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The Trouble with 'Color of the Year'

Have you seen it? Pantone's Color of the Year? Sherwin William's Color of the Year? Behr's Color of the Year? The number of companies coming out with their suggested color of the year is staggering. I stopped counting at 10, but know I could have kept going if I had the time or desire to do so. And although I really enjoy seeing what’s new in the home decor world it got me wondering about the girl who just got on the ‘gray’ bandwagon and I got sad for her.

Picking paint is hard and picking a paint palette is ten times harder! But then you throw in a color of the year suggestion and it can upset the entire apple cart, especially since these colors are being suggested by some of the industries greatest color experts: Pantone, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Behr and more. If you throw in the extra large handful of interior designers who weigh in with their suggested colors, it can feel extremely overwhelming.

So - girl who just got on the gray bandwagon…I’m speaking to you. Actually, if you’re contemplating changing your living room walls to the Pantone 2021 color of the year, I’m speaking to you too.

My top 5 reasons why you should ignore the color of the year:

1. Remember avocado green…from the 70s? The mustard or the orange sisters that came along with it? Do I need to say more? Here’s the deal with those…those colors weren’t just a color choice for the year. They marked an entire decade. And guess what? They went out of style but not before my mom, your mom and your best friend’s mom all went out and bought refrigerators, Tupperware, kitchen appliances and entire rooms of carpet of those colors. My take away - colors of the year are named as such because they’ll be out of style faster than a toupee in a hurricane only to be replaced by a new color next year.

2. Trends are fun to try, but trends by definition are fleeting. What’s cool today may not be tomorrow. Spending time and money replacing the faded trend to update with the new one is a waste of just that…time and money.

3. Choosing a color of the year can seem like a really good idea at the time, especially because you have your really fashionable friend coming to stay and you want to impress in a big way. Big sister words of wisdom coming your way: your friend is coming to see YOU, not your wall that’s painted the color of the year.

4. Happiness doesn’t arrive if you change the color. OUCH! My big sister voice is still on, so bare with me. As a side note, I’m not a big sister…just a little sister five times over so all those years of being bossed, weeellllll you can thank all of them for that! Sometimes changes, especially ones that follow trends can feel good for the moment, but an emptiness creeps back in once the paint has dried. Pay attention to that…and dig deeper. There’s something there that needs to be paid attention to.

5. Sometimes…hard truth here…the color of the year is (gulp) really ugly and it may not match, coordinate or compliment any of your previous home decor choices. Bringing in a new color could upset the color cart and start an avalanche of change that doesn’t align with your pocket book.

But if you MUST give it a try, here are my top five suggestions (in five different rooms) that won’t break the bank or take up so much space that it acts like a bully in the room.

1. In the living room: accent pillows or throw blankets.

Who says you have to have the entire accent color in the COTY. No one. Try pillows or throws with the hint of color on it. Think a sprinkle of color rather than a down pour.

2. In the playroom: artwork or a plant base. Playrooms by their very nature are playful and fun so if the COTY is a bright, bold, fun color as is Pantone’s choice - great. Knock yourself out because it’ll probably bring a pop of playfulness and vibrancy to an already energetic space. Side note: my color rule of thumb for a playroom = color and lots of it (just not on the walls, keep those neutral and allow all the colors you bring in to do the talking!).

3. In the bathroom: small accent pieces like vases or hand towels.

4. In the dining room: try bringing in the color of they year with fresh flowers. Pantone’s COTY lends itself well to this idea, especially as spring flowers begin blooming.

5. In the kitchen: try condiment dishes or cloth napkins. Side note: any COTY is going to look great with a base layer of white kitchenware, as will thrifted finds. You can read about that here.

So, girl who just got on board with the gray and is now all confused as what to do…be confident in the choices you just made, not falling victim to the trend trap set in front of you. But, if you want to give it a go, do it…in a small way!


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