Dulux, paint colour, decor trend 2016, Monarch Gold
Photo: Akzo Nobel 

A fresh coat of paint is still one of the easiest ways to jazz up a home. But what colours to pick is the perennial dilemma.

Paint companies do their bit by picking out what they think will dominate colour schemes each year. For Dulux Paint, Monarch Gold – that hints at opulence without being over the top – is its pick for colour of the year.

Jeremy Rowe, managing director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints, South East & South Asia, Middle East – the organisation is also Dulux's parent company – says: "It's a gold-influenced ochre, which is bright enough to attract attention but combines well with other tones."

Gold and gold tones are currently on trend in the design world, he explains. It's all the rage at design fairs and in graphic design as well as in architecture, fashion, beauty and interior decorating.

It's not as hard as one may think to work gold tones into a home's colour scheme, Mr Rowe explains. For a feminine yet sophisticated touch, a Monarch Gold wall will play off well against pastel pink accents. "This colour combination creates an invigorating backdrop for a home with mostly white or neutral-coloured furniture," he says.

Monarch Gold's earthy tone makes it a swankier alternative to beige or brown for interior walls. Its calming neutral shade is suitable for areas where focus is needed, say in the home office or study.

Similarly, Nippon Paint has its own pick of colours for 2016. Its marketing manager Kitty Tan says the company worked with a select group of Asian design professionals to present the 2016/2017 palettes.

Nippon Paint, colour trend, colour trend 2016, grey
Photo: Nippon Paint

Among the nine colour palettes is Gray Knight – a shade of dark grey which works not only on walls but also on ceilings. Ms Tan says Gray Knight reflects the concept of "grey areas" where nothing is set in stone and is opened to personal definition. "Grey is a rare colour that offers infinite creative possibilities."

Nippon Paint, colour trend, colour trend 2016, paint colour
Photo: Nippon Paint

Alternatively, bolder home owners could go for a fuchsia pink, quirkily named Fast Car. "The colour associated with Fast Car may seem to reflect danger; however, it is an intense colour, filled with passion, desire and determination," says Ms Tan.

It works best as a feature wall for the bedroom but if that's still too bold, Ms Tan suggests small doses – perhaps on cushions – to brighten up a room.

While bold colours are in this year, it doesn't mean running riot with them, especially when it comes to furniture colour choices.

Chloe Chee, marketing assistant at Bo Concept, says that there will be a more controlled use of colour. "Colours inspired by nature – the golden nuances of amber, the grassy freshness of olive oil, the paleness of lichen growing on a boulder – will be a key trend in 2016."

Terence Teh, marketing manager at Journey East, says that "in terms of decor choices, bright, bold colours will take even more precedence in 2016. Nothing overpowering, but a little statement here and there to break the monotony of a neutral palette."

Craftsmanship and sustainability

Journey East, Drugeot Labo, furniture, french brand
Photo: Journey East

Knowing where your furniture comes from and how it was made will also be a highlight this year.

Mr Teh says that "the appreciation of craftsmanship will continue to be a key consideration for furniture shoppers. Customers are more aware of the provenance of the pieces they choose, and are asking more questions about how furniture is made, by whom and from where".

He cites the example of Drugeot Labo – a fully designed and made-in-France brand that blends quirky modern design with traditional craftsmanship. All pieces are made from French oak and combine bright colours, fine finishes, and asymmetrical shapes that blend practicality with originality, making every piece a decor statement.

For Andrew Tan, founder of Atomi, "the design trend for 2016 is all about sustainability, and looking after the next generation. After what happened in 2015, we were badly affected by the haze and we are hoping consumers will think about the future and sustainability when it comes to their spending patterns".

He believes that consumers will want furniture that can be passed down across generations, or be brought along with them when they move homes.

"Instead of fixtures or feature walls, we are forecasting the trend of having sideboards, chests and cabinets that are movable. Such flexibility is what consumers are looking out for, as they invest in furniture that can last and grow with them," says Mr Tan.

Happy and shiny
On the home accessories front, anything shiny will be a hit.

Angeline Tng, co-founder of furniture/homeware store, For The Common Goods, says the use of brass or copper in home furnishing and accessories has been steadily increasing for some time now, and she feels it is still on the uptake. "It is especially interesting to see brass and copper used with more traditional and commonplace materials like wood and marble," she says.

Furniture store The Beuro's founder and managing director Hadi Nishaburi says that metals are still an evergreen material in the furniture and lighting industry, and manufacturers are embellishing products with metals such as copper, brass, chrome, to name a few. Some have even allowed them to age in order to bring out the patina finish. "We see them utilised in lighting, where the bulb's glow casts a mesmerising shimmer on the forms of table lamps," says Mr Hadi.

Marble back in trend

Bonconcept, marble, tealight holder, 2016 decor trend
Photo: Boconcept

Dream Interiors marketeer Terence Choo says that marble was popular about three years ago but it looks like the trend's coming back. "There's always that sophistication in marble with its regal look. Along with that comes its versatility, by being able to mix with different types of wood and brass seamlessly. It also has a striking effect compared with other materials, so marble furniture becomes statement pieces."

Bo Concept's Ms Chee suggests that the stone has an understated beauty about it, and homeowners need not have them in the usual table-top format, but in the form of smaller accessories – to give that touch of luxury.

This article first appeared in The Business Times