03 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Colors (Guest Post by Sherwin-Williams)

Happy New Year, everyone! What are you looking forward to in 2012? I enjoy musing about the year ahead vis-a-vis home design trends at this time of year. So, in that spirit, this month's Gold Notes posts will all focus on 2012 forecasts, and feature industry guests in their areas of specialization.

I called on paint maker Sherwin-Williams for color trends to kick us off, since they have such a large market footprint. Jackie Jordan, S-W's director of color marketing shared these insights on colors you might want to paint your interiors this year, and I've added my own pairing notes to the S-W color swatches from their 2012 Color Forecast...


The Sherwin-Williams color forecast proves a color palette doesn’t need to stray far from its roots to make a big design impact. In 2012, pairing colors within the same color family will be a dominant trend. Whether it’s different shades of red or varying hues of blue, kitchens and baths will display an array of combinations within color families to give a room a fresh look this year.

Forget the expected tone-on-tone pairings. At Sherwin-Williams, we drew inspiration from fashion-forward color-washing and ombré dyeing techniques to experiment with color values and hues within color families to create four vibrant palettes. The colors also embrace the sustainable landscape ― which has become an enduring influence on all aspects of décor and design.

We suggest honing in on one color you love and the ideal, natural complement will be nearby. For example, Sherwin-Williams Upward (SW 6239) is a perfect shade for a bathroom to create a calm, tranquil environment. To add a punch of color with your bathroom linens, Naval (SW 6244) is still within the same color family but is a bolder color to create some contrast and
interest to the room.

Upward and Naval combine beautifully

The 40 hues highlighted in Sherwin-Williams Colormix 2012 stay close to home with earth-inspired, color family groupings: Reds, Blues, Greens and Neutrals.

Brightly Burning Reds

Red will have a renewed dominance in 2012, and the old rules about not being allowed to mix reds with purples or oranges no longer apply.

Red is the color of love, fire and the earth’s molten core, and it stirs raw emotions ranging from the deepest passion to the softest femininity. The broad spectrum included of reds in our 2012 color forecast range from deep gradations of fuchsias to red-oranges, violets to delicate pinks. These colors work together to create a harmonious flow of passionate boldness, and allow you to make a statement with your kitchen or bath color choice.

Forecast Color Red Bay for your kitchen, dining room or office?
Pairs beautifully with blond woods and black furniture
(SW 6321)

Blues Not Washed Out

This soothing palette celebrates a pair of functional and treasured blues: denim and water. It explores the darkest indigo to faded-jeans hues, some with violet undertones, as well as the calm, shimmery shades that reflect rivers, lakes and seas.

As we seek economic blue skies, we’re rediscovering denim, the rugged fabric of the American worker. Clean water is another essential commodity, from oceans to tap. Our serene blue palette pays homage to both of these treasured resources.

Forecast Color Lupine for your living areas?
Pairs beautifully with crisp white and warm, ash-toned woods

Greens Firmly Planted

Casting aside the more innocent yellow-tinged greens of the past, this eclectic palette focuses on greens that are lush, moody and complex. It showcases the depths of the sea and forest; leafy motifs; rustic natural textures; and organic elements such as algae, moss and seaweed.

We’re serious about going green, and our green palette honors our sustainable lifestyle. This trend is observed everywhere, even in dense urban areas, where rooftop and kitchen gardens flourish.

Forecast Color Kendal Green for your powder room or master suite?
Pairs beautifully with walnut and peppercorn finishes

Neutrals Provide Balance

Raw materials continue to influence color trends, especially the more subtle hues. Picture a field of grain, pile of pebbles, weathered wood and earthen clay. Gold tones embody the sun and soft metallics — and warm up this understated yet refined palette. Textural elements, such as linen, unfired porcelain and mixed woods, provide subtle tonal variations.

Steely grays have given way to our neutral palette of warmer gray and natural tones that create a balanced look.

Forecast Color Bosc Pair for hallways and stair cases?
Pairs well with crisp white paint and black accents

For more information about the Sherwin-Williams 2012 Color Forecast and to see how these 40 colors coexist, please visit the S-W Color Explorations Page.

You can also visit Houzz, starting at the end of this week, to see the 2012 Color Trends Ideabooks I put together from Sherwin-Williams, Pantone, Behr, Benjamin-Moore and Yolo forecasts for tips on incorporating Reds, Blues, Oranges, Purple and Greens in your kitchen and bath.


  1. Nice! Really cool stuff and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thanks for your kind words! I've already painted my office red! The blue bedroom will probably be next!

  3. I'm seeing a surge of blues for sure- I think the rush of blue in the fall fashion world sent a jolt through the furnishings market. AND I love the "not washed out" blues.

    Great post, Jackie- Thanks for sharing, Jamie!

  4. Glad you liked it, Nick. I'll be painting my living and dining room a not washed out blue this season.

  5. I always liked red but have been hesitant to paint the walls with it as I thought it would be too much. Perhaps give it a try as a bathroom color.

  6. If you're going to paint a bathroom red, Michele, go for your powder room, not your master suite. Red is stimulating and dramatic, not for a restful retreat.

  7. I love blue so I'm also considering changing the color of our study room to blue

  8. I love blue, too. Thanks for sharing, Ruby.


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