A previous KETTAL collection in trending colours

You know that a deep blue is one of the flagship colours for 2020 and that a serene, natural-inspired palette is widely tipped to be a strong trend – but what can you, as a cruise interiors creative, do with this information?

For some of you, especially those involved in the design of newbuild cruise ships, you are rooted so far in the future that 2020 seems like a distant memory. By the time the colour predictions have rolled around, you’ve finalised your designs, had them approved by your clients and are working with the shipbuilders to realise your vision. For others, colour forecasting can give essential information. So, what do you need to know about current colour trends and how can you use them to your best advantage?

Sea themes

Who could be more prepared for a year of navy blue than marine interiors designers? Just as any designer creating products or designs in London will likely always have bus-red on their mood board, or designers working in Scotland might bookmark thistle purple, naval blue can never be far from a marine creative’s mind. Although these colours might not always be right for the final product, a sense of place lends valuable context to any design. Some cruise lines opt to include their vessels’ destinations in their design brief in order to create a sense of place. An example of this is the Mediterranean influences in MSC’s Med-bound Divina. Others ground their design briefs in everything nautical, from theatrical details such as Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas’ giant blue-and-white jellyfish mural to the lagoon-like Eden onboard Celebrity Edge.

Designers looking to add a marine feel might opt to veer away from the uniform-like blue, white and gold and look to modern colour pairings. Those with their eye on home and hospitality interiors will have spotted dark blue’s place in mature, heavily saturated palettes, complemented by dark wood finishes, touches of brass and paired with similarly rich greens or slate greys. Others have updated this palette with flashes of jewel tones, swapping brass for gold – a palette often used in conjunction with the enduringly popular botanical designs. On the flip side to this are the very fresh, Breton-inspired blue and white designs, sometimes punctuated with raincoat yellow.

Serene pastel

Benjamin Moore’s shade ‘Buxton Blue’

Pastels haven’t gone away, they’ve just matured. Gone, but not forgotten, are the sugary pinks and lavenders of 2017’s millennial-obsessed trends. Today, pastels have merged with global trends of wellbeing and ecological concern, taking their root from the natural world. Dulux’s colour of the year ‘Tranquil Dawn’ is a cool green that nods to pastel’s fresh take on ‘calming’ colours – while Benjamin Moore picks out several stone and moss pastels with their predictions for trending colours of 2020, including ‘Thunder’, ‘Crystalline’ and ‘Buxton Blue’.

Wellbeing spaces can look to update their classic neutral palette with this more modern take on refreshing and revitalising colours. Outdoor furniture designer KETTAL have been early adopters of these serene pastels, marrying modern design with an updated palette of naturals to create furniture that derives comfort from a sense of the outdoors.


Product designers who want to react to the colours of 2020 but who may not be in a position to create brand new collections could think about offering ‘edits’ to their customers. By researching one of their greatest resources – their back catalogue – and seeing which products they already offer in currently trending colours, product designers can instantly create relevance to buyers, outfitters and designers. This instant ‘refresh’ can come at very little expense to themselves –  whether through hosted for free via their website, delivered to relevant parties’ inboxes via a newsletter or perhaps splashing out and printing a small catalogue.

Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America Agua Fabrics’ on-trend samples

Colour trends don’t simply appear one day and disappear the next, so it is very likely that their previous collections will reflect contain relevant colour ways. Even if a product collection doesn’t contain exact matches for trending colours, ingenious designers can offer an edit of complementary colourways – how about using the beloved title format ‘5 Products That Complement the Colour of the Year’. Some brands may be more aligned with a rebel position and be able to offer colour and product edits that offer respite from the waves of blue and pastel washing over the industry.

Check out part three, Colour Trends 2021.

Interested in learning more about future trends and meeting the biggest names in cruise interiors face-to-face? Then attend Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America, 8-9 June 2021 at the Miami Beach Convention Center!