Every year, Pantone – the leading authority on colours worldwide – picks out one shade to tip for the top.

And for 2015, just as we were putting Dry January behind us, it ironically settled on Marsala, named after the rich, fortified wine.

Not surprisingly, Marsala (the colour) is a warm and satisfying shade. Pantone describes it as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red that enriches our minds, bodies and souls.” Who could doubt that would go down well in our homes, too?

Deep reds and terracottas are always a favourite when it comes to warming up a room – even as a feature wall they can add glamour and a sense of intimacy. Team them with natural brick and rugged wooden floors and the effect is at once cosy and a little bit adventurous.

These robust shades also sit well with reclaimed materials such as wood and distressed leather, which will continue to go from strength to strength as a trend in 2015.

Ethnic rugs look good in this context, too – the Patch Rug (Red) from Barker and Stonehouse is actually an Oriental carpet, but it’s designed using a ‘mash-up’ technique that that adapts traditional styles for 21st century interiors.


For a classic feel, the Regatta Rug is awash with luxury stripes in pure wool and introduces a hint of Marsala that’s balanced beautifully with mustard and brown tones.

The rug’s carefully worn-looking surface gives it a vintage feel that sits well with the overall look; I would choose Farrow and Ball’s Radicchio paint to deliver the right kind of punch you need on your walls to make the most of Marsala.

However, Marsala is certainly a strong colour and could easily overwhelm a small space. Certainly, it’s not the right shade to select if you are trying to make a space look bigger or lighter. But that’s not to say you can’t harness its lush appeal in any room, though, and as usual, striking accessories are the answer.

The Giant Red Vase stands a metre tall and would look really striking either alone or as part of a group. Put it somewhere to catch the sunlight and reflect red tones around the room; its instant Marsala magic.

Giant Ombre Vases Barker and Stonehouse

I’m also wowed by the Dime Tolix bar stool, which comes in a wonderful vintage brick red that would look marvellous against a polished wooden counter or even against steel – the contrast of super-shiny and rusty-looking vintage red is quite delicious.

Dime Tolix Bar Stool

Marsala and its warm ways are a natural fit with dark Winter days when we’re all doing our best to hibernate, but can they be made to work right throughout the year?

I believe they can, as long as you keep the shade fresh. It looks wonderful against white, which appears ultra-crisp when teamed with such a luxurious partner. Don’t be afraid to experiment – the Kartell Bookworm bookshelf with its sinuous shape and bold hue can give you the on-trend dab of colour that can keep your room looking thoroughly contemporary.

Bookworm Medium 11 Bookends

Like its namesake wine, the colour Marsala is a deep and satisfying experience wherever you use it – and even a glassful (so to speak) can enrich your décor enormously.

All of the products are from Barker and Stonehouse unless otherwise stated (www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk). Follow us at www.facebook.com/barkerandstonehouse and twitter @isyourhouse