What To Expect For 2023 Paint Color Trends

Autumn may be the most wonderful time of the year, not just because it's pumpkin spice, apple cider, and sweater season! It's also the time when paint companies finally release their signature Color of the Year (COTY). All the top paint companies, including Behr, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin-Williams, spend all year carefully watching trend forecasts, design news, and the minutiae of popular culture to select their colors. 

Each company has a different process for selecting its COTY, but some broad trends include building mood boards to identify color stories. In 2020, the LA Times reported on PPG Paints' 3.5-day working retreat to determine their color of the year. Color specialists spent days in meetings and clipping magazines, collaging between conference calls. Other companies follow similar patterns but almost always come to different choices for their Color of the Year, which is part of what makes the selection process so fascinating. 

What were the 2022 Colors of the Year?

In 2022, something funny happened with the Color of the Year (COTY) releases. If you happen to notice a lot of pale, earthy sage green appearing on your Pinterest and Instagram feeds, it's no accident. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Behr, all released soft green tones as their signature COTY — October Mist, Evergreen Fog, and Breezeway, respectively. The Washington Post predicts that the meditative zen shades of green will resonate with people in 2022 for a few reasons. As a result of the pandemic, conversations around mental health were put to the forefront of the cultural exchange. Meditation apps saw users skyrocket. And people found themselves pulled to the countryside for vacations and weekends away as cities stood still. 

In the Washington Post article, Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, reports that this unprecedented consensus speaks to the unique time we are living in. After an all-green 2022, plenty of folks are excited to see what the 2023 colors will bring. 

What colors do we know so far?

Two of the major paint companies have already released their colors of the year. Behr announced their 2023 Color of the Year (COTY) on September 15 — Blank Canvas DC-003. The name is almost poetic after more than two years of social and political upheaval. Blank Canvas is a refreshing, serene, and open color that can be adapted to many styles and rooms. Behr recommends pairing it with muted earth tones, like dusty taupe, grey pinks, and olive greens. 

Glidden, on the other hand, went for a stunning shade of teal — Vining Ivy PPG1148-6. This rich, soothing shade is more luxurious than the sage zen greens of 2022. Vining Ivy is well suited to hygge homes and more classic homes with a flair for gloomy Victorian style. Glidden has selected nearly identical complementary colors to Behr – plenty of modern, muted shades of classic earth tones. This means that while they chose very different COTYs, they had similar color stories emerge in their selection process. 

Predictions for 2023 COTYs

WGSN is a consumer trend forecasting agency that works to identify trends across many industries and popular cultures, like which cocktails will top bar menus or how to exploit the future of digital fashion, so while they don't work as a paint manufacturer, they do have a fascinating insight into color trends. WGSN paired with Coloro, a color ordering system (similar to Pantone), to identify their 2023 Color Of The Year — they arrived on a pale purple shade called Digital Lavender. This soothing shade can be found in a free-growing flower meadow and across digital spaces, which Coloro + WGSN explain is essential. 

The rest of their 2023 COTYs include a combination of calming pastels, like Tranquil Blue, and rich gem tones, like Verdigris, a lush teal blue, or Sundial, a turmeric orange-yellow. They remark that people will still be looking for a balance of natural, relaxing colors to project wellness and stability and hyper-pigmented shades that will invigorate the system as consumers try to find their footing after years of upheaval. 

One color to rule them all

While Sherwin-Williams, the number two best-selling paint and coatings brand of 2022, according to Paint & Coatings Industry, has yet to release its official 2023 Color Of The Year (COTY), it has released its Colormix Forecast, which the COTY will be selected from. The Colormix Forecast is a set of curated color palettes, usually sorted according to a broader theme for the year. This year, Sherwin-Williams released Terra, an earthy collection made of 4 smaller sub-groups: Biome, Lore, Nexus, and Origin. 

Biome includes SW's 2022 COTY Evergreen Fog SW 9130 and several other misty grey-hued greens and blues, as well as a rich cognac and dusty yellow shade. Lore offers punchier gem tones like a teal peacock blue and a vibrant orange. Nexus focuses on neutral clays, combining natural, powdery shades and '80s postmodern pastels. Finally, the Origin palette offers the most variation between colors. Blues, neutral whites and greys, and spicy red and yellow are an ideal palette for eclectic decorators who want their home to hold many colors. We can't wait to see which shade will become the Sherwin-Williams COTY. 

The color that's on its way out

There are some things that we are told will never go out of style, but this almost never holds true. Even aesthetics we hold dear can fall; for example, the timelessness of white kitchens is becoming less certain. And so it goes with color trends, too. Previously unthinkable, gray is becoming passé, according to Dave and Jenny Mars. The "Fixer to Fabulous" duo added that "warmer and charming" is the way to go. 

Many were drawn to gray as a neutral with more visual interest than white but less intensity than black. But the shade doesn't manage to fit in with either bold contemporary or organic naturalism designs, styles that are both majorly on trend in 2023. Now, gray reads as blandly industrial and even a bit corporate, something homeowners are trying to avoid while building their personal sanctuaries. Still, if you aren't completely ready to leave the hue behind, look for gray-hued shades of blue, pink, and purple.