green living room with blue sideboard

Paint trends 2022 – key colours and paint effects setting the tone in our homes

We talk to industry colour and paint experts to highlight the key trends setting the scene for decorating this coming year
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  • A simple paint shade can have an immense affect on our emotions, happiness and well-being. Getting the colour scheme right has never been more key for creating a contented happy home. Our homes are our own personal sanctuary, a space where we want to feel safe, comforted and – above all else – happy.

    Thinking of giving walls, woodwork or even ceilings a coat of fresh colour? These are the trending colours to embrace for any DIY and decorating for the year ahead. As well as the latest colours our colour and paint experts explore the latest trends in how to use paint within our living spaces.

    Paint trends 2022 – influential colours to choose

    Colour plays such a huge role in how we live within our homes. The colours we thoughtfully select for our walls serves as the backdrop to our everyday lives. More than purely decorative, colour is emotive meaning it can change how we feel in our own personal sanctuary – away from the outside world.

    1. Welcoming bright skies inside

    blue living room with neutral sofa and plants

    Image credit: Dulux

    ‘Bright Skies’ has been chosen as the Dulux Colour of the Year 2022. The shade of uplifting light blue offers a much-needed invigorating breath of fresh air our homes. Reminiscent of a clear sky, filled with promise, the gentle blue colour reminds us to ‘look up’ and feel optimistic as we emerge from the darkness of the last year.

    ‘Right now, people want to feel revitalised and enjoy the freedoms that are returning to them, to look out and bring in new ideas. What better inspiration can we take than the endless skies around us?” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director of Dulux UK.

    ‘In the living room, consider using Bright Skies in places you would love more natural light. In small or narrow spaces it will make them feel more spacious, and blue aids concentration so it’s also one to consider for a home office.

    2. Cocooning with saturated colour

    dark green blue bedroom

    Image credit: Paint & Paper Library, walls in ‘Kigali’

    ‘Rather than a trend for a particular colour in 2022 at Paint & Paper Library we are seeing a move towards deep, saturated shades, darker tones that create a sense of intimacy and comfort’ explains Andy Greenall Head of Design, Paint & Paper Library.

    ‘This move to a cocooning, sheltered warm feeling sees colours such as blackened denim ‘Kigali’, mid tone ‘BTWN Dog & Wolf’, Deep and warm ‘Muga’, charcoal toned blue ‘Squid Ink’, tranquil ‘The Botanist’ and rich and welcoming brownish red ‘Masai’ rising to the for, and being embraced not only on walls, but on ceilings and woodwork too.’

    3. Uplifting shades of optimism

    yellow kitchen with dining table

    Image credit: Little Greene

    ‘As we move towards 2022 the desire for warm, welcoming and optimistic shades continues,’ says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene. ‘With customer confidence in colour reflected in the rise of joyful shades such as ‘Indian Yellow’ and ‘Giallo’ as well as the move from greys and whites into warmer, richer natural stone and sandy hues.

    4. Colour drenching

    Green kitchen

    Image credit: Little Greene

    ‘Colour confidence and the move away from white woodwork and skirting sees the Colour Drenching trend continue’ says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene.

    So what is colour drenching? Ruth explains, ‘With the use of mid-strength tones, in one or closely related colours being used to create considered, cohesive enveloping interiors that elongate spaces, allowing the colour to remain the focal point and creating a strong design statement.

    Image credit: Paint and Paper Library

    This green living room idea is a fine example of colour drenching, with all surfaces painted in the same cohesive shade.

    5. Going for full gloss finishes

    Blue gloss painted door leading into white hallway with red border wall

    Image credit: Farrow & Ball, School House White walls; Stone Blue full Gloss on the door

    As trends evolve in how we decorate our homes so do the trends on paint finishes. From flat matt to high-shine gloss the finish ultimate determines the end result. Farrow & Ball’s colour curator Joa Studholme is predicting a resurgence in 2022 of glossy paint effects.

    ‘The traditional values of Full Gloss are perfect for use in homes in 2022 and can be introduced sparingly and in surprising ways. Perhaps on a door or a kitchen unit’ Joa suggests. Explaining how the use of gloss paint, ‘ adds a modern feel with a suitably vintage flavour.’

    6. Painted ceilings

    dining room with blue ceiling

    Image credit: Dulux

    Call it the fifth wall, 2022 is set to be the year we include the ceiling in all paint ideas. ‘Bright Skies works perfectly in all rooms, especially ones in which you want to feel uplifted and energised’ says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.

    ‘It has a magical effect when used on the ceiling by visually melting it away and connecting with the sky itself. Bring the colour down on to the walls by about 20-30cm too to enhance the feeling of airy summer freshness.’

    7. Comforting colour

    peach wall colour in kitchen

    Image credit: Family Tree (Green); Cushion Craze (peachy tan) by Crown

    After all the uncertainty of recent years it’s no wonder we’re still craving comforting colours for our homes, shades that make us feel grounded. For AW21 the experts at Crown predict a palette of comforting colours inspired by rural landscapes – as we dream of escapism. One of the key colours is tan, a peachy earthy tone that feels bold but balanced.

