A Decade in Colour I

Last year we made a point of highlighting the importance of colour as it was warmly welcomed back into the design world. It was exciting to see the ways companies interpreted and utilised the new-found passion for pigment, from the varied use of Pantone‘s Living Coral, to the plentiful display of pastels, to the vivacious and vibrant Cersaie stand of Francesco de Maio.

Now with the start of a new decade it seems like it would be a bit of fun to see how our tonal tastes have changed over time, taking a look at the shades Pantone believe represent the years, and how the tile world incorporated or ignored the selection, exploring how they may have reflected or inspired our social-political climate, and simply enjoying what has been on offer for the past ten years.


We started 2010 with an understated Turquoise from Pantone, combining the peace and calm from blue and the lively, uplifiting nature of yellow. This tone has seen a consistent increase in interest in the design world, and thanks to its prominence in nature and presence in natural stone, it has long been a source of inspiration. The oceanic-look hue is showstopping, and was present in some form or another throughout shows like Revestir, however the colour palette in the tile world remained fairly neutral, with a slight nod to pastels and golden yellows, bright reds, and vivid greens appearing to be the choice for accent colours.

Franco Pecchioli turquoise tiles

A focus on natural stone, especially travertine was visible, although some companies such as Venezia Arte took to the exploration of colour. As for its social reference, Turquoise spookily mimics the UK’s political climate of the time with the coalition represented in the largerly blue hue with a drop of yellow.

Lea Ceramiche Dreaming in Safari Colourway

2011 brought us a passionate, transformative tone with Honeysuckle- a warm, vibrant pink. This is quite a daring colour to include in interiors, and as we found last year when scouring the tile world for Living Coral, it is not enormously popular with tile designers. However, mixed in with neutrals this powerful shade can add a bit of fun to an otherwise austere interior.

Pantone Spring/Summer Colour Trends 2011
Pantone Spring/Summer Colour Trends 2011

For Spring/Summer 2011 Pantone released ten further shades along this theme, opting for colour wheel opposites for maximum impact. Here we also see the creeping-in of pastels, with some pale shades and others with a decided softness. A series of colour stories was also released by Mix which perhaps bared a closer resemblance to the tile world with Epiphany, a neutral/metallic range inspired by aged photographs and heritage (shown below). The power of pink was reflected in their neon-focused Monitor, and in Vanity, where pinks and peaches come together with dull greys and tainted gold.

Block colour was big in the fashion world, and at Cevisama and Cersaie the trend was welcomed into the tile world. Vibrant, optimistic colours reigned supreme with a mixture of reds, oranges, pinks, and blues proving popular. Most significantly at Cersaie was the increased interest in 1940s retro shades, purples in particular.

Life Arq from NatucerLife Arq from Natucer
Life Arq from Natucer
Toilet Seat colours from Chuch toilet seat company. Image credit: www.RetroRenovation.com
Toilet Seat colours from Chuch toilet seat company. Image credit: http://www.RetroRenovation.com

The following year stuck to the lively theme with a Tangerine Tango for 2012. It appeared as though it was set to be a year of confidence and innovation and for the most part, this proved accurate- it was the year Obama was re-elected for a second term, eating chocolate was linked to staying slim, and we were introduced to icon Malala Yousafzai.


In the tile world there were certainly an air of richness, predominantly found in the accents of ranges, but the focus was still very much on natural stone and the ever-growing array of wood-looks.

Tailor from Aparici

Stay tuned for the next three years of the decade, and the colours they had in store for us.

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, January 2020.

One thought on “A Decade in Colour I

  1. Lovely article, thanks for sharing your insights about these amazing colours. Big fan of the Tangerine Tango! Check my blog if you want to find out more about colours, I wrote an article about Pantone 2020 colour of the year! Bisous

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