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J’adore/J’abhor: Dulux’s ‘Brave Ground’

Dulux's colour of 2021 is hot off the press and majorly dividing opinions at Muddy HQ - but will you be plastering your walls in 'Brave Ground'? Let us know in the comments!

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J’ABHOR: Rachel Jane, Editor of Muddy Berkshire

Brave Ground is Dulux’s Paint Colour of The Year 2021. God the disappointment. There’s nothing brave about it… it’s just so boring. Dare I say it, depressing. I’m sure this 50 shades of beige hue will have minimalist salivating, but anything that has a vague resemblance to baby poo or last night’s chicken korma has no business being on my walls (not intentionally anyway).

Having spent the best part of 2020 locked inside our homes, you’d think the trend bods at Dulux would want to spread a bit of joy, but no. Dulux UK’s Creative Director Marianne Shillingford describes Brave Ground as ‘a Mother Earth of colours – organic, familiar and versatile’. As is the veg from the local farmer’s market but that doesn’t make it a good decorating choice, does it?

Much like skirt lengths are an indicator of how well the economy is doing, I wonder if paint trends do the same. Minis are generally hot when business is booming and the hemlines drop like a stone when times are tough. Perhaps colour is reserved for good times and Brave Ground is a big neon sign saying “recession’. As I said, depressing.

Brave Ground will undoubtedly be lauded as the fashion equivalent of a camel coat, dependable and timeless, but I love a bit of mood-enhancing colour in my house. So I’m sorry, 2021 may well be the year of sludge, but I won’t be buying it.

J’ADORE: Lucy Foster, Muddy contributor

Hang on, I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking, “I’m pretty sure that’s the colour of my parents’ kitchen, living room, sofa, shag pile carpet and bathroom suite back in 1978”. And you’re not wrong. There are definite wafts of macrame and brown pyrex emanating from Brave Ground – Dulux’s colour of 2021. But, as we all know, fashions are cyclical, and who are we to argue if the trend forecasters are saying it’s time to relive the Winter of Discontent, in figurative form, if not literal. (We’re watching you, Covid.)

Besides, I’m bored of grey and scandi design being the universal manifestation of taste – and it appears I’m not the only one. I spoke to a painter and decorator the other day who told me that customers were starting to choose beige and magnolias again. An upholster divulged that mid-century was on the way out and dark wood and Victoriana were on the way back in. Interior trends are moving on and if they’re going to be based around the colour of wet sand on a crap November day, so be it.

According to Dulux, the shade is a “reassuring” elemental hue that is calming and restorative as punters, mid-pandemic, are keen to focus on wellbeing. Quite right, because if we’re all going to be working from home for the foreseeable, we should be making our spaces exactly that – calming and restorative. Just imagine the levels of stress that would come from trying to manage family, work, body and soul in a bright orange kitchen? Well, exactly. Plus, we will get used to it. And we will start to view it differently. Remember, along with the pink bathrooms and furry toilet seat covers, your parents’ oppressively brown house was once the height of sophistication. You liked it back then. Here’s betting you’ll like it again next year.

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