    Crown have called this the ‘Integrity’ trend. For which Justyna Korczynska, from the Crown Design Studio, says, ‘Social and environmental consciousness has become an important factor in our lives, and it influences the choices we make. Products that are locally sourced, carefully crafted and made of natural materials are becoming more sought after. Those products and materials bring their own colour palette with them. Those colours, mostly inspired by nature and natural materials create calm and harmonious spaces.’

    pink and terracotta beroom

    Image credit: Cushion Craze and Powdered Clay by Crown

    Present in the global trends last summer, it’s set to be ever more present in the coming seasons. We are of course talking about the use of earthy tones. Pinterest revealed searches for ‘terracotta walls’ increased by 86 per cent, year on year, in the UK in 2020. This rich, warm shades sits in a colour palette of plaster pink, burnt orange, spiced ochre and charcoal black – all pigments drawn from natural materials.

    8. Restorative new neutrals

    neutral kitchen

    Image credit: Little Greene

    There’s been a resurgence in recent years of more milky and almond toned neutrals, as opposed to the colder tones feature on the grey scale. ‘I see 2021 as being a year of creating cocooning, cosy spaces, there will be a shift away from the cooler greys, and warm neutrals such as ‘Oak Apple’, ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Bath Stone’ will become the go-to tones,’ explains Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene.

    ‘These colours are perfect for creating restful living spaces that bring a sense of comfort to the home. These more neutral tones work fantastically as a base from which to introduce a colour highlight on the skirting boards or a door.

    off white kitchen with navy blue units

    Image credit: Herringbone Kitchens; Threadneedle No.262 on walls by Mylands

    ‘Pure White is always on our bestsellers list but it’s been really interesting to see some newcomers which are full of confident colour.’ says Dominic Myland, CEO at Mylands paint. ‘Threadneedle No.262 brings a subtle hint of colour’.

    This light, fresh and welcoming neutral is a happy neutral compromise to all white walls. It is a refined and subtle pale pink, white with a hint of orange and umber – the perfect colour to make other shades pop whilst adding a hint of rosy warmth in the process.

    Continuing Paint trends from 2021

    9. Calm inducing grounded tones

    Brace ground Dulux colour in the living room

    Image credit: Brave Ground by Dulux

    Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2021, Brave Ground was carefully selected to neutralise our homes throughout 2021 and beyond. This warm neutral feels both comforting and grounding. It’s not a ‘wow’ shade, but that’s the beauty of this neutral hue – it’s the understated allure which we are being inspired to draw upon. Plus it pairs beautifully with so many different colour palettes, adapting to its surroundings.

    This earthy shade aims to create a safe space in which we can take comfort from the changing world outside. The paint experts at Dulux have identified the warm and grounding neutral shade as ‘the colour that will enable people to draw upon the strength of nature to help them find the courage to embrace the future.’

    Image credit: Valspar, Brown Bunny painted on the walls

    This warm and earthy shade is perfect for creating a chic and contemporary scheme with homes for the year ahead. The delicately light brown matches perfectly with sleek modern furnishings, gold fixtures and green accessories to achieve a sophisticated elegance.

    ‘We’re constantly battling being busy in all aspects of life and more and more we’re seeking respite from stress with products, tools and services that balance our fast-paced lifestyles’ Sue Kim, Valspar’s Senior Design Expert.  ‘Creating a welcoming interior to come home to will reduce feelings of anxiety to allow you to really enjoy the space you’re in.’

    ‘Neutral tones such as ‘Brown Bunny’ are restful, yet stimulating and help to create a clean and balanced design. Chalky whites also blend quietly with these colours so you are left with a calming interior that will rejuvenate your mind after a busy day.’

    10. Lush landscapes of serene green

    ViSULiZR app 1

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

    Is green the new grey? It’s everywhere in interiors right now. It’s synonymous with nature and calming qualities, which could explain its popularity for creating a contented home.

    ‘Green is quite simply luscious in the truest sense of the word’ exclaims David Mottershead, MD of Little Greene. ’From velvety dark greens to the light and uplifting tones, greens can be used all over the home and have a powerful, restorative quality. Used in home offices, green shades aid contemplation and deep thought.

    Use your walls like a landscape of surrounding fields. Whether you live in the country or aspire to call it home, painting walls in lush green is a step closer to feeling at one with nature. All of the paint experts are in agreement that are homes will be embracing green more than ever next year.

    Utility room painted in Farrow and ball Smoke green

    Image credit: Green Smoke No.47 by Farrow & Ball

    ‘Bringing the elements of the natural world into our interiors encourages personal growth as well as evoking a feeling of calm’ explains Joa. ‘All greens reinforce our connection to nature and create the perfect welcoming start to the journey through your home’.

    Green is a particularly popular choice to breathe new life into living room ideas and create a feeling of tranquility with green bedroom decorating ideas.

