Colors of the Year: Look Back and Ahead for New Color Inspiration
Selecting and promoting a Color of the Year is certainly a marketing tool, but the process is taken very seriously, with many companies sending teams of color experts out into the field, near and far, to explore and document their environment. The teams then meet to discuss and present (and often argue!) about what they saw, what inspired them and what color trends they noticed. From all of this a color or colors are chosen.
We’ll take a look at last year’s picks first and then see what’s being forecast to be big in 2015.
With the exception of Pantone’s Radiant Orchid, the bulk of the Color of the Year selections for 2014 were fairly toned down and neutral. Most color forecasters felt that as we were slowly moving out of the recession, homeowners were feeling a bit tentative about color. They wanted to feel optimistic but weren’t quite there yet.
I think that of all of the picks, Turning Oakleaf andBreath of Fresh Air were the most successful. In my work as a color consultant, I found that many of my clients were open to similar soft shades of blue and yellow, especially when used as alternatives to the usual batch of neutrals: beige, gray and white.
Ae2ga says: “I love this color! Softer blues, yellows, greens with creams and whites make for a peaceful, calming space in ways that bolder colors do not. Embrace the softness!”
There were a few detractors, however. As efpicosays, “I love blues and I love pastels, but dislike this color very much. It is way too babyish.”
Firedog65 adds, “I used Exclusive Plum from Sherwin-Williams on one wall of our new master. Paired with gray on the other walls, a rich dark wood floor, white trim, a zebra chaise and white drapes on a whole wall of windows — I am in heaven!!! My husband was scared of the plum idea, but it has a masculine tone to it and he’s fine with it.”
On the other hand, designwitch says, “As a professional paint contractor, I can tell you that the color I am asked to paint over more than any other is yellow.”
Similar to the 2014 selections, the Color of the Year picks for 2015 are a diverse bunch. There are two blues, both very saturated, and Pantone’s pick of Marsala is also on the deeper side. Coral Reef is probably the boldest of the group, and Benjamin Moore is keeping things soft and mellow with its selection of a wispy, neutral, yellowish green.
In general, though, the colors are lively and vibrant, perhaps indicating that a sense of optimism is finally in the air. Let’s take a closer look at each of these hues and how you could use them in your home.
Guilford Green is a verdant neutral chosen to reflect fresh growth and emerging optimism for the new year. I shared this color with a few of my friends, and their comments were all over the place, from “I love it!” to, “Ick, reminds me of a hospital cafeteria.” One way to pull this color away from looking institutional is to pair it with cool, crisp white or use it as a backdrop to other more dramatic colors.
Sherwin-Williams’ 2015 Color of the Year, Coral Reef, couldn’t be more different than Guilford Green. Whereas Guilford Green is soft, soothing and neutral, Coral Reef is bold, bright and vivacious. They are, in fact, practically opposite each other on the color wheel. A blend of orange, red and pink, Coral Reef can be a tricky hue to pull off in the home, and in an informal poll I conducted on social media, it received mostly a thumbs-down, but I think it can have a place in the home if used judiciously.
Pantone chooses colors that can have applications outside of home design use, and while I think this earthy rum-raisin hue could work well in the home, I think it needs to be partnered with colors that have a bit more life to keep the palette from feeling dull.
PPG Pittsburgh Paints
If your tastes run to the cooler end of the color spectrum, you might like PPG Pittsburgh Paints’ 2015 Color of the Year, Blue Paisley. This pretty, bold blue has a touch of green in it, and it therefore pairs well with greens. It also serves as a nice backdrop to gold- or bronze-toned accents.