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The Prettiest Paint Trends of 2018


A can of paint has a lot of power. You can reimagine a room in countless ways with the color it contains for a relatively small investment. “It’s all about the cost-to-impact ratio,” says Laura Downie, an interior decorator and stylist at Australia’s Sydney Studio 1 Interiors. “Paint can add personality, create illusions, and disguise flaws. And it’s easy to change if you don’t like it.”

Interior Trends

The current mood in design is all about slowing down and bringing back the idea of handcrafted, imperfect finishes. At the same time, softer shades and finishes are coming through. “Colors are more relaxed, with the aim of making spaces feel calm, warm, and lived in,” says Wendy Rennie, color and concept manager at Australian paint brand Haymes Paint. “Designers are using varied finishes to add layers and depth inside and out.”

Paint Trends Dulux

(Photo Credit: Dulux)

Colors are a little less intense (or feature more gray tones) compared with those from last year’s palette, says Andrea Lucena-Orr, color-planning and communications manager for Australian paint brand, Dulux. “There’s a greater shift towards matte or raw finishes. Pinks continue their rise, especially those with earthy undertones. Trending grays have colored undertones in light and deep shades.”

Sarah Stephenson, color and communications manager at Australian paint and coatings brand Wattyl, says two key trends from Europe are dark, moody palettes and a tone-on-tone look, “It’s on everything — walls, trims and furniture.” For interior designer and trend forecaster Bree Leech, deep gray-greens, rich coral, and terracotta are the shades to watch in 2018.

Paint Trends Dulux Bedroom

(Photo Credit: Dulux)

Textured Neutrals

Paint Trends Haymes

(Photo Credit: Haymes)

Neutrals are no longer just cream or white. “The new neutrals palette includes grays and pastels such as soft pinks, greens, and blues,” says Rennie.

Paint Trends Haymes Terracotta

(Photo Credit: Martina Gemmola for Haymes)

Exterior Innovation

To make color work, think about the look and feel you want to create, says Lucena-Orr. “This will give you more confidence to balance out deeper and brighter colors with more muted tones.” Deep, moody hues work well with a gray base color, while fresh whites pair well with brighter hues, advises Leech. If you love this season’s earthy pinks, layer them with aqua or pistachio, and pops of matte gold, white marble, and plush furnishings for a crisp, luxe look, suggests Stephenson.

If you’re nervous about introducing color, start small by picking up on architectural details, such as an alcove, chimney breast, or picture rail, or apply color in unexpected spots. “Ceilings are my hot tip for 2018,” says Leech. “Consider having your ceiling a darker shade than your walls and bringing it down to picture-rail height.”

Outer Spaces

Rennie shares her top tips for exterior palettes:

  • Use three colors for an exterior. Choose two for the main area and trims, and a bolder one for the front door.
  • For weather boards, my favorite palette is gray with a crisp white trim and black front door. For rendered homes, I love dark charcoal with a crisp white trim.
  • Always test colors first and look at them at various times of the day to see how they appear in different light conditions.
  • Make sure the colors you choose fit in with the streetscape and houses around you.

Paint Trends Dulux Exterior

(Photo Credit: Dulux)

When introducing a color to an existing scheme, pay attention to the undertones, says Stephenson. “Existing whites or neutrals should have similar undertones to the new colours.” New hues should also harmonize with your furniture and finishes, adds Downie. “Darker tones tend to close in a space, while lighter ones will open it up.”

The key to a perfect paint finish in any color is the prep. “Buy quality paints and tools and never compromise on preparation,” says Melanie Stevenson, marketing manager at Australia’s Porter’s Paints. “You’ll be amazed at the difference an undercoat, sanding, and a great paint and brush can make.”

This article was written by Australian Home & Garden editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.

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