Colour of the Year 2018

We are living in a time of unpredictability. We don’t know what the news will bring every day. We have access to more information and more choices than ever before. There are more expectations and more demands on our time. As life gets faster, now is the time to choose to press pause. As we find ourselves part of more conversations, we need to give ourselves permission to take a step back. Our home needs to be a place where we can turn down the noise, where we can nurture our values and recharge. This can be our sanctuary where we can all look forward to… a welcome home

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4 Palettes
3 Personas
About ColourFutures

Heart Wood – Colour of the Year 2018

During times of unpredictability, consumers need to feel confident about the decisions they make about their homes. Our ColourFutures 2018 palettes have been designed with this in mind. Each palette offers a collection of shades that are easy to use and flow seamlessly from one tone to the next. The Colour of the Year 2018, Heart Wood, features in all four colour palettes and represents the warmth of natural wood – the warmth that consumers turn to during times of flux.

4 palettes

The Heartwood Home

A Welcome Home is a Heart Wood home. This is where you feel instantly at ease, surrounded by the gentle grey-pink tones of Heart Wood. The nourishing warmth of wood and tactile comfort of leather add to the sense of harmony. The Heart Wood Home palette reflects this versatility, with soft cocoa flowing into bolder shades of ink blue and purple.

The Comforting Home

The Comforting Home combines warm woods, leather, silk and velvet to create a space that you want to touch and sink into. Rich, welcoming interiors offer you a restorative embrace and are filled with deep colors, such as terracotta, generously layered with textures. The Comforting Home palette encourages cocooning and re-setting – warm earth tones bring a sense of comfort, while clay and blush pink help calm the mind and soothe the senses.

The Inviting Home

The Inviting Home can be your den to snuggle in, your nest to grow in, your camp in which to create memories. Comfort and convenience reign supreme in the Inviting Home. The Inviting Home palette is for those who seek to bond with the people that matter to them most. Cool shades of blue encourage a clear-headed approach to life, while easy-going neutrals and sea-green support the need for connection.

The Playful Home

The Playful Home can be your hub to recharge in, your space to create and dream in. There is a sense of energy with vibrant color focal points and plants hanging from walls. With the Playful Home palette consumers can create a space that is invigorating and full of life. Yellow-toned green and gold help spark the synapses and encourage a creative approach to life.

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3 personas

We each respond differently to times of unpredictability and consumers’ responses may shift from day to day or even from room to room.


Quality-driven, conscientious, thoughtful, grounded

/ The Warm-hearted person responds to unpredictability in the outside world by enveloping themselves in their home. They draw on the comfort that their home provides to help them reconnect with themselves. For them, home is a secure and reassuring place – somewhere to shut out the noise and re-centre.

TECHNOLOGY / Technology is used minimally and simply. The Warm-hearted person is risk averse and a cautious adopter of the latest advances, always prioritizing security over innovation. At home they use the tech staples of our age; tablets, laptops and smartphones, to update themselves on news, contact friends and family and make price comparisons before investing in a big-ticket purchase.

NATURE / With a wholesome respect for nature, this person brings the outdoors into their home through neat pot plants, micro-plants displayed in terrariums and soft furnishings featuring plant motifs. Nature is reflected in a contained and controlled way.

RELATIONSHIPS / When it comes to relationships, quality is prioritised over quantity. This person has long-established friendships that combine people they have met in formative years at school, university and in their early careers. They enjoy modest yet meaningful get-togethers of carefully-selected groups of friends who share the same ethos.

FOOD / Food is a comfort and a pleasure. It is shopped-for conscientiously from local small business suppliers, weekend food markets and ethical retailers. As a supporter of the Slow- Food movement, this person prepares meals using premium, fuss-free ingredients.

INTERIOR / Aesthetics and function carry equal merit in the Warm-hearted person’s generously-sized home. Here, the beautiful is effortlessly balanced with the useful. This person gravitates towards comforting hardwoods and tactile textures such as velvet and leather, which are elevated with metallic accents. They invest in mid-century modern originals and regularly attend design fairs and auction houses.

WORK / For the Warm-hearted, a job is for life. For that reason, they seek professions with security – a steady income and a clear career path within a company and profession that is unlikely to be impacted by technological advances and social trends. They maintain boundaries in their work-life balance and leave their work at work, rather than bring it home.

TRANSPORT / The Warm-hearted person places great value in their choice of car. It is a premium brand with leather seating and the best spec they can afford. The interior of this vehicle is another space for them to call their own.

For those that tend towards ‘Warm-hearted’, shelter is a place to find reassurance and calm, with technology becoming less important and nature even less so. For them it is important that their home offers comfort.


Inclusive, optimistic, collaborative, containing

/ In times of unpredictability, the Open-hearted person’s home becomes a place to gather with close ones and reconnect. There is comfort in communality and this person likes to recharge and reset in the company of others, often by sharing a treasured space and reflecting on fond memories.

TECHNOLOGY / Technology is used to bring people together and into their homes. This is where they use the latest devices to stream family blockbuster movies, listen to music, or FaceTime long-distance relatives. They maximise time spent together by switching off devices and setting time limits for children playing computer games.

