Dulux is 90! How Colour Trends Have Changed Over the Decades. Part 1

Can you believe that Dulux has been around for 90 years? That’s 9 decades of providing gloriously colourful paint for our homes, helping us to become creative with our choices and predicting future trends.

dulux is 90

Dulux’s origin came about when the Naylor brothers set up a factory in Slough, UK after the first world war. Inspired by DuPont in the US, they began to look at new paint processes and finishes. In 1931, the name Dulux was born, when the Naylors created a durable alkyd-based paint, based on the DuPont formulation and combined the names Durable and Luxury.

Dulux is symbolised by the Dulux Dog which has been their mascot since 1961. The original Old English Sheepdog was named Dash and belonged to the advertising director at the time. Dash apparently kept on running onto the set whilst they were filming and a star was born. There have been 14 different Old English Sheepdogs since.

Altogether now, aaaawwwwww. The Old English Sheepdog

Dulux Anniversary Book

To celebrate 90 years of producing paint for the home, Dulux have brought out the perfect coffee table limited-edition Anniversary book. In this book it explores how colour and trends have changed over the decades and I thought I would explore these colour trends with you today!

dulux is 90 anniversary book
Dulux is 90! The anniversary book

The 1930s

The 30s was a time when the UK was in between 2 World wars and the defining trend was Art Deco. Art Deco tended to use bold geometrics in its design and could be seen everywhere from tiles, to door panels, lighting and windows. The Chrysler building in New York is synonymous with the Art Deco period.

Art Deco lighting. Image credit: Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
Chrysler Building in New York. Image credit: Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash

Golds, burgundies and soft oranges were hugely popular in this era and could easily be integrated into interior design. However, the most popular colour was green including pastel sage and dark emerald green. These colours work well together and could easily be paired with accents of burgundy and dusty pinks.

Burgundies and oranges. Image credit: Dulux
Orange, Pinks and greens in the kitchen. Image credit: Dulux

The 1940s

This decade was heavily dominated by the Second World War so many people were looking to find peace and serenity in their homes. With materials and furniture scarce, people repurposed, recycled and made do. Linoleum was the top choice for flooring in the kitchen and still echoed the geometric patterns of the 30s.

Geometric linoleum was hugely popular in the 1940s. Image credit: carpetright.co.uk

Warm and neutral tones with metallic undertones were used in abundance in interior design and the colour pink came into its own. Mustard tones started to make an appearance in the mid-40s to help the shift from wartime to peacetime and brighten up the home.

The 1950s

This is the decade when homes across the UK started to rebuild after the war. A lot of homes had sustained damage throughout the war and had to live through tough austerity measures. Interior design throughout the 50s was dominated by mass produced affordable furniture and was heavily influenced by the Scandinavian furniture of the era mixed with mid-century pieces.

Mid-century furniture with pops of colour. Image credit: tournorfolk.co.uk

Colours of this era were upbeat, reflecting the need to move on from decades of war. Pastel shades were still immensely popular, but we began to see pops of brighter turquoises and lilacs and blue tones started to replace the ubiquitous green. Pop art emerged in this decade as a revolt towards the dominant traditional views on what art should look like.

Pop art became extremely popular in the 50s. Image credit: squarkdesign.com
Bright colour pops of the 50s. Image credit: Dulux

The 1960s

The 60s was definitely the decade where love and colour ruled! Mushroom lamps and Tulip chairs were hugely sought-after pieces of furniture and plastic and PVC became synonymous with the decade. Art nouveau saw a bit of a revival, with a modern twist. Psychedelic patterns adorned artwork, fabric and album covers alike and flower power symbolised people’s freedom to express themselves.

Mushroom lamps adorned sideboards of 60s homes. Image credit: Wallmart
Vintage 60s paisley wallpaper. Image credit: vintagewallpapers.com

One of my favourite TV series so far this year was The Queens Gambit which was set primarily in the 60s, I wrote about the interior design from the sets here. This TV show really showcased how diverse the 60s was with it’s design and colour schemes.

Clashing prints and colour from a set on the Queen’s Gambit. Image credit: Netflix.
One of my mood boards from the era.

With the likes of The Beatles ruling the radio waves, colours in this era were bright, clashing and intoxicating. Yellow ruled and was seen in Paisley patterns, rainbow carpets and rugs and floral fabric adorned homes. Colour-block kitchens and modern art helped inject colour into homes and walls and windows were clad with pattern clashing wallpaper and curtains. 

Colour pop kitchen. Image credit: Dulux

The 1970s

And finally, for this part anyway, the 70s. This was the decade that brown and orange really came into its own! 

Autumnal and earthy tones really defined the 70s and I don’t think there was a home in the UK that didn’t have an orange and brown geometric wall of some form or other. Coincidentally, it was in 1970 that we saw the birth of Earth Day, where we started to realise just how important are planet and environment was. 

It didn’t stop with the paint and wallpaper either! Sofas came in two colours; brown or orange and modular office furniture continued the brown theme.

Orange geometric patterns were huge in the 70s. Image credit: Bohemian Dream wallpaper, Graham & Brown

Earth tones really dominated this decade with colours such as avocado, mustard yellow, rust, paprika and beige taking centre stage. Yellow and turquoise were still being used, but more as accent colours to break up the eternal autumn mood.

Amazingly autumnal – Image credit: furniturechoice.co.uk
Image credit: Dulux

I have always been fascinated with colour and how we use it in our home. I find it interesting how world events of each decade really define our colour palettes and how we choose to decorate our homes. Next week I will cover the 80s until today, so come back and take a look!

The new Dulux Anniversary Book really is a lovely read with some fascinating insights from experts and beautiful images throughout the years. You can buy it here!

Mel x

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