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 of what’s going to be the “in” color.
Start the drum roll.
While I don’t for one moment believe that these announcements are much more than a PR ploy to get consumers to think about color and maybe buy paint, which they do, otherwise these companies wouldn’t continue to do this, and while I never actually went out and painted a room in my house in one of the anointed colors, I like to look. The color experts’ picks help me tune into how colors go in and out of style. And colors move.
The first COTY announcement came earlier this month when HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams selected “Darkroom” (HGSW 7083), a black with purple undertones. Among the words the accompanying press release used to describe it were “alluring,” https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/ “classic,” and “modern retro for the throwback-inspired aesthetic.” My Darkroom Response: Uhh, maybe if I did a house for Morticia Addams.
A week later, PPG’s Glidden Paint pronounced Vining Ivy (PPG1148-6), a bluish-green shade, as its 2023 COTY. “Consumers are trying to simplify in this post-covid era as the past two years have shed new light on the importance of serenity and small moments,” said Glidden color expert Ashley McCollum 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, as I did, Sherwin-Williams’ HGTV Home, a line of products sold at Lowe’s, with the broader Sherwin-Williams brand, which sells its paint through Sherwin-Williams stores and has its own COTY. As if color isn’t complicated enough already.
Sherwin-Williams called his Colormix Forecast for 2023 Terra “because it’s about nature and our connection to the Earth as humans.” Okay, if you say so. The forecast includes 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 what paint color she’s leaning towards, but all she’ll say is it’s on the warm side. Well, that limits it.
However, what I really want to know from this woman who thinks about color all day every day and travels the world observing color and then talks to others who do the same except 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, for example the next 10 years.
In other words, don’t give me 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:
Marni: For those of us homeowners who want to make interior choices that last, what colors should we run from and towards?
Wadden: Walk away from gray. I’m not saying gray is bad, but it’s had a very long cycle and the natural evolution is to go away. Walk to warmer neutrals that have a narrow range, such as bone, beige, and greige. Go in the direction of natural earth tones like terracotta and sand. Run towards brown.
Dark gray purples and rich plums, especially next to super light tones, will be important. But the strongest color of the future is green.
Marni: What has the biggest influence on color trends right now?
Wadden: The opening of our world after the pandemic. After months of lockdown and travel restrictions, we crave nature. We’re moving to darker colors. We no longer paint everything white and gray.
Marni: Kitchens are such an investment, a place where you really want a look that will last. What do you recommend there?
Wadden: We don’t see much on counters outside of white or cream, but we’re moving 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.
Marni: What color advice can you give anyone who has gray on gray at home? How can they continue with color?
Wadden: They don’t have to change everything. They can see the color trends as an opportunity to introduce a fresh color, perhaps a vibrant yellow, to new seat cushions, accent plates, and fabrics to balance out the grays.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want.”