Autumn/Winter 2020 interior design directions

At the beginning of the year, interior design trends were set full steam ahead for an Autumn/Winter 2020 season of bold colour and pattern. But then the pandemic happened and stopped us all in our tracks. With all the anxiety and uncertainty, it was almost as if a pastel-sized iceberg crept into our interior psyches reminding us of the calming decorative qualities of pale blues, pinks and greens …

Bold colour/patterns vs pastel interior design 

Before we explore the Bold Colour/Pattern vs Pastels interiors debate, I would be interested to know how you reacted in early Spring 2020. Did you, like many, go into a frenzy of mindful DIY or did you hunker down and wait for the dust to settle? I must say it was quite eye-opening to see the paint shelves of our local B&Q store looking like they had been burgled when I did finally get there! 

In love with this new 2020 collection from Colefax & Fowler

Interior colour trends

When it comes to colour, I believe that even the hardiest of independent style souls are swayed by the excitement of new collections and their interpretations.  During this strange time, I think we have all realised the importance and impact of our homes on our well-being. The question is out of this situation we find ourselves in, do you or your clients seek calming or more energetic design?

Until lockdown in the UK, dark dusky binary colour schemes continued to be popular and drove sales of kitchens and paint at companies such as Farrow & Ball, where Hague Blue has been a huge success for them. Velvety indigo blues to forest greens and midnight blacks have all caught the imagination in recent times. 

Pale pinks have also been popular and, along with other pastel hues, have taken on more of an emotional significance when it comes to turning our homes into a place of sanctuary.  Pastels are seen as soothing, less demanding colours at a time when life for many has been tough. 

Styling Box by Charis White samples including Lewis & Wood, Zoe Glencross and Vanessa Arbuthnott


Wallpapers by Veere Grenney at Tissus D’Helene


Very exciting collaboration between Morris and Co and Ben Pentreath launching Queen Square collection on  15th September. Ben Pentreath has recoloured several Morris wallpaper and fabrics designs including Willow Bough as seen here in his new Pink/Leaf Green version.

There are so many pretty paint colours (Edward Bulmer, Isle of Skye Paint Co) and designs around (Cloth & CloverLewis & Wood, Cambridge Imprint, Pippa Blacker Interiors) that I suspect they will always remain firmly anchored in interior style. From Scottish castles to rectories and country cottages, the gentle hues of pastels will always have a place in our hearts.

Caldecote Lt. Indigo wallpaper by Cloth & Clover

It would be wrong not to acknowledge that bold colour and pastels in fact work fantastically well together. It isn’t at all an either/or situation and is one that can be ably handled by professional interior stylists and designers. Taking colour advice from an interiors expert can help save costly mistakes. 

The future is bright

The verdict is in and it is looking very much like the impetus for bold colour and pattern is still on course for Autumn/Winter 20 – as corroborated in Katrina Burrough’s recent feature in The Sunday Times. 

New 2020 Jane Churchill collection

International interior designers

This new design direction has been in part spearheaded by international interior designers such as Brisbane-based Anna Spiro (who also has the most gorgeous collection of her own fabric designs available at The Fabric Collective) and British-born Elizabeth Hay in Singapore. 

Bedroom with yellow print fabric covered headboard, Elizabeth Hay Design, Singapore

Whilst both designers take inspiration from traditional English decorating, their schemes bring a breath of fresh air to the UK. Perhaps inspired by the incredible light, colour and decoration that comes from their part of the world, their designs offer something really distinctive.

Moodboard by Elizabeth Hay Design, Singapore. Including fabrics from Anna Spiro, Fez by Jaine McCormack for Guy Goodfellow Collection, Tissus D’Helene and Soane.

I really admire the way these two designers put colour and pattern together. The overall effect is very striking without ever being too precious.

Bedroom design by Elizabeth Hay Design, Singapore


Console table, mirror and lamp by Elizabeth Hay Design, Singapore


Twin bedroom design by Elizabeth Hay Design, Singapore

Shop bold colour and pattern

For bold colour and pattern in the UK, you need look no further than fabric and wallpaper companies such as Tissus D’Helene (bold new ‘performance’ fabrics), Blithfield & Co, Morris & Co’s wonderful collaboration with Ben Pentreath, Andrew Martin (new Journey Through Colour paint collection), The Design Archives (new Shala Collection), Colefax & Fowler, Jane Churchill (new 2020 Collections), Ian Sanderson Textiles (new Chatterings collection), Charlotte Gaisford (new Good Girls collection) and The Fabric Collective, to name but a few.

New 2020 Jane Churchill Collection


Wallpaper design by Sister Parrish (1910-1994) who was one of the 20th Century’s great American decorators and socialites who worked on The White House for Jackie Kennedy. Available at Tissus D’Helene.

Charlotte Gaisford has also recently put together a very helpful free downloadable book, which offers different decorating schemes using her fabrics and wallpapers. A great shortcut for interior designers and perfect for those doing their own schemes. 


Paint is one of the most cost-effective ways of changing a room. Interior designers in the US are continuing to decorate statement schemes with full gloss paint. Here in the UK, lacquered walls (Sybil Colefax & John Fowler) are also being specified for luxury interiors along with murals, block colour designs and borders.

A Journey Through Colour

Andrew Martin has just launched his first paint collection, which I hasten to add was planned well before lockdown. With travel restricted, ‘A Journey Through Colour’ is a timely paint collection inspired by the story of global travel. 

The new collection brings to our homes a well-balanced collection of pastels, brights and neutrals that are 100% water-based and have a handy re-coat time of 1 hour. They also offer a Custom Colour Service too, matching to any swatch you provide.

Focus on fabric

Tissus D’Helene’s exquisite showroom cabinets of fabrics, The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour
'Performance' fabric at Tissus D'Helene on Charis White Interiors blog
One of the new ‘Performance’ fabrics that can be used either outside or in from Tissus D’Helene. I can’t wait to see their window at Focus at The Design Centre …!
New 2020 collection from Jane Churchill
Sneak peek of Exotic Fruits Madder and Shala Madder with Symphony Crimson and Apple from The Design Archives’ new Shala Collection.

It’s curtains

Before the dark nights draw in, perhaps now might be an opportunity to either re-purpose existing curtains with borders and trims, seek out what’s in your local charity shop (like Oxfam Superstore) or invest in some swishy new ones. I have my eye on pretty cottage headings (Pippa Blacker Interiors) and a whole host of lovely AW20 fabrics … but which to chose?!

Curtain in Jardine from New 2020 Collection, Colefax & Fowler

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this blog, if you would like to receive email alerts for future posts then please just press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post. 

With many thanks, Charis x

Charis White, interior stylist/writer. Photo: Fiona McLean Photography

10 thoughts on “Autumn/Winter 2020 interior design directions

  1. Thanks for the mention, Charis. Yes, an interesting dichotomy at the moment, pastels for calm and clear colours for energy. We need both at the moment, but as you say they can be combined and that is a vey interesting trend. H x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure Helen, lovely to hear from you, I hope you are all well. I completely agree it is an interesting dichotomy. I think I am with Ben Pentreath on the idea that a bedroom should perhaps be calm but that vibrant colour/pattern is fun in living room spaces and loos. I am also rather drawn to painted or papered walls with woods, flaura and fauna at the moment but then again I just love all kinds of decoration and am apt to find something else just as appealing! C x


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