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Colour Lookbook: 90s paint trends that are more popular than ever

Chunky platform sneakers and slip dresses are all the rage, we’re still not over Friends, and ever since we heard that Changing Rooms is returning to our tellies, we’ve been tapping into our 90s-inspired home décor nostalgia too. Join us on a trip down memory lane-a.k.a the Dulux archives-to see the paint colours and techniques making a comeback… Each with a 2021 spin.

The one where we got the blues


Our Instagram feed is full of rooms painted in indigo and petrol blue, but recently, we’ve spotted a lighter, dusky blue being deployed by some of our favourite interior stylists and designers. In the 90s this pastel blue hue was everywhere, splashed liberally in airy, communal spaces like living rooms and hallways (see above). Today’s version - above, in denim-drift is grounded with a note of grey that makes it feel more grown-up. And now that we know that blue shades can boost creativity, it’s a shade that also makes a great backdrop for a workspace (thanks, science).

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The one where we were tickled pink


In the world of interiors, a passion for pink is nothing new. Long before “millennial pink” was a thing, some of the most stylish rooms in the 1990s were coated with a luminous shade of fuchsia. While we applaud the design verve behind this space-fuchsia teamed with pale lilac, no less!  Today, we’re more inspired by muted, less saturated pinks such as rose-tinted Heart Wood (above, grounded with a strip of Tempered Chocolate). It’s a soothing shade that will bring a relaxed vibe to a living room or bedroom.

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The one where we stayed neutral


In the 90s, few paint shades achieved as much wall time as beige; the chic-est beige rooms were then layered with cream woodwork and pale wood furniture, creating a monochrome effect. Like Ross in Friends, we needed to go on a break (with beige) for a while, but we’ve since rediscovered the warmth and sophistication that a good neutral can bring to a room. Brave Ground, Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2021 (above) is a case in point. Both earthy and modern, this beige looks especially contemporary with darker furnishings like this charcoal sofa above, and paired with a bright, “expressive” or a deep, “earthy” palette. 

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The one where we sponge-painted our walls


During the 90s, we witnessed a generation of decorating DIY-ers, fired up by the designs on Changing Rooms, take up sponge painting. The two-tone paint effect isn’t one of the decade’s most fondly-remembered trends, but there’s a super-appealing new take on the technique that has caught our eye: ombré stripes. These three sunny pastel shades, Rock Candy 6 , Frayed Hessian 1 and Spring-Breeze-5 work brilliantly together, as they share a similar tone and intensity. Just follow our tutorial to see how to recreate it in your home. 

If you’ve enjoyed taking a colourful tour through the 90s paints we loved, check out Dulux’s anniversary book , a celebration of the brand’s 90-year history and a deep-dive into the colours that were shaped by each decade’s culture and history. It’s crammed with inspiring imagery from our archives and fun features by contributors including Changing Room’s Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and interiors expert Michelle Ogundehin.

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