Dulux Colour of the Year 2024: Q&A with Marianne Shillingford

Drum roll, please… Dulux has named Sweet Embrace as its Colour of the Year for 2024. Here’s how you can welcome it into your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom design…

We’re delighted to announce that Dulux‘s highly anticipated Colour of the Year 2024 is a subtle blush shade called Sweet Embrace. And, as the name suggests, this colour evokes warmth and a welcoming, homely feeling. We think this soft hue looks beautiful on its own but perhaps even better in the three colour stories compiled by the brand – Warm, Calm and Uplifting.

The Warm colour palette is filled with earthy neutrals, from creamy Cashmere Throw to the rich Winter Pumpkin, while Calm includes darker greens and blues. Lastly, the Uplifting colour story brings a sense of joy to the mix with its muted yellows and lovely lilacs.

cosy living room
The Warm colour palette by Dulux.

At Dulux‘s immersive event held in London, I had a chat with Marianne Shillingford, the brand’s creative director and colour expert, about how you can use Sweet Embrace in your home…

Q&A with Marianne Shillingford:

How did you come up with the name Sweet Embrace?

“That’s the most difficult thing ever,” laughs Marianne. “We think about the way it makes us feel. When we’re looking at colours, we’re looking at what we want and what we need from the spaces in which we live. And also, what do we want and what do we need from life itself in a very busy, full-on, fast-paced world?

“And what we need is a sweet embrace from a friend. We’re not ready for big crowds, we just want a sweet embrace from our homes. We want to feel we have lots of little moments of joy and feel loved, safe and secure. If you think about the word sweet, it will take us to a warm colour – and it takes us to pink. So, we have to make an association with how the colour makes us feel and how it looks. And Sweet Embrace is the name that stuck.”

Dulux colour of the year 2024
Sweet Embrace: Dulux Colour of the Year 2024.

What are your top tips for using the 2024 Colour of the Year in a kitchen?

“If you think of the rise of the drink rosé and blush drinks, we love blush. We love not just the way blush looks but the way blush tastes, and so it makes the perfect colour for a kitchen. Whether you’re going to put it on the units or on the walls, it is the perfect partner to a really deep colour. 

“If you have a deep, sapphire blue or an emerald green kitchen, Sweet Embrace looks fantastic on the walls. But if you are brave enough to put it on the units, it looks amazing, too. It’s one of those colours that has a flavour to it, and it just tastes sweet.

“You can affect the way you experience food and the people around you. This colour is designed to bring people together, to create a soft, warm embrace. All sweet colours such as pinks and reds, in a kitchen, will unblock the tastebuds. They’re stimulating colours so they make food taste sweeter, taste better.”

green kitchen with dulux colour of the year 2024
The Calm colour palette by Dulux.

What about decorating a bedroom using Sweet Embrace?

“In a bedroom, I would almost paint it onto everything. Combine it with a very soft green, to create that sort of tranquillity – soft nature-inspired colours could be on the bedding, on the soft furnishings. It works beautifully, combined with darker colours or just on its own.”

Pink bedroom
Bedroom painted in Sweet Embrace: Dulux Colour of the Year 2024.

Does it work in a bathroom too?

“I think it’s lovely in a bathroom, especially in a north-facing bathroom. Generally, in a bathroom, you don’t have many walls to paint. There’s lots of tiling in a bathroom, but if you have elements, then I would definitely paint the ceilings and the units.”

Where did the inspiration come from?

“We saw out there, in design, these beautiful warm, rich terracottas coming through – warm clays, pink in a stronger form – so we knew these strong colours were something big. We’ve also seen very intense yellows. We wanted to create a colour that everybody would want to use – and not everybody feels confident about a dark colour, even though it might look beautiful.

“So we focused on pink. We’ve dialled down the colour, paired it back to something elegant and beautiful, but also completely accessible.”

What is your favourite colour palette?

“I love the Warm colour palette. I love orange, especially in combination with soft lilacs. Orange and purple together is an amazing combination. It’s unusual but it works.”

colourful dining room
The Uplifting colour palette by Dulux.

Do you have a favourite Colour of the Year?

“I loved Tranquil Down, and I love Sweet Embrace. I like a colour that supports other colours, which means you can use it really confidently and you can dial it up or dial it down with another palette of colours.”

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

“I’m really looking forward to people using their walls as a creative canvas, expressing themselves more, and just having fun. Let’s have some fun, let’s have flashes of joy and let’s be brave.

“If you want a pink kitchen or a pink bathroom, to have Sweet Embrace wherever you want it, just do it. It’s only paint, it can always be painted out – just have fun!”

And on that note, I hope you feel inspired to have fun and dare to decorate using colour.

Click here for decorating ideas

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