Paint Color of the Year & Color Trends Revisited

Paint Color of the Year & Color Trends Revisited

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It is a new year and time, yet again, to choose the Paint Color of the Year. Each year we ask our designers to select their favorite paint color from among the major paint manufacturers. And this year, the winner is…….

2020 Paint Color of the Year

Benjamin Moore’s First Light 102-70. This soft color, reminiscent of morning’s first light, reminds us of a neutral that floats between warm and cool.

 A soft, rosy hue blooming with potential, First Light, is the backdrop for a bright new decade.

The reason our design team chose First Light is that they see it as a nice complement to so many of the popular colors we use today. “Especially when used as an accent wall or small area, it brings warmth and peace to a space,” says Tracy Miller, ASID. “Just seeing the color, you immediately feel like you’re waking up with coffee in hand enjoying the space,” she says.

Trends in Paint Color

While on the subject of favorite paint colors, let’s review the color trends of the past several years. It’s fun to look back and see which colors remain timeless and which are now dated.

2019 Paint Color of the Year

 This year’s paint color of the year is Metropolitan AF-690.

2019 paint color of the year

“Although not a vibrant color, this beautiful soft gray layers incredibly well with so many other grays and invites a hint of other beautiful colors to come alongside,” says Tracy Miller, ASID, Jenkins’ Lead Interior Designer. Neutrals are the building blocks for good design, as they provide the basis for our eyes to see and enjoy other colors and textures in the room.  In the absence of other colors, neutrals become the color in the room. Metropolitan is that rare combination of neutral but with just enough color to be both.

color of the year 2019

Calming Effect of Gray

Our team loves this particular gray because of its calming effect, primarily due to the hints of blue and green that can be seen in certain lights. Unlike so many modern grays that can turn into a blueish-green color, though, this one stays true to its gray hues and heathered feel throughout the day and in different natural light.

Perfect Pairings

Where our team really loves the 2019 Paint Color of the Year is with its pairings. Beautiful new metallics and soft pale colors pair incredibly well with it, along with the traditional bright whites. For an even bigger impact, a punch of bright red like last year’s color, caliente, also looks amazing. It can also help modernize a home with dark leather or even linen-color furnishings and draperies.

Our team loves to mix colors from other manufacturers and often find favorite combinations that way. 

Caliente – 2018 Color of the Year

Moving away from neutrals with a bold statement sets the tone for 2018. Caliente is strong, vibrant, and full of energy. This powerful choice by Benjamin Moore brings spaces to life! This color is powerful alone as well as pairs beautifully with warm and cool tones, making it the perfect choice to rev up any space.

The Power of Red

Don’t be afraid of this color! Although it might seem intimidating, it manages to warm up weathered rustic spaces as well as provide modern rooms with a striking confidence. From French Country to contemporary, Caliente is sure to complete the look with a dazzling touch. At Jenkins Design+Build, we design luxury our clients can use. We listen to their visions in order to provide them with the most compatible vibe in a home. This shade of red is energizing, spontaneous, and passionate. It excites our emotions and inspires us to take action – the perfect shade to set the tone for 2018!

Caliente is stunning on its own as well as compelling when paired with warm or cool tones. This particular shade is able to warm up weathered and worn rustic spaces. It also injects energy into deep cool-toned grays, bringing them to life. Here are a few paint choices that we love paired with Caliente AF-290!

Spiced Spaces

Caliente allows us to turn any room into a statement setting. Our experts at Jenkins Design+Build create individualized spaces that capture the client’s personality through detail. Paint color is one of the details that complete the look and define the space. Caliente draws the eye and commands attention with its exuberant touch. Here are some of our favorite examples of how Caliente compliments any space from coastal to classic to modern!

Contrasting crisp white allows Caliente to take center stage.
A touch of red provides a striking first impression into this warm country home. Shades like Dreamy Cloud and Wolf Gray compliment the bold red.
We love it as a simple accent wall to spice up this modern bathroom. Whoever says simple is boring has never met Caliente!
Clean lines and warm toned woods tie modern and rustic together, providing the perfect blend of fresh with cozy.
Classic elements mixed with unique shapes and smooth finishes give this space its own character. Caliente spruces it up perfectly!
Make a bold statement like that of this rustic and charming entry way!

