It happens like clockwork: every year, companies unveil their pick for the "Color of the Year," one shade that speaks to the onslaught of incoming trends and the overall mood we so desperately crave in our own spaces. But, just because a brand’s "Color of the Year" is a great indication of what’s to come doesn’t mean it is design law. Truth is, everyone has their opinion on which colors will make it big in the upcoming year. That’s exactly why we interviewed interior designers and color experts on their pigment predictions for 2021.
The predictions below run the gamut from soothing neutrals to statement-making jewel tones to deep, moody hues. But, no matter what your color of choice is, one thing’s for sure: we’re all yearning for a sense of calm.
Just because a brand’s "Color of the Year" is a great indication of what’s to come doesn’t mean it is design law.
Beautify with Brown
“I do think warmer tones will start to outpace the greys. I think brown is going to be fashionable again, just because it’s warm and classic. It reminds us of things that have been around forever which is comforting, like silver and gold.”—Liz Caan, principal of Liz Caan & Co.
“When developing the Farrow & Ball 2021 Trend Report, we wanted to consider the various social and cultural shifts, such as the emergence in new color combinations creating calm and balance, and now, more than ever, how color can affect or influence our mood and wellbeing. With a varied trend report that offers different palettes—all with their own aesthetic quality—it gives a good breadth of decorating options and doesn’t constrict to a singular look or have a seasonal bias. [For example,] luxurious colors like Preference Red can be added to the most neutral of palettes by using them in rooms we use at the end of the day when we want to relax and be comforted.” —Patrick O’Donnell, international brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball
“We’re noticing an increased interest in deeper, richer colors such as deep ambers, greens, and carnelian red, along with softer textures and more pattern, which we expect to emerge as strong trends in 2021.We also expect to see a return to layered patterns and color in the new year, as well as more embellishment. Design will become more detail oriented and embellished in 2021, and we’ll see luxury in little pieces making big statements. For example, embroidery in sparring detail and embellishments on fabrics and even wallpaper.”—Stacy Waggoner, founder of Studio Four NYC
Design will become more detail oriented and embellished in 2021, and we’ll see luxury in little pieces making big statements.
Mood-Boosting Jewel Tones
“Next year, I believe we’ll continue to see the resurgence of rich, saturated hues, from jewel tones like ruby and sapphire to earthy shades like cypress and saffron. Designers and homeowners won’t shy away from interiors lavishly swathed in color.”—Marie Flanigan, principal of Marie Flanigan Interiors
“People are focused on comfort right now, and I believe that will trickle over to 2021. The home now more than ever is a sanctuary, and people are spending more at home than ever before, which leaves us all dreaming of a space that brings feelings of comfort and contentment. I think the color trends are going to steer more towards classic hues in the year to come. A warm neutral paint color like Timeless, On Point, or our perfect warm white, Whipped are great choices for those seeking calm at home. A versatile neutral palette will make your space feel cozy all year round—and with subtle warm undertones, they’ll help create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that promotes that feeling of comfort that we’re all craving.”—Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare
On-Point Pigment Pop
“Over the past year, our relationships with the spaces around our homes have evolved dramatically. I teamed up with FrogTape brand painter’s tape to determine 2021’s top interior design trends. In the New Year, we’ll see soothing neutrals and deep, cozy hues combined with occasional pops of more vibrant tones to create the perfect balance of energy and serenity in our personal sanctuaries.” —Taniya Nayak, designer
“I’ve been so excited about people’s response to more natural colors and rich earth tones. We’ve almost exclusively been using lime wash and plasters from Domingue Finishes. The depth of color and highlights are almost luminous and it can completely change the dynamic of a room. Everything from very pale blues that are reminiscent of a lazy seaside town in the Mediterranean, to dry ocher that is elegant and moody and transports you to the Sahara. Overall, these color palettes are becoming more sophisticated and timeless”—Robert McKinley, interior designer