Connection and joy through colour

08 September 2022

Styling: Bree Leech Photographer: Lisa Cohen

After a chaotic couple of years, many of us feel an overwhelming desire to live more simply and authentically. There has been a conscious stripping away of the unnecessary and superfluous, both in terms of what we surround ourselves with and how we spend our time, to create space for more meaningful connections.

In response, the Dulux Colour Forecast 2023 reflects our desire to bond with the environment, or communities and the people we love, with warming, earth-drawn neutrals, natural textures and an array of uplifting brighter hues.

The annual Dulux Colour Forecast is based on year-round research into the latest global and local trends that are predicted to influence Australian design and how we live.

The Dulux Colour Forecast 2023 – led by Dulux Colour and Communication Manager Andrea Lucena-Orr, in conjunction with Dulux Colour Forecaster and Stylist Bree Leech - has been informed by seminars, including Future Laboratory London and Colour Hive, Milan Design Week, trend reports and editorials, fashion catwalks, product and design launches, engagement with global and international brands, and customised research through Dulux’s extensive networks in the UK, Italy and France.

“Colour forecasting for interiors is an evolution,” says Andrea.

“While fashion is an important influencer, the shifts in interiors are more subtle and nuanced. The palettes we can expect to see in our homes in 2023 are predominantly warm and nurturing, with nature continuing to be a key driver of trends. Brighter hues continue; however, they are deeper than last year.”

Sustainability will be another important focus in the year ahead.

“We’re reframing our relationship with material things – it’s no longer enough that a piece is beautiful, it needs to earn its place in our homes,” says Bree.

“Sustainability is beginning to feel more personal; we don’t just want to know that pieces are made in a way that’s gentle on the environment, but to understand the journey they have taken before arriving in our lives – for example, by choosing traceable fabrics or learning the maker’s story. As a result, there continues to be a renewed interest in the handcrafted and pieces with a story to tell.

“We have all reacted to the upheavals of the last couple of years in different ways – some people crave lightness and whimsy, whilst others seek order and reassurance. The three palettes in the Dulux Colour Forecast 2023 reflect these differing needs, allowing you to create beautiful living spaces that reflect where you are in your life’s journey,” she says.

Styling: Bree Leech Photographer: Lisa Cohen

Dulux Balance is a refined palette of serene marine blues, gentle greens and accents of deep garnet that evokes the beauty and fluidity of the ocean and shoreline.

“Post-pandemic, not everyone is craving indulgence, risk and change – some crave the reassurance of structure and rules,” says Andrea.

“Balance is very much inspired by a ‘less is more’ philosophy, with minimal detailing and a restrained approach to decorating. Instead, the focus is on immersive colour and the beauty of complex, structured patterns found in nature, such as a simple seashell or fern frond,” adds Bree.

Luxe textures, such as velvet and silk, furniture with exaggerated, curved silhouettes, abstract art, and décor pieces with organic shapes and delicate pleating complete the look.

“Balance has an elegant, understated feel that would work beautifully in an inner-city apartment or a terrace home,” Bree says.

With its warm, earthy tones of moss, wasabi, sandstone, muddied yellow-green and burnt charcoal, the Dulux Connect palette is all about fostering our relationship with the great outdoors.

“It speaks of calm, comfort and an honest approach to living, and brings in many of the pastimes we experienced during lockdown, such as a hiking, cooking, quilting and gardening. Muddied yellow-green has something of a nostalgic, country-house feel, cinnamon is grounding, whilst rich, purple-brown adds an indulgent and contemporary twist,” says Andrea.

Simple, rustic furniture in timber, leather and rattan sits alongside stone flooring and bespoke, modern lighting made from recycled materials for a look that simultaneously speaks of the past, present and the future.

Styling: Bree Leech Photographer: Lisa Cohen

“The Connect palette could look incredible in a cosy dining room or living area of a family home or a country weekender,” she says.

Filled with playful, uplifting brighter colours, such as rose pink, breezy blue, sunshine yellow, emerald, violet and burnt orange, the Dulux Revive palette is an instant mood-lifter – just what many of us need after the gruelling last couple of years. With unexpected colour combinations, graphic floral patterns and furniture in cloud-like forms, the message is clear: interiors shouldn’t be taking themselves too seriously in 2023.

“As we emerge from trying times, we’re looking for lightness and a sense of freedom to revive our spirits. So, when it comes to our homes, it’s out with the rule book, and in with the possibilities to create something truly magical,” remarks Andrea.

“Pairing retro influences with futuristic features, such as pixel patterns and digital art, the Revive palette cleverly merges the past and present. And with its colourful, look-at-me accent walls and statement seating, it creates the perfect Instagrammable moment,” she adds.

So how should you go about incorporating Dulux’s 2023 trend colours into your home?

“There are no rules – just pick up a paint brush and get creative!” says Bree.

“If you’re new to colour, these inspirational images are a great place to get ideas and build your confidence - the curated palettes are designed to be used as schemes for paint, as well as soft furnishings, artwork and décor. See which palette you’re naturally drawn to and then look around your home to work out which areas could benefit from a colour lift.”

BUILD is the complete, trusted and independent online authority on building and renovation for Australians. BUILD aims to answer all of your questions about building and renovation – even those you didn’t know you should ask!