A demand for customisation and creative expression is seeing wall paint reinvigorated as a fundamental interior design feature.
Paint is no longer something that is only applied to a wall every five to 10 years. Today, suppliers are encouraging consumers to explore paint as an evolving trend, demonstrating its flexibility.
Consumers are also listening more to trend forecasts that detail colour direction based on global research and the fashion industry. For example, the announcement of Marsala as 2015 Pantone’s Colour of the Year has sparked a rise in wine and auburn paint shades, along with strong reds.
Colour also has the ability to influence human behaviour, with different hues improving productivity, encouraging sleep and even assisting with health recovery.
Global trend forecaster Milou Ket believes consumers are demonstrating more courage when it comes to using colour.
“In general, neutral colours have been traditionally the most important, but I expect also a lot from the fresh, cool pastel colours,” she said.
She also believes that since these tones are not too dominant, they can be atmospheric and easy to combine in spaces.
Yellow and Gold
“From bright yellow, pastel yellow to ochre,” she said. “It gives a nice, kind of 'golden' touch to the interior.”
Paint manufacturer Haymes Paint highlighted copper and gold metals in its Exotic Botanic theme, which is designed to echo the vibrant colours of nature.
Ket agrees with that assessment.
“Gold is gaining importance, it gives warmth and shows a luxurious effect," she said. "In general, metallics have become quite important over the years, besides gold we will also see an increase in copper, but this will mostly be an accent.”
“Blue is indeed one of the most important colours, very calming and the darker shades are also very atmospheric,” Ket noted.
Like the neutrals, blue is easy to combine with different shades and intensities and also works well on its own.
Ket notes that what she calls “peacock blue” (shades of teal), indigo and more mystical colours such as purple and magenta are becoming more popular. She has also noticed a combination of blues and greens, “reminiscent of nature, of lagoons and foliage,” continuing to be trendy.
Ket recommends anthracite grey as an alternative for consumers seeking a more neutral version of blue.
"We will also see oxidized metals such as bronze and gunmetal," Ket said.
There will also be paints featuring metallic particles to give them a refined and glittering effect.
Pattern and Print
Patterns and prints will be showcased in darker hues.
"We are seeking dark clouds combined with rich, dramatic patterns such as large arabesques and baroque patters based on heritage and history," Ket said. "Sometimes special effects such as lacquer, shine, metallics, rubber and flock prints are added."
Marbling and stencilling are other ways paint is being reinvigorated, along with uneven looks featuring spots and stains to mimic the look of another material, such as stone or concrete.
Ket said mainstream media and a growing awareness of the atmospheric qualities paint can bring to a space are driving these trends.
Haymes Paint colour and concept manager Wendy Rennie agrees, citing magazines and online resources as a key influencer of colour offerings.
"There really is such a shift from particular trends being current for any set amount of time so as we try and predict what is coming things are changing and adapting all the time," she said.
Re-Use and Reward
Ket noted that growing awareness of socioeconomic and environmental issues is leading to a DIY renaissance, with people discovering the value in repairing, recycling and upcycling.
"It saves money to do it yourself, but it also unleashes your fantasy, and it gives great satisfaction to perceive the stunning results one can achieve in a relatively short time (via painting) and in a affordable and easy way," she said.
"The shift in technology opens up so many possibilities to designers, artists, craftsmen and various individuals to be able to design and produce small runs of product with the introduction of 3D printing," said Rennie. "I think the biggest shifts will be in these collaborations...and many manufacturing companies collaborating together and it something we are excited about going forward."
Some paint suppliers even have "virtual paint" applications which allow users to upload a picture, select a colour palette and see it virtually applied to their space.
According to Haymes, consumers are seeking surface protection technology that offer easy wash and wear maintenance and in some cases act as a barrier to bacteria. Scuffs and stains should be able to be removed without the paint peeling.
Particularly when considering sustainable or green products, the "story" behind an item or product is always valued.
"In the case of paint, the primary requirement is low volatile organic compounds (VOC)," said Elizabeth Salter, technical and development manager of Haymes Paint. "In a general sense, this means products formulated without added solvents that on evaporation contribute to the development of 'smog.'"
Haymes offers three paint products compliant for 'Green Star' home ratings. According to Salter, they are virtually odour and fume free and are greater than 99 per cent VOC free.
Paint supplier Resene has patented CoolColour technology that sees dark paint colours (which usually absorb heat) stay cool.
The product helps keep the coating, substrate and surface cooler, which can help to minimise indoor heat transfer.
"A secondary benefit is that the reduced stress on the coating and substrate will help to increase the expected lifetime of each compared to a standard version of the same colour," the company's website states.
So, from colours to technology to green considerations, the world of paint is changing, and this year promises to offer plenty of options for everyone.