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Colour Hive SS2021: The Drivers Behind The Trends

I was lucky enough to visit the Spring Fair at the NEC a couple of weeks ago, with Alice (@alicemaughaninteriors) and Jennie (@ahousetodreamin). Our first stop was a presentation by Colour Hive about their trend predictions for Spring/Summer 2021, which always interests me, not because of the trends as such, but more the social drivers behind them.

It's no secret that trends across Fashion & Interiors are often influenced by what is going on in society, both positive and negative, and with my background in psychology this sort of thing is right up my street! So I thought I'd write a post about the trends but with a real focus on why Colour Hive have made these predictions. And I hope you find it just as interesting, enjoy!

There were four overall trends, presented as 'stories' which look at different themes, drivers, with a background to each, the colours you're likely to see and how they can be used in combination with each other, and finally the materials, textures and shapes. You can read into each of the four stories further in Colour Hive Issues 56 and 57.


First up we looked at 'Factory' which is based on a sense of nostalgia, political & economic uncertainty and gender politics.

Do you have a tendency towards anything nostalgic? Well according to a recent survey 2/3 of people feel that the present day is worse than the past. So this trend is all about practice & process, an appreciation for manufacturing skills which are somewhat under threat through automation.

You'll see earthy, natural tones, which are slightly greyed and worn, as well as material & workwear inspired hues such as Old Navy, Brick and Leather Brown. Materials will have imperfect surfaces showing wear & tear, heritage and process, as well as concertina & corrugated textures with a sense of strength, durability and complexity. In artwork you might see vintage signage, tool outlines and patents, which personally I feel could definitely be a 'trend' that lasts, if you're looking to add something a bit different to your collection.

The tones & textures, although tough in one sense, give a very comforting feel and are of course, 'gender neutral' too - did you know 'they' has been named the word of the decade? So, what do you think of this trend? All three of us felt drawn to this one, with the warm palette & industrial touches.


Next we have 'Reverie' which is a romantic yet unisex story, so similarly to 'Factory' is driven again by gender politics and nostalgia, but also the popularity of online dating, as well as innovation & escapism.

Although florals and baroque & rococo patterns may seem outdated, this overall look still appeals to many. With a very ethereal and lyrical quality, you'll see some soft & hazy tones mixed with stronger, less feminine colours, producing a grown up and intriguing palette.

This trend can go in two directions: a very pearlescent, lustrous & sensory, almost slightly 'kitsch' look with pretty florals and foam-like textures such as boucle (which we're already seeing appearing more & more in furniture design) and organza. Or on the other hand, we could see a more decadent, darker & contrasting story, with 3D florals such as paper cut or applique, tufted rugs, deep silks and large floral murals.

What do you think about 'Reverie'? Bizarrely, one of the suggested colour combinations of Purple Silk, Fern & Lilac Bloom was exactly like my very noughties teenage bedroom - so if that's not nostalgia I don't know what is. Whether I'll be repeating that palette is another question though!

The neutral tones of Café and Flaxen I found very appealing, and blend really well with the Primrose & Midnight, but Lilac is definitely looking to be the new blush pink, so watch this space!


And here we have the very clean & considered 'Clarity', inspired by new materials, and concerns around pollution & sustainability.

This one doesn't need too much explaining, the colours & textures really do speak for themselves. It's all about unpolluted air & water, calmness, purity and integrity.

One thing I found most interesting was understanding that when things are recycled over and over, things can start to look messy & unclear (using the example of terrazzo), and therefore with new materials and creations, it's important that things are built to stand the test of time, of course combined with a more minimal and uncluttered way of living.

You'll see bubble shapes giving a sense of weightlessness and raindrops emulating pure water, ripple effects in rugs and reeded glass (here's a scientific theory behind its' popularity, where I thought it was simply that @thehousethatblackbuilt said reeded glass was cool!), and simple & organic textures such as paper and lava stone - which also happen to be two of the colour in this palette. Tones are 'barely there', diluted and clear, with blues such as Cloudless and Ice Blue, and a few slightly warmer colours, Lumen Yellow, Vapour Grey and Oyster Shell, all very clean & calm.

There's a lot about this story that I love, but for me there would need to be a lot of warming up to prevent it looking too stark. What do you think?


And last but not least, we have 'Alice' (taken from Alice in Wonderland) which is truly maximalist & immersive, and definitely not for everyone! This has been driven by the popularity of gaming, technology and a sense of polarisation in politics & society, which may be leading to the appeal of 'escaping' the real world.

Described as a 'decadent fairytale', with psychedelic, trippy and distorted elements, the colours are highly saturated, which layered together can create punchy, clashing contrasts. You'll see lots of insect forms, mushrooms and reptilian textures such as scales and snakeskin, often in hallucinogenic prints, with yellow/toxic undertones, giving an almost 'alien' feel.

Linking this to the gaming world, you'll find neon & glow in the dark, electric brights against very dark backdrops, as well as other worldly elements everywhere you look. Taken directly from the Colour Hive presentation, because it's so brilliantly put:

"Abandoning any hint of restraint with a hyper-real and saturated colour palette. Blackened hues illustrate atmospheric darkness, cut through with intense, dissonant and yet positive brights."

I felt the 'positive brights' of Poppy, Foxglove and Ultra Blue, although not necessarily colours I would use too much of, do give an undeniably uplifting feeling and particularly Poppy combined with Powder Pink is definitely going to be a popular colour palette going forwards. And ignoring the brighter tones for a moment, you'll see Black Forest, Turtle Green also mixed with Powder Pink a good deal too.

So, do you love 'Alice' or can you see how elements of this story could become more popular given what this trend represents? I do love how Colour Hive put together the combinations and 'colour flow' so you can see how the different tones can work together, so even if the overall look isn't for you, you might find the underlying drivers resonate and a more subtle version might provide just what you're looking for.

I would highly recommend checking out Colour Hive magazine if you find this sort of thing interesting. And I'd love to hear your thoughts below, if you like to follow trends or if you design your home based on your own personal drivers. We can all look at how colours, tones and textures make us feel, and thus if we want to create a more comforting, uplifting or focused space, what that overall scheme could look like.

Thanks so much for reading x

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