Between the pandemic, the upcoming election, and a topsy-turvy economy and jobs market, there’s plenty of things to worry about. In the face of such chaos, Americans have been turning inward and transforming their spaces into lush escapes from the outside world.

Designers have picked up on this trend, with some of the nation’s top paint companies releasing a slew of warm and calming hues for their 2021 collections, including cool blues, warm neutrals, and the occasional pop of color with rich, dark reds and navies.

“The current cultural climate has created a state of overstimulation and information overload, which has encouraged trends to live life with minimalism,” HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Senior Color Designer Ashley Banbury said in a press release.”Consumers are eager to streamline and simplify their lives and homes, but that doesn’t mean we need to forgo having fun with color.”

Sherwin-Williams released 10 new shades that range from Bohemian Lace, a pale, creamy white, to Copper Kettle, a bold, perfect-for-fall burnt orange. However, the company chose the deep merlot shade, Passionate, as its 2021 Color of the Year.

Sherwin-Williams’ Passionate shade (Photo credit: Sherwin-Williams)

“Rich and empowering, Passionate is a bold red that’s steeped in history, merging modern design with traditional charm,” the description read. “We’re breaking free from expectations and immersing ourselves into the colors and experiences that feed our souls.”

“Our personal spaces become a reflection of our authentic selves, to be experienced and enjoyed as they are,” it continued.

Boutique paint and papermaker Farrow & Ball also chose a merlot hue, dubbed Preference Red No. 297, as its color of the year alongside eye-catching natural shades such as India Yellow No. 66, Jitney No. 293, Treron No. 292, Sap Green No. W56, and Ultra Marine Blue No. W29.

Farrow & Ball’s Preference Red No. 297  (Photo credit: Farrow & Ball)

“2021 is a bit of a landmark year for color trends and home trends in general,” Farrow & Ball International Brand Ambassador Patrick O’Donnell told Architectural Digest“This is a year for turning back toward perennial favorites that have never failed us, a year for creating a sense of calm in the home—shades like Preference Red No. 297 and Tanner’s Brown No. 255, for example, create a very rich, warm feeling.”

Meanwhile, PPG and Rodda Paint broke from the pack with blue hues dominating their top color lists. PPG’s Misty Aqua is toned-down, mint-infused blue while Rodda Paint’s Simple Serenity is a muted periwinkle blue.

Simple Serenity by Rodda Paint. (Photo credit: Rodda Paint)

“Reassurance and calm are what we are all in need of right now,” Rodda Paint Marketing Program Director Priya Bhagat said of 2021’s color trends. “With this in mind, we’ve come to view our homes and working spaces in a whole new way.”

Email Marian McPherson

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