And the color of the year is ... a salad?
Well, no, it’s actually a field of greens.
When Behr Paint’s marketing team emailed to say the company would announce its Color of the Year (COTY) and its associated palette via a virtual cooking class with a celebrity chef, I was intrigued.
Like most big paint companies, Behr announces its pick after its color mavens predict what will be the “in” hue for the coming year.
As contrived as these announcements are, the chef angle did put a fresh spin on a yawn of a story. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone would guide a group of design reporters on how to make a 15-ingredient salad while talking about color.
“As chefs, we think constantly about color,” he said. “When we see a variety of color on a plate, it screams ‘Fresh!’”
By the end of the demo, Stone’s artful salad was colorfully tossed into one camera-ready masterpiece while my ingredients weren’t even in the same bowl. All so I could experience the Color of the Year.
So what is it? Well, it’s a bunch of mixed greens. Several companies announced their 2022 COTY over the past few weeks and, while their picks are unique, cool soft greens headline in every case.
Behr, a brand sold exclusively at The Home Depot, picked Breezeway (MQ3-21), “a silvery green shade with cool undertones,” according to the press materials. “Breezeway evokes feelings of coolness and peace while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”
Sounds more like a cruise ship than a paint chip.
PPG, a leading Pittsburgh-based paint company, named Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4). “An elegant, grounded, versatile and highly adaptable grey-green, this color represents regrowth in a post-pandemic world, mimicking nature’s resiliency,” PPG spokeswoman Amy Donato said in a statement. “With our society in a state of reflection, hope and optimism, consumers are gravitating toward more colorful selections, like Olive Sprig.”
In its 2022 forecast, Farrow & Ball, a pricier British paint brand, tagged Breakfast Room Green (No. 81). Of note: Each of these brands is pairing its chosen green alongside shades of creamy beige and retro brick red. Behr is showing Breezeway alongside Whisper White (HDC-MD-08), and Perfect Penny (S180-6). Farrow & Ball is including School House White (No. 291) and Incarnadine, a rich crimson (No. 248).
So what are we to make of this trend?
Although this COTY business seems like a marketing gimmick, the predictions do not come out of nowhere. Color forecasters from around the globe meet annually to discuss what is going on in the world socially, artistically and politically, then predict what hues consumers are going to prefer. This helps designers and manufacturers get in lockstep and make merchandise that goes together.
Does the market anticipate what we want, or do we want what’s in the market? It’s a chicken-and-egg conundrum. What I do know is that these color campaigns are intended to get consumers thinking about painting or repainting their homes.
They are just trends, however. Don’t rush out and redesign your house around the color of the year unless you are planning to remodel and you love the new color. Being aware of the COTYs is like watching a runway fashion show. Just because models are wearing fur-trimmed neon hot pants with suspenders doesn’t mean you have to change your wardrobe.
Look beyond the paint to the palette. Just like certain wines pair well with specific foods, color depends on the company it keeps. Paint companies are exceptionally good at creating palettes — clusters of colors that work together to bring out the best in each other. Like a good salad, a successful color lies in the mix.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go.” Reach her at marnijameson.com.