An interior designer’s guide to colour layering with Dulux Heritage 

The art of creating a “layered and textural” space that evokes the senses is made easy with Dulux Heritage, says interior designer Christian Bense.

(Image credit: Dominic Blackmore)

The art of creating a “layered and textural” space that evokes the senses is made easy with Dulux Heritage, says interior designer Christian Bense.

South African-born interior designer Christian Bense has come across countless paint brands in his years working on projects both big and small. So what makes Dulux Heritage so special?

“The shades of the Dulux Heritage range quite easily allow you to create a scheme that feels curated,” says Bense, who has crafted a bespoke Dulux Heritage colour palette as part of our Evoke Your Senses series in partnership with the iconic brand.

With a 112 colour range that unites undisputed classics with standout, oh-so-Instagrammable shades, Bense and Dulux Heritage are undoubtedly a match made in interiors heaven – especially given that the designer describes his own style as “a cross-pollination of contemporary and traditional”.

But don’t go thinking that you have to have years of experience as an interior designer under your belt in order to curate your dream colour palette. Here, Bense tells us how the art of layering is made not so hard to master with the help of this extraordinary paint range.

“We underestimate the luxuriousness that paint can bring to a room”

“The beauty of the Dulux Heritage colour palette is that it’s the perfect palette curated for you,” says London-based designer Christian Bense.

“The trick is to just pick a beautiful all over colour, then pick a contrasting or supplementary colour to go alongside that. Working within those [parameters], the shades of the Dulux Heritage range will quite easily allow you to create a scheme that feels curated.”

Among Bense’s favourite Dulux Heritage shades is Red Ochre – a deep, earthy shade that draws inspiration from Mars red, a mainstay of artists since the 17th Century.

“Ochre is one of those shades I look for in multiple elements throughout a scheme and it’s quite a personal colour to me,” Bense explains. “There’s a sort of tactility to it.”

In fact, tactility is one of the things that differentiates Dulux Heritage from every other paint brand on the market. From the silk-smooth finish of Undercoat, which provides a flawless base to ensure your colour pops, to Velvet Matt, a range for walls and ceilings that’s, well, velvety smooth to the touch, rest assured that the Heritage range is far from just good looks. (Though there are plenty of those, too.)

Also top of Bense’s radar is Master’s Gold, a deep, burnished yellow/brown that, fittingly, takes its name from the Old Masters and their love of deep ochre and Umber.

A common mistake that DIY decorators make when it comes to choosing their all over shade, says Bense, is “using a light or white colour and then layering in the colour they want”.

The advice he gives to clients? “Find a darker all over colour, then layer in light. Introduce lighter shades with curtains or fabric or artwork on the wall. What then does is it creates a room with depth as a starting point. Then you can sort of ease up on the colour thereafter.”

But don’t forget to add a little lightness, he adds.

“One of the easiest ways to create a layered and textural space is, I find, the contrast of warmer and lighter shades. I think that contrast is the first step to that sort of ‘curated luxury’.”

Follow with the same tones in both your fabrics and finishes and voilà: a room that’s as characterful as it is unique to you.

But don’t just take our word for it: have a go at curating your own dream palette today by ordering a free colour card. Organised to help you find the best colour for each part of your home, each of the colours has been arranged in a tonal column, with each column having two pale tones, two mid tones and two deep tones.

Bense's parting advice for those wishing to tailor their space uniquely to them? “It all starts with paint.”

See what palettes our other tastemakers chose – restaurateur, Ravinder Bhogal

See more of the Dulux Heritage tastemakers’ palettes at, where you’ll find inspiration for your own palette. You can also buy a tester pot at the website and it will be delivered to your home. Dulux Heritage velvet matt is approximately £41 for 2.5ltr (pricing is at the discretion of the retailer) and is available at Homebase and independent retailers.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.