Upgrade your spaces with new—and old—classics.
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Whether you're finally giving your family room that long-awaited makeover, finishing a year-long kitchen renovation, or refreshing your kids' spaces, choosing a paint color that brings your vision to life—without looking dated—can make or break the final look. This year, nature-inspired neutrals, retro brights, and timeless whites should be your go-tos for creating warm, welcoming, and personalized spaces. "Last year and into 2021, we were focused on comfort, and the idea of our homes being a sanctuary, since they had turned into this safe space from the outside world," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "Deep, earthy hues took over, which felt very grounding and secure. While inspiration from nature is still a key trend for 2022, it's evolved to focus on sustainability, rebirth and growth."

interior of Kirsten Blazek family home
Credit: Courtesy of @virtuallyherestudios

Nature Tones

Experts agree that colors based on the great outdoors—from lush greens to desert-inspired tans—will become increasingly popular this year. "Over the past few years, we've seen neutrals start to warm up and sustainability and organic living emerge as key design trends. This will culminate in 2022 with tones like taupes, beiges, biscuits, and mushrooms taking center stage, along with nature-inspired hues, particularly greens," says Wadden.

Paint and color expert Annie Sloan, creator of Chalk Paint, anticipates a similar palette: "Think olive greens, sandy neutrals, and clay-toned terra-cotta shades," she says. "This kind of desert palette always looks luxurious and comforting, whether on walls or textiles or even as eye makeup!" And Patricia Greco of color technology company Datacolor, developer of ColorReader devices, predicts an uptick in brown shades—both the deeper bark tones of a walk in the woods and the paler sand shades of a day at the beach. "From soft sandy browns to earthy hues like cocoa, these shades of brown act as neutrals but offer a more dynamic and moody vibe than a traditional neutral," she says. "Brown is also a grounding color, which is a quality that we're especially drawn to after the past couple of years. Shades like cocoa, sand, and even chocolate have the same organic touch as trending colors like rust and terra-cotta, but feel more timeless."

White arrow home tour bedroom
Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Richter / White Arrow

Bold Brights

As a contrast to earthy neutrals and soothing greens, say our experts, look forward to bright mid-century tones making a comeback. "Lots of people are leaning towards the kind of vibrant, energizing, and exciting hues which were popular in the '50s," says Sloan. "The '50s were a time when mass production and personalization really made customizing interiors accessible to the wider public. People were embracing their individuality because they had the tools to do so. I expect a return to the bright, candy-colored, retro shades which defined this period."

Eye-catching colors allow you to add your own personality to your space—an especially important upgrade after spending so much time at home, says Arianna Cesa, associate manager of color marketing and development at Benjamin Moore. "Our homes can be the ultimate form of self-expression—they reflect who we are," she says. "Some popular color families we are seeing are refreshed primaries— think orange-tinged reds, buttery yellows, and dusty blues, as well as playful pastels." Wadden also points out the possibilities of personalizing your home with your favorite shades: "We've seen people really start to embrace color in their homes as an expression of themselves," she says, "so you see a rise in more vibrant hues, from midcentury orange to modern lavender and blackberry."

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New Neutrals

Updating your home with a soothing green on the walls, adding a pop of color with an orange sideboard, or relishing a deep, cocoa-colored dining room offer ways to easily upgrade your space, but you should never underestimate the refreshing qualities of classic white. "Nothing says a new year like a fresh coat of white paint," says Greco. "There are a million brilliant paint colors out there but nothing as enduring and timeless as a warm white. White paint offers a blank canvas for which we can make our own, and I predict white paint colors will continue to be a top choice for many in 2022." Nicole Gibbons of Clare paint expects the same. Though the company has seen an uptick in interest in shades of green—from mossy tones to olives—"neutrals will always reign supreme," she says.

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