‘Colour combined with structure and shape is a strong means of communication’

‘Colour combined with structure and shape is a strong means of communication’

Project furnishing & colour trends

What are the current colour trends? Are there any trends, and how do we deal with that within the world of project furnishing. These are all questions to which our interior architect Carola van de Bilt has the answer. Let’s join Carola for a colourful look behind the scenes.


Er zijn enorm veel veranderingen gaande, zowel in de maatschappij als in de manier waarop we werken. Als interieurontwerpers zien wij de trends, de marktbewegingen, de grotere veranderingen. Die geven we in onze adviezen en suggesties weer door aan onze opdrachtgevers.

'Ik zeg altijd: ik heb het mooiste vak van de hele wereld'

Carola van de Bilt Interieurarchitect Gispen

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We now live in 2017.
What was the colour of the year 2016?

When I think of 2016, I think of ochre and shades of nude. But in particular a combination of the two. When you combine these two you create a certain tension. A colour that always seems to inspires me.

However: if a colour is trending, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I would use it. If I apply certain colours when working on a project, they are always part of a well-thought-out concept. And each concept is client specific.

As a designer, do you see
colour trends before your clients do?

Two years ago in Milan (the Milan Furniture Fair is considered the trend forecaster), I already saw many grey-blue shades combined with green. These colour combinations provided a great atmosphere. It seems as if we are only just now seeing this in practice. Clothing is often the trendsetter when it comes to colour trends.

Shades of nude were already popular in 2015. I can image that trends are of more significance to my
colleagues in home furnishing. People come across something in a shop and want that exact design at home.
This is different in project furnishing, in which the total colour scheme is more important.

Projectinrichting kleur en kleurentrends | Gispen

How do you come up with a good
colour scheme for a project?

That is something you really do together with the client. Whenever I present a concept, the colour scheme is an integral part of that concept.
Colour combined with structure and shape is a strong means of communication, which can be used to portray a concept.
If this image corresponds with your client’s wishes, you will have no problem coming to an arrangement quickly. 

Projectinrichting kleur op de werkvloer | Gispen

Every single client is unique.
But are developments really taking place?

Yes, they are. In the past, I often used ton-sur-ton colours, which are basically colours that are not far apart from each other. What you would do is make a selection of shades which do not consist of more than three colours, resulting in a well-matching colour concept. In current trends it is more accepted to work with colours that are further apart – such as ochre and nude.

In fact, one could use any colour in a contemporary way, whether this colour is trendy or not.
When I was working on a project the other day, I used a bottle green for the carpet. Even my own colleagues were surprised when they saw me working on my concept. It took a while for them to get used to the idea! I always enjoy surprising people. 

Would you not have done this 5 years ago?

No, certainly not. In that time it was only accepted to use a maximum of three different, well-matched shades.
What I’m doing now is pushing boundaries. Right until it almost clashes. I enjoy looking for tension in working with colours.


What can we expect in terms of colour use when we look at the future?

It usually goes back and forth. So who knows, we might go back to the ton-sur-ton shades again.
Or even earthy shades.

Have you seen the wishes of clients
change much over the years?

We live in a world of constant change, both society wise and in the way we work.
As interior decorators, we see the trends, the market shifts, the larger changes. What we learn we pass on to our clients in the form of advice and suggestions. They will then decide for themselves what to do with that information. 

Projectinrichting kleur en werken | Gispen

On a final note: What shifts
have caught your attention lately?

I do see a shift around Scrum in office furnishing. And how this working method affects the interior design of environments.

Another noteworthy development is that of the Circular Economy, where existing furniture is reused to manufacture new furniture. Clients who contact us for an entirely new interior design often don’t realise what they already have!

What I also find very interesting is Environmental Psychology and evidence-based furnishing. Such developments make sure that we keep on our toes. The constant change stimulates us.
I always say: I have the best job in the world.

Stay tuned for more about Environmental Psychology on this webpage. Our interview with Nelleke Lagerwerf on this very subject will soon be posted. 

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