We’ve said before that if the average interior shell can be likened to an empty box that requires decorating, then the vertical surfaces of walls and windows are high on the list of crucial factors for an eventual successful result. How to finish, clad or screen these very obviously noticed areas will depend to some extent on the function of the space in question. In 2017 South Africa, a vast bouquet of options exists.

A new year offers a clean slate. It’s a chance to tweak (or totally ditch) the old and ring in the new. This is particularly relevant in the modern home, so in the spirit of change, we reveal certain key global décor trends for 2017 – colour used on walls and for decorating material is a paramount factor. In this annual FOCUS feature we ask local leaders in the field for their info on trends.

If Pantone – a global company known for its colour matching system and industry colour trend predictions – is any indication, 2017 is the year of Greenery, a yellow-green shade that takes its cue from the natural environment. Other spectrum notables include earthy shades like Kale (the colour is akin to the vegetable) and Hazelnut, a warm nude; in addition to splashy shades like Lapis Blue, a vivid jewel tone and Flame, a fiery orange. This is a case of neutrals meeting saturated hues.

Pantone’s colour of the year – Greenery – is an attention grabbing shade, one that could be introduced to add panache and contrast to the overall interior; particularly those featuring natural elements. Designers in the U.S. reckon that the major area in which rich, earthy tones will be used is indeed the walls. They list cool colours, such as greens and blues – with dark grey undertones – that are able to show up as a compliment in fabrics such as curtains and on velvet-type upholsteries for sofas and occasional chairs.

The 2017 Palette

Alternative forecasted U.S. colour trends include everything from warm, inviting tones to icy hues. Here are some indications that will likely emerge:

We’re more connected now than at any other time in history and this fact can serve to introduce dramatic tones and textures inspired by other nations and cultures. So thanks to an ever-evolving global integration and social media, there may well be an emphasis on our shared space, and palettes shaped by influences from exotic destinations. One such colour is red, very important in many cultures. It symbolises action, confidence and courage – so expect to see a resurgence in multicultural shades of crimson.

A harvest influenced yellow is also likely to emerge; this rich tone may show a hint of earthiness and will work well with a grounded blue while providing a rustic twist on classic red. Alongside this, yellow-green – as per Pantone’s Greenery – should provide an uplifting accent. Such earthy, natural greens will continue to emerge together with a strong orange, all evoking a sense of vitality for the future.

Grey is likely to remain popular, and will make an appearance in both charcoal and grey-blue hues, while urban greys mirror cement and also act as a subtle backdrop to bolder colours.

Heleen van Gent of Dulux’s Global Aesthetics Centre believes that blue will be an important colour for 2017. She says: ‘A blue that we expect to see is the Dulux Colour of the Year: Steel Symphony 2. A timeless and versatile grey-blue that takes on a different characteristic depending on how it’s used, perfectly capturing the mood of the moment and embodying life in 2017 through all interior styles.

‘This colour is a diverse foundation for the 2017 colour palette and we feel it tells the story of current lifestyle in a new light. Steel Symphony 2 represents the times we live in; designers appreciate it and its complementary colour palette. There is a colour combination for everyone’s taste and preference within this denim inspired collection.’

As consumers become more conscious about wellness and more intentional about connection, they will look for more deliberate colour choices. 2017 should put a fresh spin on ever popular natural tones and textures; cleansing organic shades that encourage connectivity, health and considerate living. Simple, balancing hues promote a temporary disconnect from the digital realm in favour of getting back to basics. Such simplified colours are forward-thinking without being too trendy.


‘Dimensional Textures’ – U.S. décor buzzwords – which could be interpreted in a number of ways.

In SA we may be able to take a cue from three of their most prevalent décor styles: Industrial (raw metals and unfinished woods), Southwestern (cowhide rugs and indigenous plants), and Scandinavian (bleached Nordic timbers with neutral wool rugs and natural linen / cotton upholstery). Conceivably these could be mixed and matched to eclectic effect, and such unexpected design pairings are very much possible via the South African decorating palette and its available components. Further, from the Pantone predictions a suitable wall colour could be selected.

For example, a sofa with a light timber frame and natural linen upholstery could look right at home alongside an industrial metal table topped with cacti, placed on an abstract rug – or an Nguni cow hide. The juxtaposition of different design styles and textures (rather than using just one) can create a formidably effective impact; interior architecture notwithstanding.

Terracotta and cork aren’t exactly the first materials that come to mind for wall finishes, but both are becoming more popular for interior accents. Again, in concert with kitchen and bathroom cladding trends, terracotta tile is being used with a more natural matt finish (which is or can be sealed) in earthy tones to create rustic yet eclectic spaces. It’s effective and appealing as floor tiling, on an accent wall, or as a surround for a fireplace. Meanwhile cork is being used for wall cladding and table and server bases; it’s a unique focal material that can create an accent wall, and it absorbs sound.

Shedding New Light

Window treatments can turn into a design challenge and may represent a major investment. But – if neglected in favour of a different design focus – the result can be a bare outlook with a lack of privacy and security sometimes evident in modern residential architecture. Whether a fresh window treatment or a start from scratch, the right solution can also become a vital focal point.

Yvonne Tobien of Luxaflex elaborates: ‘Large windows have various advantages, including lots of natural light and the chance to admire inspiring views from within the comfort of the interior. Offering such gains they clearly deserve window décor that makes the most of their assets. But not all large or picture windows are made equal. Before planning any custom window treatment or specialist blinds, consider what challenges need managing as well as the visual effects of window dressing ideas. Large window blinds can work like a canvas or flat wall when closed, while window treatments for tall windows or wide windows suit different materials and may have technical limitations. And they can create a draughty sensation if not properly insulated, plusglare from sunlight if not controlled.

‘Blinds for large windows come in various options: wooden blinds and aluminium venetian blinds lend themselves to window treatments that may need to filter or obscure the view. Wooden venetian blinds especially can make an elegant connection between a natural vista beyond the glass and the decorative signature. Further, change the mood of the interior through the fabric selected, such as the softly filtering fabric in the Silhouette range. And the effect of sheer fabric used on the vanes – yellow, pale gold or soft green – will instantly warm up the light that filters through.

For the full article see Habitat #258 March / April 2017