NATURE / The Open-hearted person keeps kitchen gardens outside and pots of herbs inside, which they regularly use to take cuttings for recipes. The line between outside and inside is fluid, as bi-folding doors are pulled back to create a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. Flowers have been given by guests or collected by children on their way home from school.

RELATIONSHIPS / Relationships become even more important during periods of unpredictability. Within the family unit, different generations mingle and everybody is equal. Beyond the family unit, new friendships are effortlessly made and welcomed into the home.

FOOD / The theme of plenty runs through mealtimes in the Open-hearted person’s home. Sharing platters are passed around the table and, thanks to easy abundance, there is always room for more. Dishes are nourishing and recipes are adapted to whatever’s in season, in the store-cupboard or whoever happens to be sitting at the kitchen table.

INTERIOR / Open-plan living is at the heart of this person’s spacious home, which they zone into areas using different color schemes of paint. Gentle but hardwearing natural fabrics fill each room, with cotton throws draped over plush sofas and linen runners dressing long canteen-style dining tables. Tall windows let in as much light as possible and, despite piles of creative family clutter, the living space feels roomy and generous.

WORK / For the Open-hearted, work is for work and for play. They enjoy working collaboratively with others and are happy to move company or role frequently, in search of the excitement and challenge that is presented by a change of environment and colleagues.

TRANSPORT / SUVs are the vehicles of choice for the Open-hearted, and ideally those that allow extra flexibility with folding or removable seats. This way the whole family or half a football team (and the dog) can fit inside for long or short trips and sing along to the music playing.

For those that identify with ‘Open-hearted’, shelter, technology and nature play equal roles in helping them re-centre during unpredictable times. Their home is an inviting place that welcomes everyone.


Curious, adventurous, calm, adaptable

/ The Light-hearted person responds to times of unpredictability by looking outwards, rather than shutting off. For them, home is a platform to launch creative ideas and plans for the future. Their living space gives them the confidence that they have the inner resources to meet any unpredictability that the outside world brings.

TECHNOLOGY / They are early adopters of new technology and the first to try out a new device, app or piece of software. Their operating systems are always upgraded and technology is integrated seamlessly in their home, with systems connected and operable remotely. The Light-hearted person is not concerned with privacy, preferring to focus instead on advancement, efficiency and experience.

NATURE / Spending so much time in the great outdoors means the Light-hearted person brings the energy of the outside world into their home. Plants are never stiff or formal, they are low maintenance and allowed to grow freely across bookshelves and free-standing storage.

RELATIONSHIPS / The Light-hearted person’s openness means their friendships span different cultures and diversities. They naturally seek out relationships beyond the binaries of gender, faith and sexuality, and are happy to meet new people online.

FOOD / Convenience is king when it comes to meal times. They buy ingredients and groceries from mini-supermarkets en-route to their next appointment, but often resort to takeaways from street-food vans or pop-ups. When the Light-hearted person does cook, it is an act of experimentation – perhaps trying out a recipe that they picked up on their latest adventure.

INTERIOR / Their compact interior is multi-functional and invigorating. Space-saving solutions ensure there is a place for everything, from single-gear bikes hanging on the wall, to easy-fold dining tables that double up as desks. Textures are natural and low-key, while patterns are fun and uncomplicated. This person searches social channels for decor inspiration, and often shares their own design hacks, too.

WORK / The line between work and play has long disappeared for the Light-hearted, and their peripatetic work ethic means they can do their working day at any location, from coffee shops to desk rentals. They often juggle more than one career at a time, and their versatility means they find motivation and inspiration in a variety of professions and sectors.

TRANSPORT / Bicycles are the first choice of the Light-hearted person. Helmet and high-vis on, grab the bike and out of the door. If it is too far to cycle, then they will quickly jump on public transport.

For the ‘Light-hearted’ person, reassurance is sought in nature first and technology second. Shelter by contrast is less of a priority for them. Above all, home is somewhere to play.

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About ColourFutures™ 2018

Established in 2004, ColourFutures™ aims to build an annual picture of what home life will be like for consumers and create color palettes that will transform their interiors accordingly. ColourFutures™ involves the selection and identification of AkzoNobel’s Colour of the Year, its hero palette and three supporting palettes. These are brought to life by the company’s Decorative Paints brands, including Alba, Astral, Bruguer, Coral, Dulux, Flexa, Inca, Levis, Marshall, Nordsjo, Sadolin, Sikkens and Vivechrome.

The trend analysis behind ColourFutures™ and the identification of the Colour of the Year is conducted by the AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Centre, led by Creative Director Heleen Van Gent.

Based in the Netherlands, it leads the company’s Decorative Paint’s trend analysis, color research and design, and art direction. Each year, it invites a select group of independent experts to forecast the emerging global design trends for the year ahead. It supports 80 global markets, empowering consumers to make the right color choices for their homes.

Through this extensive research and a deep understanding of how the continuous shifts in the global landscape filter into consumers’ lives, the Global Aesthetic Centre experts ensure that ColourFutures™ not only evolves with, but also anticipates, the changing needs of the home. As such, ColourFutures™ provides consumers with contemporary complementary color palettes that bring the comfort and ease that we desire into our homes.

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