color trends

So Many Colors, So Little Time: Color Trends, 2018

There are SO many colors! And SO little time to use them all! How do color experts actually use magic to predict color trends for the upcoming year? Is there some sort of crystal ball that causes them to know what’s coming?

Not really.

Predicting color trends for the future year takes hard work, and maybe a bit of magic. According to Benjamin Moore Paint’s design expert, Andrea Magno, color experts “spend months researching and traveling around the world, attending design shows and picking up cues and influences from different industries, including fashion, art, and even politics. . . finding the common threads. . .”  

But not only do experts look at trends worldwide, they also need to keep in mind how different colors are seen culturally. For example, red is seen in China as a good luck color, whilst in America, red is more about passion or anger. And in Morocco, green is seen as a more holy color, whilst in America, it’s seen, well, as money, baby (which could be said to be a religion here), but also having to do with environmental connections. 

Of course, there are also color trends based on what’s being used in each state in the USA, as shown in the infographic below. No surprise California has a lovely white, with all those rentals and boho vibe, nor that Utah’s favorite color is grey.

House Beautiful

what are the color trends coming up for 2018?

According to Lauren Smith at House Beautiful, black is still an excellent neutral going into next year, showcased not just on accessories, but also on walls, as shown in the lovely picture below, as shown in Elle Decor’s post.


Smith and many other writers also point to Sherwin Williams’ color palettes of the year: Affinity, Connectivity, and Sincerity (and if you’re wondering what those mean, as I was, luckily there are pictures!).

To clarify, Affinity is a combo of blue, fuchsia, and brown that reflects a

global interest. Connectivity is inspired by the tech industry, as its name implies, and is a combo of oranges, blues and greens, yellows, and even some purples. And finally, Sincerity mixes neutrals, pinks, and greens in order to “recharge and reconnect”.  Ahhh . . . that sounds (and looks) lovely, doesn’t it?

“Affinity” color palette by Sherwin Williams
“Connectivity” color palette by Sherwin Williams
“Sincerity” color palette by Sherwin Williams

Graham & Brown revealed a dusky pink called “Penelope” as their shade of the year, inspired by the Greek goddess. I’m pretty sure the living room of my small Craftsman bungalow was painted this color in the early ‘90’s, which makes 2018 a perfect time for a comeback!

“Penelope” by Graham & Brown

Dutch Boy has chosen Sandstone Tint (441-2DB) as their color of 2018. This hue “nods to the simplicity of the past, while also making a modern, color-confident statement that looks to the future”, according to Dutch Boy’s website. One designer called it “griege”: warmer  than the current grey trend, but cooler than your typical earth tone.

Sandstone Tint

And because we could really go on forever with more companies, like Benjamin Moore (who really has two of the best, most reliable whites in the industry: Linen White, with a warmer base, and Dove White, with a cooler base) will be coming out with their color on October 11th, 2017, here is a “final” list for the purposes of this post, by Elle Decor:
-Minimalist Pastels
-Pink (Pantone predicts pink will become a stronger, power, non-gendered color)
-Blue (Behr’s “In the Moment”)
-Vibrant yellows and greens (Design can be fun!)
-Global trend (ala Sherwin Williams’ Affinity)
-Metallics as Neutrals
-Tech Green (ala Sherwin Williams’ Connectivity)

Behr’s “In the Moment”

So many color trends, so little time.

While it’s a great idea to know what designers and color-trend experts are saying about color (and it’s a necessity for those of us in the industry) there are also timeless colors that continue year after year, like aforementioned Linen White, or Simply White, or navy, or camel, or even brown.

As a design professional, I want to know what the trends are. But I also keep in mind that most people won’t be switching their cream living-room walls to black any time soon. So what can you do to use current color trends, but not redo everything in your house?

Of course, the easiest way is with accessories! Not only can you change a pillow cover lickety-split (which I do for spring/summer and winter/fall anyways), but you can throw out a current-trend throw (see what I did there?), put out a small vignette of interesting items that show that color trend you want to add to your room, and/or add a new carpet or throw rug. Pinterest has a plethora of pictures using every color you could imagine and can give you some great ideas. For example, instead of painting walls black, use some thing or things, like some of the adorable black and gold items below on Polyvore.

Another way to use a color trend you’ve fallen in love with, but one which you don’t really want to use everywhere, is to paint your powder room, inside of a cabinet (as shown in the “Affinity” picture above), inside of your coat closet, or even on your fireplace, like is shown in the “Connectivity” color palette above. “Hidden color” can be a fun surprise every time you open the door, like in the kitchen cabinet shown below. And if it’s a color you absolutely love, but aren’t sure you want to use everywhere, that small space will give you an idea if you’ll love that color longer term (and yes, this color is very close to Sherwin Williams’ color of the year, “Oceanside“!).

Picture from blog “A Beautiful Mess“.


So, you can see that there’s a lot going into the upcoming year’s color trends. But there is also your house, your tastes, and your likes.  And if you’re not ready for a big color change, like painting your living room black, you can still make smaller color changes that make a big impact and are on-trend!

Comment below which color trend is your favorite for 2018 and where you might use it!

Written by Summer Barry

Cortney Haslem, owner of Cortney Haslem Designs, constantly looks at current trends, like the paint colors for the upcoming year, but also relies on her over-20-years-of-home-design-experience, to inform her design process for designing homes.

If you are looking for house plans of any style, please see her website:

And for some fresh design ideas, check out her blog!