The Importance of Good Color

The final color selection is really all about flow, even down to all the little details.  The biggest enemy of good color flow is changing the color palette midway through the project.  For those who tend to be indecisive, a professional can be a huge help. Color is a very personal decision. Just like good design in any form, it should be highly unique to the client. At Jenkins Design+Build, we spend time learning our client’s preferences. Then we convert those preferences into their spaces.  In the words of Eero Saarinen (who designed the famous St. Louis Arch), the best designs are “the shapes that the ‘creators’ best relate to and thrive in”.  To see a sample of what we’ve been designing lately, check out our What’s in Design section.

2017 Color of the Year

Our favorite paint manufacturer, Sherwin-Williams, has named Poised Taupe their 2017 color of the year. It’s the color that they “anticipate defining 2017”.  We couldn’t agree more!

When we began our trend away from the ivories and into the brighter whites, one criticism we often heard from our clients was consistent. “We don’t want it to feel too sterile.”  So it makes sense that we’ve moved into some warmer tones to help balance the museum whites of the last few years. Don’t get us wrong. We still love the white whites, but it is nice to have some contrast and balance. Poised Taupe creates a coziness to the room and brings a sense of sanctuary into the home. Even when used in small areas like an accent wall, it can really change the entire look of a room.


The History of Taupe

poised-taupe-2017-color-of-the-year-kitchenThe story of taupe is simple. “Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.”*  Taupe gives a nod to those who love the clean of grey and to those who love the warmth of brown. So we see this as the type of color that won’t go out of style anytime soon. It will be the type of color that looks great in candlelight, next to a glass of bubbly, and as a background for a bright white robe hanging on a hook.

“There is a particular beauty to be admired in homes that are allowed to age gracefully and show the wear and tear of everyday life.” Our homes are meant to be enjoyed, and some of its imperfections came through laughter and life.  We’ve all had a scratch on the wall or a fingerprint on a window that reminded us of a happy time or a little visitor that we love to have over.  At a time when perfection seems like the ideal, a home that celebrates a well-lived life can be a welcome respite.

Colors that Blend Well

In addition to the neutral of this taupe, we see the cornflower hues as complementary. For example, a greyish blue and a bright white along with Poised Taupe feel like a modern version of a French country kitchen.  If you are a fan of even more color, a little yellow may also fit your fancy.

Pair These Colors with Color of the Year

The Importance of Good Design

The final color selection is really all about flow, even down to all the little details.  The biggest enemy of good color flow is changing the color palette midway through the project.  For those who tend to be indecisive, a professional can be a huge help. Color is a very personal decision. Just like good design in any form, it should be highly unique to the client. At Jenkins Design+Build, we spend our days thinking about what our clients like most. Then we convert those preferences into their home’s spaces. We do our best to listen well so that we can reflect our clients in every detail.  In the words of Eero Saarinen (who designed the famous St. Louis Arch), the best designs are “the shapes that the ‘creators’ best relate to and thrive in”.  To see a sample of what we’ve been designing lately, check out our What’s in Design section.

2016 Color of the Year

Sherwin-Williams has announced Alabaster as their 2016 paint color of the year. Alabaster (SW 7008) is a paint color which symbolizes new beginnings and clean slates.  In a time of interconnected commotion and over stimulation, Alabaster offers a feeling of solace and peaceful revival to weary minds.sw-img-diy-coty2-16-lp

“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness. It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and ‘less is more’ visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring white.”
Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing.


Design Ideas

Sherwin-Williams had some interesting design ideas for Alabaster:

  • Use it to set the tone for healing, rest and meditation in residential or commercial spaces.
  • Let the color stand by itself as a chic hue in an entryway or lobby
  • Pair with light blushes or grays and bridge transitional and traditional styles.
  • Create a yin and yang harmony with contrasting dark colors, such as Urbane Bronze (SW 7048) or Gray Area (SW 7052).

