Many brands and companies launch a “colour of the year”—but which will work well in your bathroom? Our Stylist Nicky gives her expert opinion…
It’s that time of the year when we look to the future and make predictions about what the next 12 months will have in store for us. In fact, it’s something we, as humans, have been doing for thousands of years.
These days, our predictions don’t necessarily have to be wide-ranging and all-encompassing. Indeed, many brands and companies now launch a “colour of the year” or predict which colours will be popular in interior design.
Pantone, who are leading experts in colour matching, have launched many colours of the year, including the very popular Greenery in 2017 and Ultra Violet in 2018. Paint brand Dulux also launch a colour of the year, with Spiced Honey making a sweet addition to their palette in 2019 and a return to softer, muted blush colours for interiors with Tranquil Dawn in 2020.
Tranquil Dawn, Dulux’s colour of the year 2020, brought muted blush colours to our homes
Now, with a rainbow of new colours emerging on the horizon, I’ll take you through each one individually and show you how to use them in your bathroom.
Pantone colour of the year 2021: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating
In a repeat of 2016, Pantone have launched not one but 2 colours as their “colour of the year”, with Ultimate Grey and Illuminating an intriguing combination. Both colours appear strong and stable together. They are bold, contrasting and exciting, bringing a real sense of optimism and showing us the way forward. We’ve seen this colour combination used in fashion and, as is often the case, this is now being transferred to home interiors.
Despite a wholly undeserved reputation for being drab and uninspiring, grey has become THE interior colour of choice in recent times. And, to me, the only real surprise is that it has taken this long for Pantone to name a shade of grey as their colour of the year—albeit alongside a more vibrant shade.
Ultimate Grey, as the name might suggest, is a truly versatile colour, adding calmness, comfort and serenity to any room. It isn’t overpowering and can make your home feel both grounded and respected. Meanwhile, Illuminating is a bright and positive shade of yellow, bringing the sunshine indoors wherever you use it.
To change the overall emotion of your room, you can easily pair Ultimate Grey with Illuminating for a vibrant and energetic space or with pastel pink for relaxation and tranquillity.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from using these colours in isolation, and I’d highly recommend Ultimate Grey for stylish bathrooms.
Ultimate Grey is, in my opinion:
- A colour that works well with many others and can be incorporated into any room
- Perfect for matching with metallic taps and accessories as it doesn’t overpower or clash
- An instant win for interiors due to its versatility
- All about strength, positivity, grounding, strength and aspiration
- Great for relaxing spaces in a contemporary, spa-like setting
- A quick and easy way to make a vintage/traditional style bathroom look more contemporary or eclectic
- A great colour to pair with bright yellow, pinks (baby pink), black, white, blue hues, organic tones, sage/greens
Dulux colour of the year 2021: Brave Ground
Brave Ground has been launched at tumultuous time in human history, as we’re caught up in a crashing wave of change. This earthy shade of brown represents our collective leap into a brave new world—a world where we’re becoming more aware of our own environment (especially our homes), the wider environment (eco concerns) and our emotions. As we become ever bolder in thoughts and deeds, this strong, grounded colour reflects the way we, as humans, embrace change in a brave and optimistic manner.
Brave Ground is ideal for your bathroom if mindfulness and relaxation is what you want to achieve. It’s a balanced colour which has natural, organic tones to add a grounded feel. Pair with other calming colours such as soft greens and pastel undertones for a cohesive finish.
Brave Ground is all about:
- A reflection of the world and steps we need to make a positive change
- Environmental concerns
- Being bold and brave
- Becoming more grounded & connecting with nature
- Earthy tones
- New opportunities
Graham and Brown colour of the year 2021: Epoch
Instead of a colour of the year, wallpaper specialists Graham and Brown, naturally, chose a wallpaper of the year, which they named “Timepiece Amethyst”. This was paired with a complementary colour, which they’ve named “Epoch”. So, we’ve decided to focus on the colour rather than the wallpaper, as it’s more suitable for use in your bathroom.
Epoch is a rich, deep and historical shade of purple. It has a vintage edge but also a bold, contemporary tone. Graham and Brown themselves describe it as uplifting and creative. My verdict? It’s a great statement colour and, if used fearlessly, will work brilliantly on feature walls, perhaps with popular cladded wall panels. It’s ideal for vintage or hybrid traditional/contemporary style bathrooms.
Here are some of the key words and phrases I’d associate with Epoch:
- Bold and creative
- Dark and mysterious
- Uplifting experiences
- Pairing with gold accents
More big bathroom colours for 2021
Some lesser well-known authorities on trend and colour have also made their predictions for colour of the year 2021. One of these is WGSN, a world-leading trends forecaster, and they’re feeling positive, despite naming a shade of blue as their top trend.
WGSN colour of the year 2021: AI Aqua
AI Aqua is an electric shade of blue which WGSN predict will not only become a popular colour in interiors but also fashion.
When picking out upcoming trends in colours, WGSN examine emerging developments in different industries, in addition to the everyday socio-economic factors which affect us all. One of the major influences on this colour is the amount of time we interact with social media sites, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter using predominantly blue branding—meaning we’ll have even more exposure to this part of the colour spectrum.
In my opinion, AI Aqua is a really positive hue, providing energy and forward-thinking—ideal for smart bathrooms or eco-conscious spaces.
Here are some of the key words and phrases I’d associate with AI Aqua:
- Technological and digital appeal
- Fluidity and movement
Benjamin Moore colour of the year 2021: Aegean Teal
Following on in Dulux's footsteps, US paint supplier Benjamin Moore have come up with their own intriguing colour of the year.
I absolutely adore this gorgeous blend of blue-green-grey and, as a mid-tone, it is a beautiful colour for bathrooms, creating a simple, natural harmony throughout.
Words and phrases I'd associate with Aegean Teal:
- New age with tones of blue and introducing a touch of grey
- Enthusiastic colour
- Soft and welcoming
- Casual elegance
- Stability and optimism
Victoria Plum’s colour of the year 2021
Whilst the colours above may be very different in appearance, they all follow a similar theme. Each shade is forward-thinking and change-orientated, which, in 2021, is the way we should all be thinking. Without wanting to sound overly-dramatic, the future of the human race and the planet on which we live is now entirely in our hands, and we must all make bold forward steps for positive movement and development. The colours of the year reflect this mood.
For 2021, we’d suggest bathroom colours with the following characteristics:
- Natural organics
- Calming shades
- Grounded tones
Working with colour
Whether you’ve got a great eye for colour schemes or simply don't have a clue when it comes to tints and hues, I'm here to help.
Take a look at my series of “Working with colour” articles, where I’ll show you how you can use a colour wheel to create carefully coordinated interiors, not just for bathrooms but for your whole home. I’ll also explain where to start when it comes to choosing colours for your bathroom and show you 6 of my favourite bathroom colours.