2016: Expect a Year of Colorful Contrasts

Color Trends Offer Surprises

Expect to see beautiful yet unusual colors and color combinations next year, beginning with an unexpected color predicted by one paint company as the No. 1 hue: White.

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Color Trends Offer Surprises

Expect to see beautiful yet unusual colors and color combinations next year, beginning with an unexpected color predicted by one paint company as the No. 1 hue: White.


PPG Paints brand Color of the Year is a soft, muted green called Paradise Found. Notice how it contrasts with white trim and wood grains here, which is another big trend for 2016.

2016: Expect a Year of Colorful Contrasts

Color Trends Offer Surprises

Expect to see beautiful yet unusual colors and color combinations next year, beginning with an unexpected color predicted by one paint company as the No. 1 hue: White.

Benjamin Moore Co. has chosen Simply White as the top 2016 color, noting that white never goes out of style and helps to elevate a space. According to Benjamin Moore, layered whites will be important as will the interplay of whites and light, creating nuance and subtle beauty.

That being said, Benjamin Moore also is showing the color with darker colors and even bright chroma accents. Angles and edges in a room will often be defined with these accent colors, with white walls as the base. The reverse also will be popular, with energetic colors on walls framed by crisp white borders on trim, ceiling, doors and window encasements.

The look is one of contrasts, and it will play out in color-rich ways in 2016.

Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand manager for Dulux Paints, points to the rise of pastels in 2016, which look particularly stunning with white.

Pastels, such as Dulux Paints' Newborn yellow, featured
here, will be pigment-infused in 2016.

“These aren’t your mother’s pastels,” Tustin-Fuchs emphasizes. “The pastels of 2016 are more natural and pigment-infused than the popular shades of the ’80s. They’re subdued yet vibrant, muddied yet rich, and subtle yet strong.” He suggests that it’s important to balance contrasting colors, such as whites and pastels, using an equal amount of each to create a cohesive scheme.

A Contrast of Finishes
Particularly hot for the year ahead is the pairing of colors in matte and high gloss finishes—side by side.

One look that several paint companies have called out is the combination of white-washed walls and hand-hewn beams. But wood in general will play a big role in home decors.

According to Tustin-Fuchs, a wood-pastel mix creates a beautiful and serene decor, while adding interest and equilibrium to the room. To tie the two together, pick a grain in the wood and paint the walls a pastel shade of that grain, he suggests.

Warm, down-to-earth colors, such as Palo Verde by CIL paint,
provide a sense of serenity. Wood flooring sets off the look.

To understand next year’s color trends, Alison Goldman, brand manager for CIL paint, says, to think of brown-hued neutrals, beachy driftwood tones, natural brights, cloudy translucents and soft pastels. These are warm, down-to-earth colors that promote a sense of serenity.

“We’re seeing a move away from the saturated greys, blacks and acidic brights that were popular the last few years,” Goldman explains. “The warmer 2016 tones deliver a more modern and livable color scheme that translates beautifully into any living space.”

Goldman doesn’t choose white as next year’s top color but a pastel instead, citing Chemise Pink as CIL’s Color of the Year.

“Soft blush pink will be incorporated in all elements of home decor in 2016, from walls to furnishings to accessories,” she says. The new pink works well with a variety of colors—not only white but also soft green, pale brown, chalky gray and slate—and with wood tones, too, such as weathered gray.

CIL paint chooses soft blush pink (Chemise Pink shown
here) as the hot color of 2016.

While certainly “livable,” the emerging palette is a shift from those of the past. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of The Pantone Color Institute has identified nine key trend palettes that feature “unexpected color stories,” as she says.

The palettes are:
Natural Forms: Warm, rosy clay and sheepskin beige

Dichotomy: Opposites attract with silver metallic, sunny yellow and bright cobalt blue combined with calmer versions of the hues
Lineage: Shades of navy, black, tan and regimental green used with brighter colors
Soft Focus: Subtle and muted colors, sometimes described as “smoky”
Bijoux: Jewel tones with drama an intensity; “Bijoux” in French means “jewelry”
Merriment: Joyful, vibrant greens and yellows contrasted with pinks and oranges
Footloose: Blues and blue-greens
Mixed Bag: Electric patterns and prints, pirate black, Mandarin red, violet and florid orange

Safety in Colors
Despite the contrasts, there’s safety in emerging colors. That’s the message from PPG Paints in unveiling its top paint picks for 2016—a collection of 22 rich, nurturing hues intended to help create a refuge in the home.

PPG Paints' Paradise Found green provides a soft contrast
to the black and white in this eating nook.

From sturdy darks such as metal gray and burgundy, to earthen mid-tones of olive brown and indigo blue to matted taupes and soft gray-whites, the colors for the year ahead emit a sense of serenity and security. This is true whether they’re painted on one wall or all four, says Valerie Jager, channel marketing manager for PPG Architectural Coatings.

Likening the 2016 paint palette to “a big, warm hug after a long day,” Jager explains that “these colors are like a silent guard, emanating strength and protection in the midst of uncertain times.”

Taking the top PPG color spot for 2016 is a soft, muted green called Paradise Found (PPG1135-5). Pairing well with muffled plum and armor gray, the new green works particularly well in a family room, living area or bedroom, Jager adds.

Other key colors in the PPG Paints brand 2016 trends collection include browns, Olive Wood (PPG1097-7) and Leather Loafers (PPG1101-6); grays, Obsidian (PPG1035-7) and Knight’s Armor (PPG1001-6); indigo blues, Annapolis Blue (PPG1164-7) and Hacienda Talavera (PPG17-03); taupes, Sautéed Mushroom (PPG1085-5) and Antiquity (PPG1093-5), golds, Gothic Gold (PPG1208-7) and Deconstruction (PPG1006-6), and burgundies, Ruby Lips (PPG1052-7) and Burgundy Wine (PPG13-03).

Sico paint's Buckwheat Yellow is the company's top pick for the "it" color next year.

SICO paint, meanwhile, has cited Buckwheat Yellow (6113-54) as the brand’s Color of the Year. Mathieu Hamel, SICO paint assistant brand manager, says the color is reflective of a less complex time in history and joins other nature-based colors in the 2016 collection that are both soothing and nurturing. This color, like the others in the palette, also works well with the freshness of white and in homes that are relaxed, low-key and authentic.

“Furnishings in a room don’t have to be arranged perfectly, and in fact, it’s preferred if they aren’t,” Hamel points out. “Our homes are our protection and the one place where we can truly be ourselves, and the new colors help us easily achieve that carefree feeling.”

Decor in 2016 will be more relaxed and low-key. On the accent wall is Sico paint's
Norwegian Spruce teal.

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