Meet Tranquil Dawn – the Dulux Colour of the Year for 2020

The paint gurus have chosen a soothing pale green as their new star shade. Gabrielle Fagan reveals the inspiration behind the hue and how to use it.

There’s always a buzz in the interiors world, when Dulux’s eagerly-awaited new Colour of the Year is announced.

Now, the paint gurus have revealed their chosen hue for 2020 – the lyrically named ‘Tranquil Dawn’, a cool, hazy tone of green.

“A new decade heralds a new dawn, and the hazy pale green tones of Tranquil Dawn are calming and comforting, just when we need it most in our lives,” enthuses Marianne Shillingford, Dulux UK’s creative director.

And a lot of thought goes into choosing which shade gets the title, as it’s a question of timing as well as aesthetics.

“This is a colour palette for wellbeing, which we very much need in our troubled, uncertain times,” Shillingford adds. “When we’re unsettled, we long to return to the familiar, and that’s embodied by nature-inspired colours which don’t demand too much of us, and help us feel peaceful and soothed.”

So what exactly is Tranquil Dawn all about?

Tranquil Dawn on the back wall (Dulux/PA)
Here, Tranquil Dawn on the top half of the walls is contrasted with Basically Black at the bottom, separated by a thin horizontal border in Copper Blush; from £29.16 for 2.5L Dulux Matt Emulsion, available in selected stores and from dulux.co.uk (Dulux/PA)

“The new green palette is in tune with the interiors trend for strong green colours in the home, which has grown over the last couple of years,” explains Shillingford.

“We’ve dialled down those deep greens and instead created a softer, more gentle, smokier shade. This is a neutral colour which is easy to live with,” she adds. “It pays a nod to the elements of the natural landscape, and you could describe it as the colour of the space between the land and the sky.”

Why did you choose Tranquil Dawn?

Tranquil Dawn, £29.16 for 2.5L, available at dulux.co.uk (Side wall) Tranquil Dawn; (Back Wall) Pale Taupe; (Far Right Wall) Calm Clouds, Dulux Matt Emulsion £29.16 for 2.5L, available at dulux.co.uk (Dulux/PA)
For a soft dreamy theme, here Tranquil Dawn is paired with Pale Taupe (far right wall) and Calm Clouds (Dulux/PA)

A team of expert judges, including former editor-in-chief of Elle Decoration magazine, Michelle Ogundehin, helped Dulux come to the decision on the colour.

“They found there was a growing desire to find our place in a world where advances in technology can make us feel increasingly disconnected from one another,” explains Shillingford.

“We actually see ‘green’ coming through in everything from political movements and environmental concerns, through to dietary choices like veganism.

“So this is a colour that reconnects us with nature, infusing rooms with a sense of calm, and is the perfect antidote to the pressure of our 24/7 digitised, full-on, sometimes manically busy world.”

How will it work in my home?

Ceiling painted in Dulux Colour of the Year: Tranquil Dawn (Dulux/PA)
A Tranquil Dawn ceiling can evoke a sense of reconnecting with nature (Dulux/PA)

“It’s an easy colour to use, and ideal for people who are nervous about using colour in their homes. We’re generally a conservative bunch, so many people still have their reservations about bold colour, but Tranquil Dawn is so subtle and easy-on-the-eye,” says Shillingford.

“We feel it will work for everyone and every style. Rather than a stand-out feature colour, this is one which you could totally wrap around all the walls in a space and it would look absolutely beautiful.

“Alternatively, pairing it with neutral pastels or rich jewel shades can have a totally different impact.”

What are the different ways of using the colour?

Dulux have also created four palettes – Meaning, Play, Creativity and Care – each designed to correspond with Tranquil Dawn, showing how the shade and various combinations can be used to create different moods and atmospheres.

Paint shades from the Meaning Palette (Dulux/PA)
Meaning Palette (Dulux/PA)

Meaning: “This comprises neutrals working from almost black up the palest grey,” explains Shillingford. “These can create peaceful, contemplative spaces, which are also effortlessly elegant and luxurious. It’s a very simple, pared-down palette, inspired by the dawn of a cool winter’s day.”

Play Palette (Dulux/PA)
Play Palette (Dulux/PA)

Play: “This is a palette for a more invigorating, energising space” says Shillingford. “It’s definitely for people who are more confident with colour, as there are really amazing shades that pop. Soft, chalky Tranquil Dawn holds the other colours together and brings grown-up balance in a playful space.”

Creativity Palette (Dulux/PA)
Creativity Palette (Dulux/PA)

Creativity: “This one’s very strong, bold and a little bit more earthy, a bit more creative,” Shillingford explains. “It’s an ideal palate if you have an eclectic mix of furniture – say a sofa from your granny and a mid-century modern chair. This palette will draw it all together and anchor it.”

Care Palette (Dulux/PA)
Care Palette (Dulux/PA)

Care: This palette, Shillingford says, is “a warm inviting blend and less demanding of your attention, so colours that work effortlessly together. This creates a soothing, re-energising zone in a very gentle way,” she adds.

Tranquil Dawn is much brighter and fresher than 2019’s golden Spiced Honey – why the contrast?

Wall painted in Spiced Honey, Dulux Colour of the Year 2019. (Dulux/PA)
Spiced Honey was 2019’s Dulux Colour of the Year (Dulux/PA)

“It’s a natural progression,” says Shillingford. “So Spiced Honey was something which put its arms around you and gave you a hug and gave you a bit of energy, but Tranquil Dawn sort of melts the walls away, it’s looking outwards and reconnecting us with outdoor spaces.

“Spiced Honey, which features in the new palette, was a nature-inspired neutral about ochre, the earth and honey itself. Tranquil Dawn is a colour inspired by nature but more the biophilic element of nature – natural materials, plants, and creating a breezy, airy sense of space and tranquillity.”

Get the look

Create your own Tranquil Dawn them with these minty buys

(L-R) Triangle Pattern Cushion, £22.99, Very; Genuine Sheepskin Double Rug, £119.99, Very; Cobble Bedspread, Mint, £89, Heal’s; Tranquil Dawn, Dulux Matt Emulsion, Mint, £89, Heal’s; Hammershoi Ridged Vase, by Kahler, £30, Heal's (Very/Studio/Dulux/Heal's/PA)
(L-R) Triangle Pattern Cushion, £22.99, from a range, Very; Michelle Keegan Home Genuine Sheepskin Double Rug – Mint, £119.99, Very; Cobble Bedspread – Mint, from £89, Heal’s; Tranquil Dawn Matt Emulsion, £29.16 for 2.5L, Dulux; Hammershoi Ridged Vase – Mint, from £30, Heal’s (Very/Heal’s/Dulux/PA)