4 Tastemakers pick their colour of the year

As colour lovers we consider ourselves part of the culture that declares which shades seem to be capturing global mood shifts. You can see when particular colours take on a life of their own and start appearing in places from your regular bar to your favourite tastemaker’s living room. You can also feel when pivotal moments in politics have an impact on what happens to the everyday person and how they choose to navigate life – or hide from it in the comfort of home. If that all sounds a bit heavy, then ready yourselves for something a bit more fun as we hand over to some of our own favourite tastemakers to find out from them, which colours had a pull on them in the last year. From specific teals to nearly-black, here’s what they told us sums up their 2017s…

Kitchen creatives Plain English

A Plain English kitchen painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black

Neil Stafferton, the sales and design manager at Plain English kitchens says that, “dark colours remain increasingly popular with British Standard customers and Off Black seems to be the colour of choice when painting our cupboards. Other darker colours such as army camp green and deep blues have also been a good part of the mix, as well as the introduction of gloss paint which brings an element of texture to the kitchen.”

However, Plain English designer Merlin Wright adds that, “after a period of using cool greys and neutrals we are seeing the need for more comfort and optimism. We have created our own colours with Sue Skeen and Adam Bray which consist of rich brown tones with warm highlights of red and yellow. We like to use the same colour in different finishes to add reflections and movement.”

Interior designer Fiona Squires

A Fiona Squires design featuring her loved ‘stony teal’ colour

Interior designer Fiona Squires creates beautiful interiors that are made to be lived in, but lived in exceptionally well. “This year I have been particularly drawn to stony teal shades as wall colours,” she says. “There is a lightness and it provides a beautiful backdrop, doesn’t overpower a space and plays well with bolder choices in furnishings and other decorative elements. Here it allowed for the use of a bold decorative mural and deeper teal tones on the kitchen units.”

Interior designer Jo leGleud from Maddux Creative

One of Jo leGleud’s mood boards for a current project

Jo leGleud works with her design partner Scott Maddux on projects all around the world that are notable for their experimental colour palettes. A self confessed magpie, Jo has a background in textiles and is hence very adept at bringing textural beauty to her work. This year, she says, “my journey of colour began with a sort of bronze but has gone into this sea green, which is where I’m kind of excited. We’re doing a gothic revival house at the moment and the clients were at Key’s College Cambridge so some of the colours come from there. We’re using the sea green as the main outdoor colour for the front door and all the window frames – it sits next to beautiful stone. I went up to Glasgow recently and on my way on the train I passed through Carlisle where I went to art college and they have beautiful Georgian stone and this same kind of tone – but actually more bright and pepperminty. They are very interesting together.”

Reclamation masters Retrouvius

A cocooning ochre bedroom by Retrouvius

The design studio at Retrouvius is known for cleverly using salvaged and found materials in projects such as Bella Freud’s individualistic home and Lyn Harris’ boutique Perfumer H. Co-founder and director Maria Speake and her team collectively decided that for 2017, “we’ve been huge fans of yolky yellows and earthy ochres — always have been. Probably initiated by John Soanes marvellous drawing room. We choose it for its warmth and its colour that adapts to the seasons – comforting and warm in winter, sunny for summer.”


Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist