Top of the pots: The latest bold and bright paint trends

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

With a wet Bank Holiday forecast, it's time to get decorating

As Bank Holiday traditions go, trailing to the local DIY store and loading up with emulsion and white spirit is as much a British tradition as queuing on an A-road near a seaside town or losing your friends at the Notting Hill Carnival.

But giving your front room a facelift no longer means puzzling over a million shades of neutral. Experts say that, as people stay longer in their homes, thanks to the stagnant market, paint choices are getting bolder.

Colour trends

The key paint trend that David Oliver, creative director at Paint & Paper Library (, has noticed is that since the downturn we have been buying lots more of it, in favour of other – more expensive – options like wallpaper and fabrics.

The other effect the extended period of economic gloom has had on Britain's walls is to unleash a burst of colour upon them. "When the property market is rising people are more included to paint their houses in very neutral colours, because they may be moving," says Oliver. "But if they are not moving then they will decorate how they want to decorate. It is rather refreshing."

Oliver's next paint range, out next spring, will reflect this new daring with an appetising colour chart full of smoky grey-lilacs, acid yellows, Italian oranges and Etruscan reds.

Joa Studholme, international colour consultant for Farrow & Ball, believes people are looking for a relaxed, comfortable, slightly nostalgic feel and has identified four key colours which she believes will define domestic design in 2012. They are "pigeon", a dark blue-grey; "brassica", a purple with underlying black; "babouche", a cheery yellow and "railings", an almost-black dark grey.

Studholme also sees a resurgence of gloss paint – and not just on woodwork in place of eggshell but in blocks of colour on walls too. "A gloss just comes alive in candle light in a dining room, and it is such fun," she says.

In line with the braver colour environment Crown ( has enlisted the services of Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway, founders of Red or Dead, to create a new "vintage" range, inspired by fashion and design from the 1940s to the 1980s. Admittedly the range contains a super-safe selection of whites, creams and neutrals, but there are also some bolder options like Beatnik Blue, a deep greeny-blue. Sally Heppenstall, marketing manager at Crown, says that increasing bravery with colour is already being reflected in sales. "People are really starting to express themselves with shots of interesting colours," she says.

With its autumn and winter range, Crown is tipping a rainbow of shades to fly off the shelves: grey-greens and purples teamed with mustard yellows and sharp violets; warm shades like burnt orange, chocolate and burgundy; and a theme Crown has named "space" – think electric blues, greens, golds, blacks and metallic and iridescent shades. For the more cautious-natured, Helen Turkington, the interior designer who sells her own range of paints (, believes grey is becoming the new off-white. "It is still a neutral colour and it is a great base for so many other tones," she says. The fact that it is easy on the eye is critical. Unlike Oliver, Turkington says her clients want classic schemes that will last. "People can't afford to repaint every couple of years," she says.

Interior designer Giulia Adams (, based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, has just repainted her own white kitchen in a greeney-grey Sanderson shade ("driftwood grey"): "I think clients like it because it is not scary, but it is one step up from white," she says.

Paint effects

The very words "paint effects" conjure up an early nineties nightmare of shaky stencils atop a terracotta background. But boredom with minimal neutral design is bringing a more sophisticated array of specialist paint finishes back into vogue. As a former set painter Pierre Clement ( uses sleight of hand to create effects from the subtle to the downright flashy. The former could include a colour wash, where walls are painted a flat colour and then brushed over with translucent artists pigment (Clement recommends Paint & Paper Library, or artists' supply shop L Cornelissen & Son, Another option would be to create a linen effect by marking a vertical section of a wall and then painting over it with glaze paint (try Leyland Paints,, first in horizontal swathes and then vertically, to mimic the cloth. "It looks brilliant, especially when a room is large," says Clement. "It is cheaper than using a fabric and you can have whatever colour you want."

In fact Clement can use his artistic background to create a whole host of effects, from stonework to concrete to wood, painting on to MDF panels which are then attached to the walls. "I think that people are a getting a bit tired with the minimal look. The sky is the limit if you are creative," says Clement, whose recent jobs have included painting Italian-style cherubs on a suburban ceiling.

At the pinnacle of the market Maddie Argyle, of Glaze Specialist Decoration (, works for "ridiculously rich" clients. Her team of fine art-trained painters can recreate damaged period wallpaper or, for one recent job, they hand-painted faux wallpaper onto the 44ft curved stairwell of a Mayfair mansion which would have been impractical to actually paper. "Really rich people also don't like to see joins," she says.

For lesser mortals Argyle suggests creating a dragging effect on walls, cupboard doors or even a piece of furniture by mixing paint and glaze for a softer look than regular painting, with almost imperceptible brush marks. This would cost between £65 and £70 per square metre.

Argyle runs workshops to teach would-be wall artists how to create one-off paint effects. Alternatively, contact the Society of British Interior Design ( for advice about finding an expert.

Rebecca James ( is seeing specialist finishes like polished plaster trickle down from commercial clients.

"Polished plaster always was popular in hotel lobbies and restaurants and now you are seeing it in people's houses," she says. "It is very easy to clean, which is great, and it looks fantastic for several years."

This effect is achieved through some laborious teamwork. The backdrop is any regular, smooth plastered wall. Then a thin skim of a specialist plaster mixed with coloured artists' pigment is applied with a flat plastering knife. Two people need to work on a wall at once: as one applies the mix the other smooths it down a second time. This is a recipe that goes off quickly, so mistakes are hard to correct, but applied correctly you get an immaculate glassy effect which is further shined up by a layer of wax.

It costs between £100 and £150 per sq metre and the darker the colour the more expensive it will be.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
footballHe started just four months ago
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect