With peak bank holiday decorating season on the horizon, we delve into the world of home transformation with renowned colour and paint expert, Marianne Shillingford. From quick decorating hacks to uncovering your ideal colour scheme and finish, to unravelling the inspiration behind Dulux’s colour of the year, dive into our exclusive conversation for insightful decor revelations. Keep on scrolling to discover more.

Can you tell us a bit about your interiors background?


I started my working life as a fairground artist and signwriter but when I started having children I went back to college and turned my attention to learning how to decorate the great indoors.

For the next 25 years, I ran my own interior design and decoration business working with extraordinary craftspeople and specialising in colour, fine finishes and mural work.

Colour and paint have always been at the heart of my passion and expertise, so this chapter of my life as the Creative Director of Dulux is a complete dream job.

How would you describe your interior design style?

Dulux | Sweet Embrace | Copper Glow | Winter Pumpkin

My style is fun, colourful, infused with storytelling and full of surprises.

What’s your advice for choosing the perfect wall colour?

Dulux | Guild Green | Frosted Papaya | Rock Salt

Start with something that you absolutely love, from a piece of furniture to a cushion, artwork, towel or rug. Use the colour picker in the free Dulux Visualiser app to pick out your favourite colours then check out how they look on the wall through the app. Order samples of only the ones that made you smile and try them out before you buy all the paint.

What’s the best way to select the right paint finish?

Dulux | Boathouse Blue | Pugin Red

For walls, choose a durable matt finish like Dulux Easycare or luxurious Dulux Heritage velvet matt. It makes all colours look beautiful, hides the odd imperfection, resists dirt and will stand up to the real life you lead.

If you are short of time and want instant coverage for your walls, choose Simply Refresh, which is a rich and creamy one-coat matt emulsion.

For woodwork, furniture, kitchen cabinets and radiators you will need a tough, fast-drying finish in gloss, satin or eggshell. Gloss looks fabulous on really smooth, well-prepared surfaces but can highlight imperfections if you haven’t done the prep. A Satin or Satinwood finish is semi-matt (a bit like highly polished wood) so it’s much more practical to apply and maintain but still offers a nice bit of reflective shine. An eggshell finish is exactly like the shell of an egg and it’s the closest thing to a matt finish without being quite so flat. It has a traditional premium look that lends itself perfectly to colour-drenching effects where you paint everything in the room the same colour.

Try Dulux Heritage velvet eggshell, Dulux Quick Drying eggshell or Simply Refresh Multi Surface which has a built-in primer and undercoat. All of these Dulux paints are solvent-free and quick-drying.

How do you decorate on a budget?

Decorating on a budget means ensuring that every last drop you pay for gets used up. Calculate exactly how much paint you need before buying it, by taking measurements of the room and using the paint calculator on the Dulux website to help you.

Sounds daft, but buy the best paint you can afford, cheap paint takes more coats and won’t be very durable or long-lasting. So you will end up using twice as much to finish the job, and you’ll find yourself redecorating sooner than you’d like.

Borrow brushes, rollers and dust sheets from friends and if you are buying yourself, keep a keen eye out for the best quality kit you can afford, then look after it well so you can use it again and again in the future.

What are the easiest ways to transform a space with paint?

Lars chair | Dulux | Village Maze | White Mist

Revitalise old furniture and kitchen cabinets with a fresh lick of gorgeous colour, add colour to the ceiling, paint the skirting boards and doors in a bold colour rather than the walls, and try painting bands, blocks and big circles of colour as features in a room rather than just one wall.

What’s the best way to approach bank holiday decorating?

Take a deep breath and plan well in advance. Rather than wasting precious bank holiday time at the DIY store, buy everything you need in the weeks before so you have everything to hand when you want to get cracking.

What are your top tips for decorating with a short window of time?

Make sure the room is ready to go. Most of the work in decorating doesn’t involve applying paint, it’s the prep that takes the time – but it’s also the prep that makes the job go smoothly. Before you even think about opening a paint can, make sure your furniture is out of the way and protected, curtains and blinds are tied back or removed, floors are clean and dust sheets are down.

Clean painted woodwork with sugar soap, fill and sand down any holes in the walls and woodwork and mask off anything that needs masking off.

Make sure you have plenty of tea and bickies to hand and off you go!

Can you tell us about Dulux 2024 Colour of the Year?

Dulux | Sweet Embrace | Pea Shoot | Nordic Hills

Dulux Colour of the Year 2024 is called Sweet Embrace. It’s a very delicate grown-up blush pink that adds a subtle warming effect to a room and works with all other colours, especially cool colours like blues and greens. It’s the visual equivalent of getting a hug from a good friend and it’s both delightful and dependable in any situation.

Which Oak Furnitureland products do you think would work well with Sweet Embrace?

Stowe coffee table | Stowe side table | Seymour sofa

It’s hard to choose from so many lovely ranges but if I had to pick, I would say that teamed with the urban cool and stylish Stowe range, it would look chic and modern, and with the Durham collection, it would take on a softer and more romantic look.


To discover more decorating tips, visit the Dulux website at dulux.co.uk and follow Dulux on Instagram @duluxuk.