It’s that time of year again; time to lend an ear to the color gurus who watch the world for cues as to what hues will dominate and direct our lives for the coming year. It’s no small task. Color trends aren’t simply invented, they’re born out of global, political and financial influences, among others. What’s happening in the world at large translates into what will happen in our homes.
Trend teams at Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams create very detailed annual reports that are always an interesting read both for the times when they point to similar influences and for the times when they take different directions.
There is indeed some common ground between the predictions this year as one report points to colors that are diaphanous and the other refers to those that are ethereal, each pairing said hues with a variety of neutrals and pops of more robust color.
For Sherwin-Williams, the year in color is divided into four distinct palettes reflective of the world around us. Hues range from rich, luminous and luxurious to mysterious, elemental and earthy.
At Benjamin Moore, the decision goes to one Color of the Year that is then matched with a series of coordinating colors that can take it in different directions. This year, the Color of the Year honor goes to Breath of Fresh Air, an ethereal blue intended to serve as a “new neutral,” according to Benjamin Moore’s Creative Director Ellen O’Neill.
The Sherwin-Williams Palette
According to Sherwin-Williams, “Gray is the new black and math is the new sexy. We’re in a global race to acquire knowledge, especially in the hard sciences. As we embrace our inner geek, we’re also celebrating the quantifiable world’s impact on design.”
Colors here are that of a sophisticated black and white movie: Classic French Gray, Tricorn Black, Extra White, Gauntlet Gray, Agreeable Gray, Crushed Ice, Earl Grey, and Peppercorn.
To get the proper sense, Sherwin-Williams encourages us to “picture a pearl veiled by chiffon: a soft gleam behind gossamer fabric. It’s the exquisite, spiritual balance of simplicity, delicate colors and strength tempered by softness.”
The colors that make up this palette are ethereal blushes of hues: Beige, Sandbank, Malted Milk, Nonchalant White, Spun Sugar, Alpaca, Balanced Beige, Steamed Milk, Westhighland White, and Fleur De Sel.
My personal favorite among the foursome, Sherwin-Williams describes the Curiosity palette and its inspiration as “strange, unusual or wondrous. It’s a strange new elixir, where mad science meets fantasy, and sweet dreams overlap with feverish nightmares. The bizarre has never been more beautiful.”
It’s a lush riot of color that ranges from the aged to the exotic: Library Pewter, Antiquarian Brown, Blue Peacock, Enigma, Relic Bronze, Exclusive Plum, Quixotic Plum, Anew Gray, Show Stopper, and Sealskin.
This palette is very interesting for its acknowledgement at once of the global melting pot that is slowly making us all one and the desire for native peoples to maintain a closeness to their own origins and crafts. Sherwin-Williams notes “handmade lace, embroidery, batik and other ethnic dyeing techniques lend an earthy, folkloric aesthetic to this new Bohemianism.”
Colors range from earthy to vibrant: Polished Mahogany, Ramie, Sawdust, Ceremonial Gold, Georgian Bay, Houseplant, Capri, Dynamo, Ablaze, and Raucous Orange.
The Benjamin Moore Palette
Color of the Year: Breath of Fresh Air
An ethereal blue serving as a new neutral that is livable and functional.
“We chose Breath of Fresh Air because we were seeing it across several different environments,” O’Neill said, adding both the Color of the Year and color trends palette for 2014 are “a direct result of the fresh color cues and pastel trends we’ve seen throughout the home furnishing, fashion and even pop culture landscape.”
Completing the palette, Benjamin Moore curated a selection of 23 colors intended to stand on their own and also in harmony with one another, allowing the transitions of spaces and colors to flow seamlessly. The range offers variety via steady neutrals, soft pastels and pops of more rich, saturated color.
The additional hues are: Distant Gray, White Dove, Peach Parfait, Fruit Shake, Coral Essence, Clay Beige, Sparrow, Castleton, Elemental, Van Alen Green, Palladian Blue, Caribbean Teal, Wickham Gray, Normandy, Van Deusen Blue, Mt. Rainier Gray, Flint, Lavender Mist, Iced Mauve, Super Nova, Nightingale, and Black Satin.