Alabaster is a paint color that will pair nicely with other neutrals as well as a wide range of bright hues. It’s versatile and should resist dating. Visit Sherwin-Williams to see their recommended pairing guide.

2015 Color of the Year & Trends

Paint and stain manufacturer Benjamin Moore recently chose Guilford Green as their 2015 Color of the Year.

Color InspirationEllen O’Neill, Creative director at Benjamin Moore described Guilford Green as:

“A neutral that’s natural. A silvery green that works with, well, everything. No worries. No second thoughts. Just a brush, dipped in a can, whooshed on a wall, and a whole lot of happily ever after. We chose Guilford Green as our 2015 Color of the Year because it can be the hero or the highlight in any room, enhancing the architectural identity of a space. Guilford Green is the perfect thread to connect nature, spaces and interiors with color schemes that signify fresh energy and growth.”

Taking cues from trends in fashion, textiles and the arts, the Benjamin Moore Color Studio team spotted the common thread of balanced palettes and a design sentiment that continued to reflect a sense of optimism. Guilford Green harmoniously complements the Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2015 palette, which also celebrates the concept of monochromatic colors – using warm, cool, dark and light layers of the same hue – in the home. With a monochromatic color scheme throughout a floor plan, each room can have a very distinctive look making it almost imperceptible that there is a single hue at work. Exploring monochromatic colors allows for a fresh approach in designing a room as a single hue, color combinations are endless. Employing various sheens creates another layer of texture in a space.

Color Trends

Guilford Green is soft with a hint of brown and gray in it. The result is a calming neutral look. This neutral paint will work with many different design styles and feels at home in contemporary, transitional or traditional homes.

Color trends

In this naturally lit room, the Guilford Green paint gathers green from the plants outside, the artwork on the wall and the flowers on the bedside table. If you’re not a huge fan of tan and gray neutrals, you might give Guilford Green a try.

Top designers agree, these chic combinations may be the next big thing.

Room Color Ideas using Marsala, the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year

This month’s room color idea comes from the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala. Marsala is defined as an earthly wine and naturally robust red color that soothes and enriches the soul, mind, and the body. According to Leatrice Elseman, author of Pantone’s Guide To Communicating With Color, Marsala is a subtly-seductive shade which attracts people who embrace its warmth.

Room Color Ideas

When it comes to a tasteful hue, Marsala embodies the contented richness of a fulfilling meal and its red-brown roots conjure up a natural and sophisticated earthiness. Where Marsala really excels is in its elegance. It accents and enhances the beauty of accessories, furniture and paint. It features a quality that, when it is applied to textured surfaces like the rugs and the upholstered furniture in the living room can really complement a more neutral wall color. The reverse is also true. As shown below, the flat surface of the wall really complements the texture of the furniture and artwork.

Room Color Ideas

Reasons Marsala makes a great Pantone Color of the Year:

Marsala derives its name from a fortified wine which is globally appealing and can easily be translated into interiors, beauty, fashion, home furnishings and industrial design respectively.

1. It appeals equally to men and women. It portrays a flavorful and tempting shade for accessories. It is the one color which encourages experimentation and color creativity as well.

2. It is subtle but also sultry. It is also flattering against many skin colors. It can be highlighted on the cheeks and is quite popular for nails, hair and lips.

3. The dramatic and remarkable affect of Marsala in the home is pronounced. In-wall color, furnishing, and accents, it brings energy and warmth to the interior of the house.

4. Since Marsala is an earthy shade, it results in sophistication and this is seen in packaging and print respectively. Marsala has an organic nature which is highlighted through a matte finish and it adds quite distinct luxury and glamour for the house.

Room Color Ideas

Marsala Color pairings:

Marsala combines remarkably well with both flat and textured material as well as gloss finishes and matte finishes respectively. The sultry Marsala is quite compatible with golden yellows, umber, amber as well as turquoise, teal and shades of blue.

