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How To Use a Dark Colour Palette

How To Use a Dark Colour Palette

A key trend from Dulux Trade's Colour Futures 2016 trends, Dark & Light features a palette of 10 saturated and deep hues, ranging from midnight blues to burnt caramel tones. Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford explains why we should be embracing the dark end of the spectrum when it comes to decorating, and how to use these darks shades to best effect.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the Dark & Light trend?

'When we began to conduct our trend research for 2016, the importance of darkness was a subject that came up again and again. From the popularity of stargazing and space programmes on television, to growing awareness of light pollution, the recurring theme of darkness is more important now than ever before, as it becomes harder and harder to find in the places we live.'

'We simply need more of the dark because the dark is good for us, and in the dark we find something magical, elemental and essential. This was the original thinking behind Dark & Light. This trend is not entirely about the dark though - there is a shimmering moonlight neutral in the Dark & Light palette which can be used in tandem with the darker shades to create balanced, sanctuary-like spaces.'

How have you seen darker colours on the spectrum appearing in interiors and spaces over the last year?

'In interiors, dark colours are beginning to make a big comeback as people realise how restful it is to be immersed in colours that help us to relax and enjoy the more sensual elements of the interior, like the touch and feel of materials. Dark colours visually embrace elements of a room and provide a richer canvas against which everything comes alive. This trend builds on the popularity of dark, complex neutrals which appear to change colour in different light conditions.'

As a nation we tend to avoid dark palettes in interiors, what would you say to a client who is nervous about using dark colours in their space or project?

'Firstly, don't be afraid! Lighting a dark interior is the absolute key to its success. Layers of light created with concealed lighting, table and floor lamps and, of course, candlelight makes dark colours come alive. You have an opportunity to tell a very different story with the materials you use in the furniture and furnishings if you use a dark colour scheme on your walls. If your client is nervous about using a dark colour, pick your space wisely - the areas which naturally lend themselves to a dark scheme are intimate spaces in which you relax and unwind, entertain and dream - in other words, not task-related spaces.'

What are the advantages of using dark colours in a space?

'Dark colours absorb light and so they are perfect for hiding a multitude of sins in terms of imperfect walls. Flat matt is the perfect finish for dark colours, giving them a premium appearance and velvety tactile quality. In all memorable interior design schemes, bravery pays off - so you mustn't wimp out and use these new dark colours just as feature walls - its full immersion or nothing.'

Find out more about Dulux Trade Colour Futures 2016.