Dulux Colour of the Year 2021 - Opinion

Dulux have recently announced their colour of the year for 2021 as 'Brave Ground' - a warm earthy neutral which brings nature into your home and provides a 'firm foundation' for furnishings and palettes. Dulux themselves describe the shade as 'rich', 'versatile' and 'natural', whilst elsewhere social media users have chosen a different selection of words to describe it - most of which are not particularly complimentary.

There are four palettes they've chosen to pair with 'Brave Ground', featuring complementary pastels and neutrals together with pops of colour in bright corals and statements in deep, rich blues, but still the primary theme is that of earthy tones in browns, greens and yellows.

We can see where Dulux's trend forecasters are coming from. Even pre-Covid, climate change was and still is one of the most important issues - and threats - to society, and there has been a steady movement in recent years towards a carbon-neutral world (albeit not enough). It's natural then that they choose a shade to reflect that world and our collective aspiration to reach that carbon-neutral point; the colour invokes immediate thoughts of the earth and encourages us to pair natural, eco-friendly and recycled materials in our furnishings at home. Even the name conjures visions of a society forging forwards this environmental utopia, one that seems rather more fantastical than practical or grounded in reality.

A lot goes into choosing which trends will be seen in the coming seasons, and the psychology behind colour is extremely important - especially when you are choosing which colours to surround yourself with at home. These are the colours you will be returning to day after day, and can affect your moods and thoughts without you even realising it. Brown and shades thereof represent stability, foundations and sincerity, creating a calm and reassuring atmosphere and giving the impression of comfort, simplicity and quality. Interestingly enough, it's one of the least popular colours for interior design in the Western world; perhaps as we feel a lot of our wooden furniture, flooring and other accessories have enough of the earthy tone without needing to paint it on our walls.

As a choice for 2021, the decisions behind it are clear. With all the upheaval we've been through in 2020, the idea of stability, working together and planning for the future is an appealing one indeed. Dulux are tapping into our need for a return to normality, to the familiar and safe, and to create a 'bubble' (if you will) of comfort at home.

But is 'Brave Ground' really the colour we want to see us through into 2021? Do we want our Pinterest and Instagram feeds to be filled with shades of brown as the interiors influencers inevitably follow the trend that jogs memories of your parents' retro brown-wood furniture and tan bathroom suites with geometric tiles in orange and cream? We think perhaps they've missed the mark a little - we'd much rather have a cheerful, bright colour that energises and creates positivity, enabling us to move forward into a future that has and will remain changed for a good while yet. We might not be able to return to normality, but at least a warming, cheerful yellow or jewelled green would help us face the 'new normal' our reality has become.

What do you think of Dulux's choice? What colour would you have chosen instead? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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