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
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?