Room Color Ideas

 Greek Blue

“The blue of the Mediterranean, and the tops of the churches in Santorini—or Papers and Paints’ TC32. It’s so rich and fabulous, perfect when paired with a grey or pink.”

60s Shades

“I saw palette of 60s colors on the 2015 runways that was exciting—shades like olive and orange are being given new life.”

Sour Green with Blue

“We thought a lot about color trends as we were designing our Duralee fabric line and we love a little sour green mixed in with anything—here, vibrant versions of classic blue and green have a fresh, bold look.”

sour green with blue

Pastel Palettes

“I’ll be looking back to the pastel palette of LA in the 80s—optimistic color combinations of orange and purple sunsets, green palm trees, aqua pools, and pink flamingos. It’s a muted palette with shocks of neon—Monet meets Molly Ringwald.”

Neutral Gray

“Gray is definitely the hottest neutral these days—it sets the perfect backdrop. I love combining soft gray walls with dark charcoal doors and a pale, grayish-white ceiling. One of my favorite paint colors is “Repose Gray” by Sherwin Williams.”

Bold Color Mixing

“I love mixing colors, like pinks, purples, and vivid green with aqua and turquoise. Here, I’m using purple Ikat from Madeline Weinrib, Aqua wallpaper from China Seas, Matouk’s vivid pinks for bedding, and a citrusy green to keep things fresh.”

bold color mixing

Warm Tones

“I’m seeing warmer, muddy colors start to come back into vogue. I can’t get enough of rust, olive, dusty mint, and aubergine—and I still like a splash of bright color thrown on top though, just to keep things exciting!”

Dynamic Pairings

“For 2015, pair the classics with unexpected accents to make the scheme dynamic and vibrant—I love black, grey and white with splashes of red, and brown, blue, and green with orange citrus tones.”

Glossy Blue

“I’m seeing a lot of deep rich blues with a glossy finish—often paired with white for a surprisingly modern twist on a classic.”

2013 Pantone Color of the Year

In today’s exclusive interview, we asked one of Austin’s top Interior Designers, Stephanie J. Villavicencio, RID, ASID, owner and proprietor of Bella Villa Design Studio, to share her ideas with us on decorating with Emerald, the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year.

Sophisticated Palette

Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013. Combine it with grayed purples, teal and a warm neutral for a sophisticated look.

Pantone Palette

Add a splash of deep greens and bronze around a fireplace like this one by id810 design group. Chocolate walls make this space warm and cozy.


I like using different hues of green because they reflect what is outside in the leaves of the trees, plants and grass.

Emerald Gemstone

I love this ring. It is an emerald cut emerald turned horizontally in a unique setting. Emerald-Cut Emerald Palladium Ring by Gemvara.

Emerald Ring


We like using bold colors as accents in a neutral palette such as these emerald/peacock glass vases and bowls in a bathroom done in Calcutta marble tile by Domicile Interior Design. The contrast sets off the green in the glass and has a memorable impact on the design of this bathroom.

Emerald Bottles

Emerald green works beautifully as an accent. This stunning glass is from the Vega collection which is designed for Baccarat by Savinel & Rozé.

Emerald Vase


Accent pillows can provide a focal point of a room as shown in this room below by Cristi Holcombe. Using color in accessories gives you the flexibility to change colors when you want to without committing to completely redoing a room.

Emerald Pillows

We are currently creating some elegant green and brown pillows for a living room which we hope to show you in a future post.


You can play with different tones of greens by updating your room with a peacock colored rug. Madeline Weinrib – Vintage Moroccan Hand-Knotted Carpet 6’8” x 11’8”, available through Interior Designers.

Emerald Rug

Bold green draperies accent this gray room designed by Kay Douglass. A weathered wood fireplace surround and Arteriors chandelier tie-in with the base on the zinc top table.

Emerald Drapes


I love Barbara Barry and her clean, classic style of design. The ivory desk blotter she designed for Global Views provides a neutral backdrop that highlights the green accessories.

Emerald Desk Blotter

Have fun with the new color of the year!

-Stephanie J. Villavicencio

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