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Spin the Color Wheel: 2015's Paint Trends Offer More Than Palatable Palettes to Play With

Mar 09, 2015 04:42PM ● By James Houck
By James Houck

It has happened dozens, nay hundreds, of times in a given year. And it often happens year after year, until you actually do something about it. That it is actually a moment of pondering “What if?” You walk into your kitchen…or bathroom, or bedroom, maybe even the basement, and think, “What if I painted the walls [insert color on your mind here]?”

For property owners, their canvases are the walls inside and out of their homes. Their palettes are often the home improvement and paint stores. And if you think you’re taking paint color seriously—it is a big decision isn’t it?—then think again. Behind every color you cue up with the paint “mixologist” at the local store, there was a roomful of minds at work developing its exact shade, name, and presentation. When you thumb through hundreds of paint swatches, you’re thumbing through carefully crafted trends that have been developed by color analysts, forecasters, and paint companies the world over. To them, color is a science and 2015 is an experiment in connecting color to your soul.
One national paint brand describes the process of developing its 2015 color and design trends thusly: “More than 20 color stylists from six countries converged in San Francisco sharing our research, insights, and knowledge to develop the color forecast for 2015. A single overarching idea became evident to set the tone for the year ahead. The forecast for 2015 is Possibility.”
But what does Possibility really imply? Certainly, you can paint your room any color you like; anything is possible. “Possibility” is a marketing theme to promote dozens of new colors with intriguing names that are then grouped together into subset palettes of color. The colors within each palette are intended to complement one another, to be used creatively for interior design. And they are your color trends.
If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. But you’re also probably not a professional interior designer. Designers get it. Paint companies get it. And you should too. Mixing and matching paint colors for the home is a project to be sure, but it’s also a creative outlet; an opportunity to showcase your personality and express yourself. And that’s what paint manufacturers are trying to capture and market to the end consumer each year when they release their color trends.
Possibility, for example, has four groupings of color trends: Good Life, a palette of “earthy naturals, like soil- and rust-colored browns, quiet whites, and softened, clay-colored pinks”; Impulse, “a mix of urban neutrals, like grays and whites, with single bright colors that seem to glow from within”; Co-leidoscope, “featuring our color of the year, Blue Paisley, paired with faded mid-tones inspired by the time-worn hues from once-brightly colored mosaics:”; and IntroSense, “a nuanced neutral with a subtle hint of blue-green paired with muffled off-whites and grays, and then anchored by a silent black.”

You read that “Blue Paisley” is the color of the year…for that company. Each paint manufacturer has its own ideas about what colors are trending and designate their own “color of the year.” Another popular paint brand has chosen “Coral Reef” as its favorite for 2015. Yet another has landed on “Guilford Green.” The entire color wheel seems to get it’s due each year. So it’s quite easy for any homeowner to be on trend.
But if there ever was a defacto color expert, it’s often considered Pantone to fill the role. Founded in 1962 and now servicing seemingly every industry with its color Pantone Matching System and Pantone Color Institute, Pantone continues to steer color trends, most noticeably in publishing/printing, but also textiles, fashion, home furnishings, and paint. And the selection of its color of the year is always a big affair with twice annual meetings taking place in European cities. Various nations’ color experts debate and ultimately select the color to present to the world. This is not unlike the election of the Pope by the Papal Conclave in Rome. For 2015, Pantone chose “Marsala,” which in the company’s words is a “naturally robust and earthy wine red, [that] enriches our minds, bodies, and souls.”

Does Marsala speak to you? Maybe you’re more of a Blue Paisley type. No matter which colors you’re leaning toward when choosing the hues for your home, know this; there’s a color for every soul. Anything is possible. This spring, turn your “What if?” moment into a wow-factor paint project.