spaces – including kitchens – with a modern take on vintage to encompass clean, uncluttered lines and create a feeling of spaciousness, but with vintage features like trammelled walls and mouldings.
As well as nostalgia for easier times past, he sees a big part of that trend as a new interest in sustainability.
“The other thing that’s great to see with vintage is the trend to upcycle and repurpose things,” he says. “That might be old timbers that people are re-using or natural textiles.”
Another vintage feature growing in popularity now is the fireplace, according to Robynne de Courtenay, director of interior design and styling agency Coloured Pencil.
“We’re seeing them coming back in a huge way now,” she says. “We’re still in the blitz of a renovation frenzy and people are also very keen to create peaceful zones in their homes.
“Open-plan living didn’t serve us so well during the lockdowns, so we’re seeing people re-evaluating how they want to live and looking to create more relaxed spaces – especially when they’re working from home – where they can switch off and put their feet up.
“Everyone has a forgotten space in their home. It might even just be a corner which they can light and turn into a reading corner.”
The liking for contemporary-style bathrooms is quite understandable as they’re functional, easier to keep clean and, Loader says, give you that luxury spa feel at home.
The industrial look for home offices is also logical, she says. “That’s been prevalent for the last couple of years. Some people are endeavouring to replicate the environment of their office when they worked there. Also, not having clutter makes a space much more productive to work in.”
As for those shabby chic bedrooms – a look that really came into its own in the 1990s and early 2000s with the popularity of the old TV sitcom Friends – that’s very much a product of tough pandemic times.
“It’s a mix of vintage and boho, an eclectic look and kind of relaxed feel, that brings back memories of childhood, when life was much simpler,” Axlund says. “We’ve needed that in the last two years. It makes people feel at ease in a sanctuary reminiscent of when they were young.”
Loader believes it’s also about feeling comforted with lots of familiar things around when times are tough. Minimal bedrooms don’t necessarily give that same sense of relief.
“That’s about wanting the feeling of being cocooned,” he says. “It’s about having layers of cushions and throws and blankets with elements of vintage thrown in, like repurposing an old 1950s dressing table and painting it.”
And whether Very Peri purple or a dusty, sentimental pastel pink, it’s whatever makes people feel good about themselves and their home, and optimistic about the year to come.