The color experts at Benjamin Moore keep careful watch over global and consumer trends, predicting each year the paint hues that will best resonate with designers and homeowners. Looking ahead to 2012, the palette takes a soft, safe approach, one designed to ease the minds of a population “seeking a sense of calm, trust and the tried-and-true.”
Color trends for the home take many things into consideration, changing in response to seemingly outside influences such as trade and politics, global events, the economic climate, and the fashion runway. In times of confidence and prosperity palettes turn bright and daring and in times of uncertainty they soften, aiming first and foremost to provide a sense of safety and calm.
What stands out in this year’s predictions is the fact the colors are slightly safer than last year’s report, when it seemed the palette was turning more upbeat. The progression makes sense as this time last year consumers were looking forward to an end to the troubled economy they had already dealt with for too long. As this year approaches its final months, however, they find themselves in much the same predicament as last year.
This doesn’t, of course, mean people won’t be painting their interiors, it simply means they are likely to select colors that are a little safer; hues with which they believe they will be able to live peacefully and comfortably for some time.
The top pick for the coming year: Wythe Blue, a blue green hue with a cool gray cast to it. The company said the hue’s appeal is due in part to its calming quality, pointing to its ability to create a “comfortable and stable ambiance -- an antidote to the frenetic pace of today’s daily life.”
“It’s interesting that Wythe Blue is from our historical color collection,” noted Sonu Mathew, ASID, IIDA and Benjamin Moore’s senior interior designer. “We’ve actually cited it because it has a modern edge, yet it’s so rooted in history and is respectful of what’s classic and enduring.”
Mathew added the blue family in general is an ideal backdrop for other colors and materials. “It’s an excellent partner to various wood tones, and complements the grays and whites that have become current decorating basics,” she said.
Top Colors for 2012
- Big Blues: In addition to Wythe Blue, two other shades stand out to the color experts here. The first is Montpelier, which is more on the steely side, continuing the attraction of gray-toned hues. Montpelier, like Wythe, was described as having a “timeless quality.” The second is Amethyst Shadow which, as the name implies pulls in a purple influence. Also bordering on the gray scale, Amethyst Shadow bridges the gap between purple and blue.
- Great Grays: Rich and smoky, soft and dreamy, shades of Stardust, Sharkskin, Nimbus Gray, and Revere Pewter and viewed as “hotties” for this category.
- Soft Neutrals: The public’s “perennial love affair” with whites and neutrals will be sated with whispering shades like Ballet White, White Dove, Refined and Pashmina. Mathew refers to such hues as “go tos” that never go out of style.
- Color Kick: Urban-dwellers are known to be a bit more daring when it comes to paint choices, according to Mathew, who pointed to spicy tones like Gypsy Love and Persimmon which offer a burst of robust, ruddy color, as being a hit with this crowd.
- Mother Earth: The warm safety of earth tones make a big play in the 2012 palette. The troubled economy lends a hand to this trend as consumers are more likely to play it safe in terms of color in times of financial uncertainty. Tones here include Masada, Farm Fresh, Dunmore Cream and Fresh Olive.