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Dulux Autumn 2020: Start Nesting with Warm Neutrals and Tonal Layers


As life gets increasingly busier and more complex, so too does our desire to simplify and slow down. The Grounded palette — one of four trends identified in the 2020 Dulux Colour Forecast 'Essence' — perfectly reflects this desire, with Autumn design trends inspired by the palette's calming, nature-inspired tones, with a focus on simplicity and authenticity. As a society, we are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainability and wellness. The idea of ‘minimalism with intent’ – where spaces are pared back to the essentials and accessorised with decor pieces that are meaningful to us – will come to the fore.

Dulux Wash&Wear in Cardrona and Tapawera
Rainbow Print from Norsu

“We’ve seen a much more tonal palette coming through this year,” says Davina Harper, Dulux Colour Specialist. “The bold colour contrasts of previous years have made way for subtle layering of natural hues. Depth is added through texture and materiality.”

The Grounded palette, my favourite from the Dulux 2020 Colour Forecast, combines gentle, earthy neutrals and warm whites with accents of soft coral and lavender to create a cosy, laid-back feel. And as the weather cools, it’s the perfect palette to add warmth and character to our homes.

“The Grounded palette is one that homeowners will love – it’s easy to work with and has a relaxed yet sophisticated feel,” says Davina. “Warm, biscuity tones derived from nature feel calm and comforting, and adding in touches of muted coral, mauve and gold gives the look a contemporary edge.

To show you just how quickly and effectively colour can reinvigorate your home, stylist Bree Leech transformed a bland, all-white kid’s bedroom using the Dulux Grounded palette.

Dulux Wash&Wear Taparewa, Cardrona and Hint of Lavender 
Artwork: Untitled by Tracey Mock from Norsu

“Colour is the greatest tool you can use in your home – with very little effort or expense, you can completely change the look and feel of a space,” says Bree. “All you need is a few spare hours, a paintbrush and a couple of cans of paint – then it’s like stepping into a whole new room."

While the bedroom itself has great features, including a high ceiling, a beautiful, solid timber floor, French doors, plenty of natural light and a striking brick fireplace, Bree says “This bedroom’s all-white palette made it feel a little uninviting – the exact opposite of what you want in a child’s room. I wanted to add warmth and personality to the space so that its little occupant would enjoy spending time here. I aimed to highlight the room’s best features, detract from the less appealing ones – and spend next to nothing. To keep the budget in check, we kept the main pieces of furniture – a feature toddler bed with timber detailing and a curvy armchair and ottoman.

“The Grounded palette was perfect. It’s cosy and inviting, but still manages to feel light and airy. With its tones of putty and biscuit, it’s versatile enough to make a great base for either a girl’s or boy’s scheme. Add some personality with elements of soft grey and terracotta or lavender and coral, as we’ve done here,” says Bree.

Dulux Wash&Wear in Tapawera, Cardrona and Hint of Lavender
Artwork: Untitled by Tracey Mock from Norsu

When you’re choosing a palette, it’s best to start with one main colour, which you can use across large areas, such as walls, then a supporting hue and one or two accents. Retaining the existing warm white (Dulux Wash&Wear in Cardrona) for the fireplace and ceiling,  Bree chose a soft clay (Dulux Wash&Wear in Taparewa) for the walls as a feature, to tie in with the warmth of the timber floor and the detailing on the bed; a muted lavender (Dulux Wash&Wear in Hint of Lavender) for the new door on the fireplace opening; and added touches of coral in the bedding.

Dulux Wash&Wear in Tapawera and Cardrona

“We made the bed the hero of the room by piling it high with comfy pillows and using bedlinen in shades of grey and coral. An inexpensive rug adds softness underfoot – its round shape echoes the curves in the furniture. To accentuate the fabulous fireplace, we kept it white to subtly contrast with the walls.

“It’s important not to add too much clutter to a child’s room, particularly if it’s small, as you want to give them space to relax and play. We left plenty of breathing space and kept the sheer linen curtains to allow soft light to filter in,” says Bree.

Dulux Wash&Wear in Tapawera, Cardrona and Hint of Lavender

“A cosy space such as a bedroom is a great place to start your colour adventure,” says Davina. “Being a personal space, it’s perfect for experimenting with those colours you’ve been dreaming about. Paint a feature wall behind the bed, repaint the walls or upcycle one or two pieces of furniture, such as a bedside table or stool. And if you tire of it down the track, simply whip out your paint brush again!”

Here are some styling tips to help you achieve this beautiful look for Autumn:
  • Go tonal: For larger expanses such as walls and sofas, layer different shades of one key colour.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t overfill the space – include only those pieces you need and love.
  • Create a focal point: Every room should have one hero piece to draw the eye, whether it’s a stunning side chair or a beautiful artwork.
  • Add texture: Seek out must-touch upholstery fabrics, such as rich weaves and bouclé’s to add textural interest.
  • Celebrate natural: Don’t cover up imperfections such as the swirls and veins in a timber floor – their natural, honest feel fits with this look.
  • Embrace curves: A round ottoman, an arched mirror or a curvy sofa are on-trend and will break up the hard lines in a room.

Images styled by Bree Leech / Photography by Lisa Cohen 
Courtesy of Dulux

This is a sponsored post. I only work with products I love and all opinions are my own. For more information please visit my About Page.

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  1. Hi Michelle,
    Do you happen to know where the round rug is from?! Thank you

    1. Hi Laurence, it's from Design Stuff. Here is the link:



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