Interiors trends for autumn: earthy tones, natural materials and bright wallpapers among new season’s top looks

Trumpeting new season trends for autumn/winter and beyond comes a bevy of décor brands — but they lack herd unity.

There are two camps, one saying interiors ahead will be warm, low-key and nurturing, the other going for the sensory shock of clear, joyful brights.

For Dulux, the UK’s leading paint brand, it’s firmly the former, with “natural and neutral” touted for Brave Ground, the company’s new colour of the year.

This is an “elemental warm clay” but you could say mud, really, and crueller tweets have lambasted “just another beige”.

In fact, Brave Ground is a very usable base. Team with the suggested palettes of companion shades for instant colour combinations that are professional and assured.


Dulux’s Brave Ground is their colour of the year for 2021

The “Earth Palette” has the radiant blues of sea and sky, while the “Expressive Palette” is livelier, with reds and pinks.

Check these out on the shade boards already installed in B&Q. These are the colours for comfort and wellbeing, says Dulux, promising a personal sanctuary in difficult times.

By contrast, a luscious plum called Epoch, in a finish so matt it almost has a bloom, is the fave shade at Lancashire’s Graham & Brown, celebrating their 75th anniversary.

“This is proud, regal and luxurious,” they say. “Add a flash of teal for the opulence of a peacock, or use tone-on-tone with lilac, lavender and heather.”

But Crown Paints is sitting somewhat on the fence, punting Antidote — which essentially is any hue that’s used tone on tone — as “calm and relaxing”. Or powder your walls with a pink “beauty palette” of blusher and lipstick. Or simply stick to greys.

With nine London stores, the no-nonsense Wilko chain has been doing own-brand paints since 1973.

Its top 10 best sellers sensibly embrace four greys along with immortal magnolia, duck egg blue, terracotta and a sunny yellow.

While a designer brand of emulsion could cost pushing £50 for 2.5 litres, Wilko does the same size for £12 with good customer reviews. Stores include Kensington, Fulham and Putney.

Trend expert Georgia Metcalfe ( is definitely doing a Dulux: “Earthy tones like fawn, taupe and beige are the new neutrals pushing out grey.”

And that natural look can come effectively from rattan, bamboo, bleached wood, and undyed wool, with filtered light perhaps through soft linen sheers, or the traditional warm glow of table lamps.

Find this at boutique furnishers Graham & Green in Notting Hill and Bayswater.

Predominantly a wallpaper maker, Graham & Brown has a pattern of the year as well as paint. Called Timepiece, it’s a clever patchwork of archive motifs.

Tapping into history is a big trend all round, noticeably at Morris & Co, the UK’s “most Instagrammable wallpaper brand” with 12,763 hashtags, according to

Interior designer Ben Pentreath has re-coloured Morris classics, giving evergreen Willow Bough (1887) modern slashes of turquoise and pink, with new looks for many more old treasures.

The cherished brand of Warner, 150 years old, was failing but dynamic new owners have revamped its gracious archives for a scintillating whole-home offering of papers, fabrics, furniture, trimmings, made-to-order curtains and more.

“We believe colour can bring happiness at home,” says Amanda Mountain, who has used the archive of her greetings card label Lola for a first wallpaper collection.

Flamboyant and flowery, these bold botanicals with their cheeky bee motifs include fashionably dark backgrounds for the moody-minded, who should also check out House of Hackney in Shoreditch.


Graham & Brown’s wallpaper of the year is Timepiece Amethyst, costing £60 per roll 

So what’s behind this disparate trend parade? Are trend reports more PR stunts than real life?

“Our trends shape our thinking and stimulate creativity, which rubs off on products and ideas for the customer,” says Alan Kemp head of marketing at Graham & Brown. “But if you want to plough your own furrow, just go for it — we suggest paint shades for every wallpaper, however arcane.”

Focus on pattern

Décor fair tips

The annual Focus décor fair is on now until Friday at the 120 showrooms of Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, SW10, part of London Design Festival which runs until Sunday.

This year, Focus is for trade only but an ambitious line-up of talks, seminars and interviews is free to view at

Optimism prevails, with piles of pattern in vivid shades.

Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O’Shea of A Rum Fellow are pushing terracotta, with rich, robust printed patterns based on unique tribal weaves.

Kirkby Design has a soft new pink “tartan” velvet and Romo is using recycled yarns from the fashion industry for subtle, tactile cloths.

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