In a book written back in 1810, Goethe noted that only savage nations, uneducated people and children enjoyed vivid colours. He is far from the only person to believe intellectual and aesthetic purity are best expressed in monochrome. Le Corbusier, John Pawson and Steve Jobs have all flirted with the idea. So too, Australia’s greatest architects and designers.
And when we asked Dulux to reveal its most popular shades, it is whites and pale tones, neutral and quiet, that rate best. These colours wrap around you, without being overwhelming or attention-seeking. Thomas Hamel, one of Australia’s greatest designers, is also a fan.
Here are the best Dulux paint colours according to the legendary Australian brand’s colour expert, Andrea Lucena-Orr. Plus more than a few of Hamel’s favourite, all-purpose whites such as the one featured in the blissful bedroom, pictured.
ANTIQUE WHITE USA
It is the white chosen more often than any other. An ochre-based, versatile, universally flattering white, that is the perfect wall colour. We used Antique throughout our Sydney apartment because it has lots of north-eastern light.
A classic white according to designers such as Poppy O’Neil and Charlotte O’Neil of Poco Design and Charlotte Coote, Coote & Co, who says, “It’s one of the best warm whites around”.
It’s the ultimate white. The top choice for a go-to white loved by our leading designers such as Thomas Hamel, Iain Halliday, Greg Natale, Anna Spiro and Parterre owner, Richard Haigh. If it’s good enough for the the award-winning boutique hotel, Halcyon House, it’s certainly good enough for us.
One of the best whites around, with a cult following in the white world. A bright, cool white. Big names such as Thomas Hamel, Iain Halliday, Poco Design, Anna Spiro, Charlotte Coote, (Coote & Co) and Pamela Makin, (Les Interieurs) all swear by it. It’s a bright, cool white. “It’s my favourite cool white. Half-strength for walls and quarter-strength for ceilings, woodwork, mouldings, and trims,” says Coote.
The warm white of old, pre-brightend, starched linen. A favourite with big names like Thomas Hamel who used it on the bedroom, featured to offset ceilings and cornice in flat, and woodwork in semi gloss. Cameron Kimber, Walter Herman and Lynda Kerry are also big fans. Use a mix of half and quarter strength.
So popular, it rates in the top 10 best-selling Dulux paints. What more can we say?
HOG BRISTLE (QUARTER-STRENGTH)
A great paint colour marked by its depth and resilience under shifting light conditions.“An oldie, but a goodie. It makes everything look good,” says designer Adelaide Bragg.
It has a tiny amount of grey and a warmth to it that moves it away from white.
It’s suede-like quality that’s not too light or too dark” tone.
One of the more silvery options on this list. Mixing with a tonal clay shade will result in a room full of atmosphere.
It changes from off-white to beige to soft-grey. It is the perfect background for accent colors while keeping things subdued and sophisticated.
A go-to off-white (ecru) that will warm up any room with its softness. Fresh, versatile, and warm, and it works in any home, whether traditional or modern, that can be made to look more creamy if contrasted with bright whites or fresher and cleaner if contrasted with warm whites. Perfect for country kitchens.
BEIGE ROYAL (HALF-STRENGTH)
“I use it like a white paint, for everything. Everywhere,” says designer Marco Meneguzzi.
It’s a bit of a chameleon and can look warm in a sunny room or cooler in a north-facing room. It always looks elegant.
It has a sophisticated warmth and adds a timeless elegance to any room.
Michael Love, one of Australia’s greatest, most enduring interior designers painted the common area walls of his beautiful Sydney harbourside house this timeless grey more than 35 years ago, and the walls have remained unchanged. “It has darkened over time, and actually got better.”
Top designers pick this out again and again and again without even meaning to. “It looks great on exteriors combined with black iron windows, bronze light fittings and a copper roof,” says designer Lynda Kerry.
A light, subtle and warm hue that compliments white as well as bolder hues perfectly.
It is a versatile grey that goes bluer or browner, depending on the light. A lovely colour that is a great way to give a new wall a bit of depth; and matches natural steel and sheet metal perfectly.
It’s a terrible name, but the best stone shade out there. A colour you’ll want to use it again and again and again. And pick up, without meaning to.
The darkest colour on the list. A beautiful, rich, deep charcoal that strikes the right note every time.