total market for interior water-borne paints in 2018 vs 2017, compared to a 3% decrease in the sales of traditional solvent-borne paints. Detailing the benefit of the coating and why trade customers, in particular, are leaning towards the water-borne formulation, she adds: “Water-borne paints are touch dry in a fraction of the time compared to twice as fast as solvent-borne paints and re-coatable in just four to six hours, allowing professionals to complete their work in half the time and get on to the next job faster. They are also lower odour and easy to apply with a few simple hints and tips.” This trend is likely to filter down from professional users to DIYers. Meanwhile, the market is increasingly competitive for professional decorators, so Dulux Trade has found that appliers are looking to upskill and find a point of difference to make their businesses stand out. Ms Wilkinson explains: “There is a desire among many painters and decorators, for instance, to learn the techniques involved in spray application, which is increasingly in demand across domestic and commercial

sectors, as well as a

greater demand for training in how to apply specialist wallpapers and digital murals.”

Something different The sector

has seen a growing

demand for murals, as consumers look for something unique to make a statement on their walls. Milexa Group, which

operates Murals

Wallpaper supplying retailers and consumers direct, has seen an uplift in sales, as consumers seek to get creative with their wallpaper. “Wall murals rather than wallpaper have definitely become the new big trend in surface design,” says Milexa Group’s Anne Fell. “An interest in exciting wall design that can’t be achieved with regular on-the- roll wallpaper is what draws our customers to us. Pinterest solidified murals as a trend when they put them in the spotlight for their 2017 trend report, and the style is definitely snowballing strong.” And, with no real limit to what consumers can create when it comes to wall murals, Milexa have found customers are really keen to experiment and reflect their personality in a design, which means a broad offer is a must. Ms Fell explains: “We’ve noticed recently customers start to move away from photographic mural designs and opt more for original illustrative alternatives, such as a hand- drawn forest design rather than a

photograph of a forest landscape. We specialise in custom and innovative designing for surfaces, so we’re answering the call by expanding our ranges of unique designs created in-house.” However, she adds that there will always be cyclical trends and styles that have an influence on what customer want in their homes. “There are some big fashion patterns that will be coming over to interior design for sure, such as animal print and tie dye. And, it’s the centenary of the Bauhaus art school this year, so expect to see Bauhaus colour palettes and geometrics everywhere!” Whilst it is always great to inspire customers in-store with on-trend decorating ranges in room sets, you are always limited with how much of your range you can show and also reliant on having those customers walk through the door. Milexa finds many consumers are doing their research and looking for ideas and inspiration online – whether through straightforward searches or browsing social media and other platforms, such as Twitter, Pinterest, DwellingGawker, StumbleUpon, and Houzz.

Milexa has taken its own advice

ad invested in the launch of a new homepage, plus a strong focus on sharing designs and inspiration on

social media, suggesting retailers look at sharing their offer and inspiring customers to get decorating via their own websites and social media channels – so get snapping and sharing.

Ms Fell says: “We’ve been looking into how we can inspire our

customers more and have

recently launched a new homepage that is a big change from before, and will really be able to inspire customers with aspirational lifestyle images, news of our latest collection launches, our most popular designs, and a carousel of amazing customer photographs of their murals. We’re always creating new,

wallpaper designs and keeping our fans and customers updated with our newest releases on social media, on our blog and in our newsletter, so

there’s plenty of

to be had.” Industrial is in

So, what else is set to be big this year in decorating? According to furniture specialist, Cult Furniture, the industrial, “loft-style” look has remained popular for many seasons now. Inspired by old factories and warehouses, the exposed look, complete with bare fixtures, metal accents and raw appeal, remains as strong as ever, says Cult Furniture.


There are a number of simple ways for

consumers to introduce this pioneering

aesthetic into the home, whether through metallic accented furniture, exposed metal shelf brackets, metro- style or concrete effect tiles, or even filament lightbulbs. Cult Furniture’s Karin Baranyai goes into further detail about the key trend: “Metal furniture blends well into most decors and is easy to pair with other pieces. Metals can also be mixed, for example copper can be matched with bronze to create a warm, uplifting atmosphere. Metal chairs and industrial bar stools work beautifully against exposed brick walls or tucked under wooden tables. However, there is a catch with metal. The balance must be right. There needs to be enough to be noticed, but not too much so as to steal the show. The key is to see it as a subtle finishing touch rather than a bold statement.” Cult Furniture has also found that stylists and end-users are infusing the look with other popular styles. For example, the industrial luxe look combines the exposed factory-like elements – exposed brickwork, wood and concrete – with finer luxury details and notes of sophistication and glamour, such as polished metals, pastel colours and soft textures, including velvet. As always, there are a number of exciting overriding trends and exciting looks that should hopefully get your customers in the mood to recreate in their own homes, so all you have to do is make sure you can inspire them and get the message out that you have a decorating offer to meet their needs. Equally, if you serve professional decorators as part of your customer mix, be sure they know you have what they need to get the job done right first time. “As homeowners and designers embrace trends in paint colour, painters and decorators will look to retailers to provide the extensive ranges required to meet their briefs from

customers,” says Dulux

Trade’s Karen Wikinson. “Providing decorators with greater help in selecting the right product for the job allows retailers to create a real point of difference. Paint innovation and formulation technology has advanced hugely in recent years and retailers have a great opportunity to advise customers on new product benefits and application techniques to help drive sales and adoption of more modern methods and paints”. She concludes: “To maximise sales

[in the category], retailers can upskill their teams to provide decorators and DIYers

with support they

need to help their customers make informed choices on colour.”

08 MARCH 2019 DIY WEEK 13

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