The tans are back!
Spiced Honey is Dulux colour of the year as interior architect Aoife Rhattigan banishes beige
Aoife Rhattigan is a frontline fighter in the war on beige. She's an interior architect, the creative director of Restless Design, and a big, big fan of colour. "I talk a lot about beige," she says. "It kills me! If people don't start taking the leap of faith, we'll all be living in a beige world." Now there's a dreary thought.
When I catch up with Rhattigan, she's on her way to present a concept to a client. I hope that the client has a strong cup of coffee to hand. Irish people are traditionally reluctant to use colour in their homes and Rhattigan's plan sounds like more excitement than most of us could handle.
But then again, if you were wedded to beige, you wouldn't be hiring her in the first place. "The house has an open-plan living area with high vaulted ceilings," she says. "Currently it's all white. I'm going to suggest that we paint the whole thing in Dulux Spiced Honey and put in a navy kitchen."
She goes on to describe a warm moody palette with some orange accents in cushions and vases and deeper greens for the furniture.
Spiced Honey, the Dulux colour of the year for 2019, is an adventurous neutral. "It's a biscuity gold," Rhattigan says. "Or an edgier version of tan. It's a very accessible colour and it goes with nearly everything. People are going to be able to engage with it easily. It's a safe way to be more daring - a nice warm stepping stone to bolder decisions."
Every year, Dulux identifies a colour that encapsulates the mood of the moment.
This is based on international research by trend spotters, and informed by the opinions of architects, cultural analysts and experts in technology and innovation.
Together, they decide how the world feels on any particular year. Then they translate it into paint.
"Spiced Honey has a raw, natural quality that works like a warm neutral," says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux. "Its rich caramel tones visually turn up the thermostat a few degrees and so it's perfect for creating a relaxed, cosy atmosphere."
I have to admit that the notion of identifying one mood for the whole world has a strong flavour of codswallop about it. Paint pundits aren't soothsayers! But the paint colours are great - appealing, well researched and easy to work with.
If there's one thing that Dulux really knows about, it's interiors. "The colour of the year has to appeal to a lot of people, for the right reasons, and you know that it's going to translate from the brochure to the wall because they've done the leg work," Rhattigan explains.
The colour of the year doesn't stand alone. It's part of an annual body of research known as Colour Futures, which offers a series of four palettes. Each of these includes - and is compatible with - Spiced Honey. This year, we have four moods: Think, Dream, Love, and Act.
They're designed to appeal to different personality types, so you can decide which mood fits your own. It's a bit like doing a pop psychology quiz.
"Act!" says Rhattigan. "That's the one that appeals to me." I'm not a bit surprised. Act is the most vibrant of the palettes with strong pops of red and orange, a light bright blue, and deep jewel tones as well as the soothing, unifying Spiced Honey.
This palette also includes a luminous acid yellow that doesn't look like it would go with any of the other colours. But it does.
I'm not sure which of the palettes best fits my mood. I can see Spiced Honey working nicely in my own living room, but I also know that this plan would meet resistance from other family members. Because the room is relatively dark, there's a general consensus that it has to be painted in Brilliant White.
"Going from a white room is a journey," Rhattigan explains. "As a designer, you have to take people on that journey, get them over the line."
That's where a tool like Colour Futures comes in handy. "People don't want something that has never been done before. They need to see evidence that it works. Then they get used to it and it becomes the new normal."
One of the advantages of a pre-assembled palette, out of which you can take one, or two, or three colours, is that it takes a lot of the decision-making out of the equation. But not all the colours have to be found in paint. Only the most confident will attempt to paint the walls in acid yellow (and some of these may end up wishing that they hadn't).
If you like pops of orange, for example, but don't want to commit to paint, try a quick-fix cushion and see how it looks. If skirting boards in Dulux Cobalt Night are a step too far, consider using that colour in a sofa or a rug. Deep blue is a perfectly civilised colour for a sofa.
Because the Dulux palette reflects a zeitgeist, many of the colours are already out there in accessories. The sofa company, DFS, has taken a lead on this by designing a special edition of its Zania sofa in response to the Dulux palette.
The Zania is a modular sofa that is ordered in sections. A corner unit costs €550, a mid-section unit with no arms costs €300, and a left or right-facing end-unit costs €510. These sections can be ordered in different colours and configured to fit the room.
The Spiced Honey sofa comes in alternating shades from the Dulux Think palette: Cobalt Night, Spiced Honey, Finest Burgundy, and Angora Blanket. The fabrics, as well as the colours, alternate between suede and velvet.
The sofa will be available in the new year and the price has yet to be released, but it's unlikely to be hugely different from a standard six-section Zania sofa from DFS, which would set you back €2,587. You'll also be able to buy the sofa in just one of the colours and fabrics in the range.
Meanwhile, Dulux Spiced Honey in Diamond Matt is available in DIY stores across the country and costs €69.95 for a five-litre tin.
See dulux.ie, restless.design, and dfs.ie