Colour, Material and Prints: 2015 Trend Report

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
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Colour Trends
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Colour generally marks the starting point of an interior design trend and 2015 is toning down, experts say.

One of the first official colour announcements for 2015 came from global colour authority PANTONE, which revealed that Marsala 18-1438, a rich wine hue would be the 2015 colour of the year.

“The impactful, full-bodied qualities of Marsala make for an elegant, grounded statement colour when used on its own or as a strong accent to many other colours,” PANTONE’s website states.

 Marsala captured in interior design

Marsala captured in interior design

Marsala and other colour trends will play a critical role in influencing product development and initiating buying decisions.

Trend forecasters and futurists scour the globe observing consumer behaviour and sociological, economical and cultural changes in order to select colour direction.

In a 2012 interview, trend forecaster Milou Ket revealed that while some colours are very persistent, lasting five to seven years, “others have a very short, but violent life and only work as an accessory.”

Michelle Lamb, editorial director of The Trend Curve also advised that trends need time to develop and are not always hard and fast.

“Trends move in evolutionary steps rather than revolutionary steps so its unusual to see something emerge fully formed so typically we’ll have some portion of year on year ramp up so 2016 will continue to lean on 2015 and among them the opportunity for the colour to come out,” she said.

Lamb also offered her observations on the colour influences predicted to shape 2015 and beyond.


This sector will be the strongest colour movement and Lamb points to the importance of grey in recent years, calling that time “an era of layered neutrals, differentiated only by texture.”

According to Lamb, the industry brought grey into the neutral realm, reinforcing it with silvers which added a cool, modern touch for a time. More recently, however, Lamb has observed a movement to warmer tones combined with impacted metals and metallics which she says will see browns climb back.

Greys will become warm and work with browns

Greys will become warm and work with browns

“During the reign of grey, in order for browns to remain relevant, they needed to remain close to grey,” she said. “We’re seeing cool greys declining with the newest greys appearing much warmer. This will freeze brown out to find its yellow side and red side (i.e. Marsala) with all looking incredibly fresh in 2015 and ramping up for 2016.”


2015 will see the slowing on young colours and comic book brights.

“2016 will get calmer, be less intense, almost as though we’re looking a light or the sun coming through the colours,” said Lamb. “This will cause us to call them brights.”


Australia in particular has seen a rise in what the fashion and furnishing industry call “gelato” tones.

“If we’re talking about products for the table or bed linens, or very light weight, we are seeing pastels in upholstery with the value and complexity to increase – typically it means it will have some grey in it. It will be subtle,” Lamb said.

Colour Combinations

Analogous colour combinations will reign with a touch of the monochromatic, according to Lamb.

“We will have more of the analogous combinations, particularly in mixed blues and I think it’s possible Marsala we cause us to mix reds,” she said. “Starting this year and going forward we will see dark colours, cool and warm reds in dark colours.”

 The elegance of black and gold that has been trending will also remain.

“Black is so clearly and permanently established acting as an anchor source for gold for those two together,” said Lamb.

She expects blue and gold to be the next big combination.

“This equates to luxury, think navy and gold which is classic so moving back into the traditional blue and gold makes perfect sense,” she said.

Blue, navy and gold will bring luxury back to interiors

Blue, navy and gold will bring luxury back to interiors

Black and white will also reappear, she predicted, particularly in Asian-influenced trends.

“In 2015 and 2016, black/white duos will make a trend statement that shifts the look from graphic to classic,” she noted. “Everything from koi scallops to cranes and from dragons to fretwork will get a makeover in this updated approach to colouring Asian surface designs.”


Materials will combine to offer fulfilling texture and visually interesting products.

“This will be huge in 2015 but more noticeable in 2016,” Lamb said. “There is nothing more lovely than one material done beautifully and simply but this won’t be enough by 2016.

“Over the next three years, mixed media will be more important than any single material on their own.

“The interest in more is driving this – we are moving towards more patter, texture, moving towards more.”


Lamb said geometrics and abstracts should be on the radar of all designers.

“Think about triangles morphing into tangrams and it will more abstract by the time we get to 2016,” she said. “By then, you won’t be able to top triangles. Borders will shift, moving towards contemporary styles, patterns that are completely new, almost unrecognisable and a new interest in shape.”

However tradition will also make an appearance with contemporary and traditional geometrics. Oh and “watch for leaves,” Lamb suggested. “They will be more important than flowers.”

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