    11. Notes of delicious Olive green

    Olive green living room

    Image credit: Bancha by Farrow & Ball

    Our style team have been noting the abundance of Olive green springing up in new season trend collections. And here are what the experts say on the shade…

    ‘In the bedroom olive green can help to create a serene environment,’ says Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball. ‘lt’s also suited to rooms that overlook nature. The colours from the great outdoors will further enhance the green tones of the walls and create a relaxing outdoor feel in your home.’

    olive green kitchen

    Image credit: Future plc

    ‘Paler olive has a grey undertone, so works naturally with soft greys – a combination that’s extremely calming and peaceful,’ says Judy Smith, consultant at Crown. ‘With this look, keep to a tonal palette and paint woodwork the same colour as the walls to give a harmonious feel.’

    ‘Olive green is a great colour for east-facing rooms,’ says Cathryn Helsby, marketing manager and colour expert at Earthborn. ‘These spaces often have green/blue undertones and it’s best to play to this. Similarly, olive would also work well in north-facing rooms: instead of competing with the lack of light, we recommend embracing it.’

    12. Backdrops of beige

    neutral living room with mustard yellow chairs

    Image credit: Crocky Road by Earthborn

    It’s been noted that the new neutrals are harking back to beiges of days gone by. Remember ‘Natural Hessian’ and ‘Calico’ of the 2000s? They are back but with new names and shades, as we welcome neutrals with a warmer undertone to that of greys.

    Perfectly timed for the rise of the new neutrals is a new shade at Earthborn. Launched as part of new ‘Earth Collection’, Crocky Road is predicted to be one of the most coveted tones of 2021.
    ‘Our brand-new colour Crocky Road is set to be a hugely popular shade in interiors this year and next’ says Cathryn Helsby, Head of Creative Marketing, Earthborn.

    ‘This natural, cool beige with a faint green undertone carries a calming, easy- going, earthy quality. A perfect colour to live with in both a modern and traditional home, and wonderful to pair with pops of bright accessories.’ We love the imaginative living paint idea using a contracting colour as a border as a picture rail.

    Image credit: Crocky Road by Earthborn

    A neutral wall colour can go a long way to creating a soft and warming interior space. A strong neutral provides the perfect backdrop to compliment trendy darker hues or statement furniture pieces.

    13. Cleaner shades of blues

    30 top paint colours of the decade

    Image credit: Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball

    Another calming colour that pays homage to the natural world is blue. Always a popular choice for decorating, this watery marine shade helps to add a serenity to any room. But how is this hue changing for our tastes in 2021, going into 2022?  ‘The blues best suited to anchoring our homes are cleaner tones like lively Pitch Blue, fresh Ultra Marine Blue, and the darker, inkier Stiffkey Blue’ Farrow & Ball’s colour curator Joa Studholme.

    ‘These uncomplicated shades feel familiar, like memories from our childhood, so have a soothing effect in the home despite their cooler undertones.’

    blue painted wall panelling

    Image credit: Aftershow (darker blue); Marble Top (light blue) by Crown

    Combining on-trend dark with a paler blue helps to add depth to a blue decorating scheme – reminiscent of the sea with it’s different blue tones.

    14. Warming reds tones

    red bedroom

    Image credit: Little Greene

    In times of uncertainty we often crave warmer tones, ones that will enrich our homes and create a cocooning sanctuary to shut ourselves away. Moving away from charcoal greys and navy blues, with a colder outlook, this year we’re steering towards the warmer tones of reds and plum. These rich saturated hues are effortlessly chic by day and cosy by night, welcoming a grounded but luxurious atmosphere to any room.

    ‘Bold yet natural pairings are also on trend, with strong greens being paired with striking tones such as ‘Chocolate Colour’, or rich ‘Baked Cherry’ in combination with ‘Invisible Green’ to create dramatic yet intimate and inviting interiors’ explains Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene.

     15. Expressive accents

    Living room wall painted with red and blue block feature

    Image credit: Crown

    While many of the trends are paired-down, there’s one such trend that is ready to shout! That is the expressive trend, where colour is made to stand out. Used as accents this trend sees braver colours adding vitality and a punch of personality to our homes.

    For AW21 Crown has identified this trend as ‘Layers’ ‘Inspired by aspects of conceptual architecture’. The key for using these striking accent colours is to layer them, picking out feature walls and architectural detail to make an impact with the bold colour – without overpowering the whole room.

    Use vibrant shades of red, blue and green against contrasting neutrals to make a style statement.

    teals walls home office

    Image credit: Paint & Paper Library

    ‘I feel colour trends will move into deeper richer tones. With burnt oranges, deep yellows and warm browns such as ‘Muga’ and ‘Rufus’ both as accents and statement tones. Alongside the ever-popular deep greens and blues of colours such as ‘Teal’, ‘Plimsoll’ and ‘Blue Blood’’ explains Andy Greenall, Head of Design, Paint & Paper Library.

    ‘As well as a renewed focus on rich warm colours, I feel 2021 will see consumers focus on the power of finish. And the effect it has on the use of colour. I think finishes will be used in surprising situations to add to the atmosphere of a design scheme. From velvety soft, chalky matt finishes to high sheen dramatic gloss on walls and woodwork – finish will become as important as colour.’

    With so many glorious paint trends, there’s never been a better time to embrace a fresh new colour for walls.

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