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Colour Lookbook: From Live Aid to Purple Rain: Laurence Llewellyn Bowen on 80s and 90s Interior Design

In our latest look at interior design trends through the ages, we're stopping off in the 1980s - the decade of spandex and shoulder pads - and the 90s - which gave us Britpop and girl power.

Who better to help us unveil the colour palette trends than interior designer and makeover maestro Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen? From magnolia paint palettes to purple power and paint marbling, let's go back in time.   

Dulux anniversary 90th anniversary neutral magnolia 1990s hallway

Magnolia mania in the 80s

If there was a defining colour from the 1980s décor it was magnolia. Like an antidote to the vibrant pop art-inspired colour blocking that preceded it in the 60s and 70s, magnolia paint went back to basics with its pleasing neutral tone of cream with a pinkish tinge.

Today, there's much more to modern magnolia than, well, just magnolia. If you're partial to neutral shades, we recommend Nutmeg White, Buttermilk, and Timeless

You can get more magnolia-inspired home makeover tips in our guides to modern neutral decorating ideasindustrial style with warm neutrals, and falling in love with new neutrals.

Dulux anniversary 90th anniversary neutral magnolia 1990s

Live Aid

With a global audience of almost two billion, Live Aid was undoubtedly one of the defining moments of the 80s, but did you know that we were involved? 

When the original paint supplier fell through at the eleventh hour, we provided 300 litres of black, white, and coloured paints which were used to paint the huge Live Aid logos on either side of the stage the day before the likes of Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie entertained the world.

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Purple reigns in the 90s 

"Move over magnolia" is how Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen describes the 90s approach to home décor. It was a case of goodbye neutrals and hello to the rich and risqué colour purple. 

"Purple is not a straightforward colour at all," says Laurence. "It's a fusion of the two big colours of the spectrum, red and blue the opposing factions that have defined politics and ways of thinking throughout history. Bringing these two tones together is unbelievably kinky and disruptive because it immediately says to everybody that you don't belong to any team apart from your own." 

To add a modern splash of risqué purple power to your home, we recommend Acai Berry and Lavender Quartz.

Gain inspiration and discover other shades of purple paint with our purple decorating ideas.

Dulux anniversary 90th anniversary purple 1990s

DIY makeovers 

Inspired by the likes of Mr Llewelyn-Bowen, the demand to express yourself and get creative on your walls grew in the 90s. That's why we introduced a helpful guide to special paint effects and how to achieve them.

As a result, we helped herald in a host of new 90s trends. DIY enthusiasts across the land were soon sponging, stippling, and rag roll painting their way to metallic finishes, paint marbling, and glimmer effects in pretty much every colour under the sun - including purple, of course.

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Your timeless guide to paint perfection  

If the neutral 80s tone or the 90s purple palette isn't for you, don't despair. We've compiled the defining décor styles from the 1930s to present day to help inspire your next painting project.

The limited-edition Anniversary Book includes several specialist contributors (including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen) and features the ever-popular Dulux dog.  

Order the Anniversary Book today for just £45.

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