Pick a color any color. It’s COTY Time. Every year about now top paint companies announce their Color of The Year, their best guess at what the “IN” color is about to be.
Start the drumroll.
While I don’t believe for a minute that these announcements are much more than a public relations ploy to make consumers think about color and maybe buy paint, which it does or these companies wouldn’t keep doing this, and while I have never actually gone out and painted a room in my home one of the anointed colors, I love to look. The color experts’ choices help me tune into how colors move in and out of style. And colors do move.
The first COTY announcement came earlier this month when HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams picked “Darkroom” (HGSW 7083), a black with a purple undertone. Among the words the accompanying press release used to describe it were “alluring,” “classic,” and “modernly retro for the throw-back inspired aesthetic.” My Darkroom reaction: Uhh, maybe if I were doing a home for Morticia Addams.
A week later, Glidden Paint by PPG pronounced Vining Ivy (PPG1148-6), a bluish-green tone, as its 2023 COTY. “Consumers are seeking to simplify in this post-COVID era, as the past two years have shed a new light on the importance of serenity and little moments,” said Ashley McCollum, Glidden color expert, in the press release. “Vining Ivy embodies this vibe perfectly.”
I’m not sure what teal has to do with little moments, but I prefer Vining Ivy to Darkroom.
A few days later, the Sherwin-Williams 2023 Colormix Forecast came out. Don’t confuse, like I did, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, a product line sold at Lowe’s, with the broader Sherwin-Williams brand, which sells its paints through Sherwin-Williams stores, and has its own COTY. As if color weren’t complicated enough.
Sherwin-Williams named its 2023 Colormix Forecast Terra “because it’s about nature and our connection to earth as humans.” Okay, if you say so. The forecast features 40 colors divided into four curated palettes from which the company’s COTY will emerge in late September, said Sue Wadden, the brand’s director of color marketing.
I try to get her to spill which paint color she’s leaning toward, but all she’ll say is that it’s on the warm side. Well, that narrows it down.
However, what I really want to know from this woman who thinks about color all day every day, and travels the world to observe color, then talks to others who do the same, besides how to get a job like that, was not the color of the moment, of the day, or of the year, but rather color trends for the long term, like, say, the next 10 years.
In other words, don’t give me your flash-in-the-pan-fun-for-a-second color, but colors we can count on, reliably design around.
So, I grabbed a cup of coffee, and asked Wadden all the questions I selfishly wanted to know:
Q. For those of us homeowners who want to make interior design choices that have staying power, which colors should we walk away from and toward?
A: Walk away from gray. I’m not saying gray is bad, but it’s had a really long cycle, and the natural evolution is to move away. Walk toward warmer neutrals that have a little range like bone, beige and greige. Go toward natural earthtones like terracotta and sand, which will gain momentum as people look for nurturing stable colors in their homes. Run toward brown. Strong, dark, nutty browns are really coming on.
Dark grayed-out purples and rich plums, especially alongside super light tinted shades, will be important. But the strongest color of the future is green. I’m going to say, green is the color of this decade.
Q. What is having the biggest influence on color trends now?
A. The opening up of our world post pandemic. After months of lock down and restricted travel, we crave nature. We’re looking to get outside and escape. That’s why in this post pandemic shift, green is the color. It’s so symbolic of rebirth.
We’re also moving toward darker colors. We’re not painting everything white and gray anymore. In times of turmoil ─ social and political ─ darker colors make rooms feel like sanctuaries. They make us feel secure.
Q. Kitchens are such an investment, a place where you really want a look that lasts. What do you recommend there?
A. On counters, we’re not seeing much outside of white or creamy white, but we are getting away from kitchens that are white counters on white or gray cabinets. I always like the tuxedo look, light counters over dark cabinets in timeless colors like carbon gray, deep blue or forest green. I also love stained wood cabinets.
Q. What color advice can you give all those who have gray on gray homes? How can they move on with color?
A. They don’t have to change everything out. They can look to the color trends as an opportunity to introduce a fresh color, maybe a vibrant yellow, in new seat cushions, accent plates, and fabrics to balance out the grays.
For the color confused, Sherwin-Williams offers a new free virtual consultation service to help homeowners navigate their choices.
CAPTION: Hot Hues ─ Every year, color forecasters from around the world meet to discuss what is going on globally ─ socially, artistically, politically ─ then predict what hues consumers will have a hankering for. For 2023, top picks include from left, Glidden’s Vining Ivy (PPG1148-6), Sherwin-Williams Carnelian (SW 7580), and HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Darkroom (HGSW 7083). Photos courtesy of the brands.