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Colour chronicles

Three of the most exciting colour stories right now

Walls painted in Mustard emulsion. Woodwork painted in Smoke eggshell. Petherton basket.

Mustard vs not-just-any grey
There are some colour combinations that just work. Brilliantly. Yellow and grey is the perfect example – a shaft of positive warmth brings depth to a darker, more reserved tone. It was a colour combination made famous by mid-century fabric designers such as Lucienne Day and Sheila Bownas. These days, their winning mix is still going strong, but the yellow favoured by interior designers is a more mellow mustard than the Fifties-style lemon. Similarly, today’s most versatile and flattering grey has also matured into a calmer shade. With undertones of warm blue and purple, it’s seen at its best in paint, such as our Smoke shade available as a matt emulsion or eggshell. In these freshest incarnations, yellow and grey are on-trend all over again, but in a brand new guise.

Work the look
We’re all about Mustard this autumn/winter. We’ve blended a new water-based paint that emulates the mustard seed as well as creating a new fabric that’s a much brighter interpretation (we’ve called it Finch). We’ve been teaming our Mustard paint with our mid-grey shade, Smoke, but the Smoke paintwork works equally as well as a backdrop for any Finch velvet upholstery – as does our darker grey, Charcoal. Just think grey as your supporting cast and mustard as your protagonist and rave reviews are pretty much a guarantee.

Hydrangea in Mustard, Castleford bottles in Clear and Grey, Carter side table.

Walls painted in Charcoal emulsion. Manhattan drinks trolley, Madeleine chair in Isla Finch, Camilla scatter cushion in Isla Fox and Ewan Dove.


The new monochrome
Contrasting black with white has always been the shorthand for sophisticated style. It remains the most effective way to add impact to a predominantly white kitchen or utility room, but the trick is to vary the proportions. A straight 50-50 split between black and white could make a home feel rather cold and office-like. Plus, it’s just too obvious and has been done far too many times before. Instead, tip the balance towards the purest white with a dash of black. A granite worktop, the dark lines of powder-coated metal storage unit or even dark grout are easy ways to achieve this. Or, for a moodier feel, reverse the formula and add the naturally pale striations of marble to dark kitchen cabinets and walls. The final ingredient in a monochrome scheme is texture. Reach-out-and-touch throws, grain-rich timber, or natural wicker will break up the contrasts to make the space liveable and tactile. Welcome to mixed-up monochromes. The more interesting way to work black and white magic.

Work the look
The kitchen is a high-impact space for this colour story. White-painted cabinetry, a white marble work surface, glossy white tiles (go for marble again to create real flow) and even white floor-boards won’t appear too much if you opt for a black range-cooker and perhaps one or two black-painted chairs (our new Wardley dining chair would work wonders in this scheme).

Suffolk kitchen painted in Charcoal. Keats large pendant in Snow


Walls painted in Navy emulsion. Isla Finch velvet fabric by the metre.

The dark ages
When interior designer Abigail Ahern first enveloped her rooms in walls of deepest, darkest blue, grey and even full-on black, it caused quite a stir. Several years on, it’s become the creative way to add drama and depth to a living space. But to make it work, you need great lighting and even better accessories. Whether your room is north- or south-facing, invest in statement pendants that will stand out against their dark backdrop – those cast in gleaming metal or eye-catching glass are ideal. Team with table-level lamps and furniture and accessories that can hold their own. Think furniture in butter-soft leather or luscious velvet and cushions in linen or softest wool. Pick out period details such as skirtings or wall panelling in a deep, dark grey. If you don’t have original panelling, faux cladding is surprisingly easy to install. Then, to keep things cohesive, outline doors or window frames in the same inky shade. Finally, keep artworks low-key: the real work of art is already wrapped around your walls.

Work the look
For us, inky shades of blue and nearly-black grey is the most effective (try our Navy or Charcoal paint). Against that, consider moody coloured furniture too (or be brave with bold brights) with dark accessories to go with it; it’s as much about the smaller things as it is the big. Our Aldwych collection is a great place to start and goes really well with our new candlestick lamp bases and grey wool shades.

Walls painted in Cobble eggshell. Aldwych tall side table in Warm Black, Fitzroy lamp in Aged Black with Oliver shade in Angus Flint.

Walls painted in Charcoal emulsion. Eva sofa in Angus Flint, Amelia armchairs in Archie Night Sky, Blenheim coffee table, Blenheim side table, Arundel console table, Tenbury lamp with Oliver shade in Slate.