11 Best Interior Paint Colors in 2021
If you're looking to switch up your interior color palette, here are the hottest colors to consider this year, and how to use them.
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Even though no color or paint company declared it their color of 2021, it’s clear that the people want green, green, green.
JG Color Studios owner, interior designer and color expert Jennifer Guerin says Brazilian Rainforest by Benjamin Moore made her list. “It is highly chromatic without being over the top,” she says. “This deep green reflects the hue we find in plants, yet brings out an elegance, and says I’m not afraid of you, color.”
She envisions this as a touch of unexpected green on a credenza, dresser or even a kitchen island, and especially loves it on lower cabinets in a kitchen or a vanity.
Not sure you’re ready to dive into this jungle-jewel vibrance? CertaPro Painters of the South Shore owner Paige NeJame says to consider a shot of acidic green paint such as Farrow & Ball’s Churlish Green in a powder room or on the front door.
Deep blues are going to be key in 2021, according to Alexa Backal, Casai’s head of design. “Blue has a calming effect and is a great option for spaces such as living rooms and bedrooms, where we seek quiet and peaceful relaxation after a long day,” she says.
Besides being sophisticated and universally popular, navy contrasts well against neutral furniture and low- to mid-wood tones. Backal’s picks? Behr’s Nocturne Blue or Very Navy, or Sherwin-Williams Naval.
Guerin adds Midnight Haze from Dunn Edwards to the list. “This isn’t any boring shade of blue,” she says. “The complexity of a little bit of blue, a touch of green and a hint of lamp black create the perfect deep haze to don any cabinet or accentuate any moody space.”
Don’t overlook rust such as Tandoori by Benjamin Moore, says MC Design founder Megan Dufresne. An updated take on the popular terracotta, Dufresne says it’s a more vibrant tone that can add texture to a room.
“I have used it on furniture to add pops of color in my design,” she says. “This gender-neutral tone is a fun addition to kids’ rooms, but can be used on dressers, mirrors and other furniture in any room in the home.”
People are still thinking pink, but dialing back the saturation or vibrancy. Guerin says her pick would be First Light from Benjamin Moore.
“It’s an incredible color to paint your office or a home distance learning room,” she says. “The light pink hue has an extremely flattering glow — perfect for Zoom meetings — plus provides calming vibes to stay focused for long periods of time.”
For a pink-toned neutral, Dufresne says she would choose Champagne Glee from Valspar.
“This slightly pink color is a happy medium between the old trend of light, airy tones and the new trend of vibrant, warm colors,” she says. “It acts as a neutral which makes it the perfect color to build your design around or incorporate into the design you already have.
“Use it sparingly on furniture pieces or as the wall color for your living room. You cannot go wrong with this calming color, whether going bold or playing it safe — it just works!”
Deep purple is making a comeback, NeJame says. “I have seen these deep purples lately for powder rooms and dining rooms where the client — usually with an open floor plan — wants a pop of color,” she says. For inspiration, start with her pick: Sherwin-Williams Mature Grape.
This isn’t the deep merlot of living and dining rooms at the turn of the millennium. It’s earthier, as most picks are in 2021. This year’s turn toward earthier colors of all types also applies to reds. Interior designer and color specialist Philippa Radon loves C2’s Fandango.
“This color is connected to the Root Chakra, and is infused with positive motivating energy, which we all need right now,” she says. She loves it because it is “vibrant enough to revitalize us into conscious, mindful motion but also has a solid, grounding effect.” It’s also more versatile than you might expect.
“It is embracing and inviting, creating a focal point to draw your immediate attention,” Radon says. “It’s a great color for an office environment for those looking for stronger productivity and focus, as a prized statement furniture piece needing to dominate a space, as an accent wall with crisp white trim or for a front door that will always welcome you home.”
Can’t decide between blue or green? Good news: Teal is back. COAT Paints founder and color expert Rob Abrahams says half of COAT’s top sellers this year are on the dark blue-green spectrum.
“Dark teal is dramatic and stately like the more traditional blue and green shades, but it feels more current and mesmerizing,” he says. “Depending on light, it can skew from a tropical green-y shade to a deep-sea blue, which makes it a complex color that can work anywhere from big Victorian living rooms to modern bedrooms.”
His favorite spot? Hallways, where the height can really create drama. He recommends COAT’s The Drink.
One of Pantone’s two colors of the year was Illuminating, a bright, cheerful yellow. Paired with gray, Illuminating can feel hopeful and bright, so don’t be surprised to see yellow show up in lots of interior color palettes.
Not ready for Illuminating’s level of intensity? Interior Elements and Design, LLC’s Brenda Anderson says to consider bits of soft buttery yellow such as Sherwin-Williams Captivating Cream wherever you need a little light.
Sherwin-Williams’ color of the year is Urbane Bronze, and interior designers like Welsh Design Studio owner Melissa Welsh are raving about it. She describes the earthy, grounding brown-black as a “dark, rich paint color that is a great alternative to black or charcoal. It has a warmth to it that creates a softer, more luxurious look.” She would use Urbane Bronze on accent walls, cabinets or a front door.
Surprise! While the all-white, all-the-time trend may be waning, some people are looking to declutter their spaces as they continue to work or attend school at home. Brenda Anderson of Interior Elements and Design, LLC says more than 80 percent of clients want to go lighter and brighter.
“After the tumultuous past year, clients seem to be yearning for a brighter future,” she says. “We are seeing this play out with replacing gray walls with white walls, such as Sherwin-Williams Marshmallow. It sets the stage for colorful art to be more impactful.”
Welsh suggests Shoji White SW 7042 from Sherwin-Williams, a warm white with gray undertones that will stand out against trim but also brighten your space. “Shoji White is perfect for anyone who has been considering trendy white walls, but is looking for something a bit softer and more cozy,” she says.
“Soft orange hues made a huge comeback this last year, and I am in love with the romantic, earthy side this historical yet modern twist of terracotta brings to the surface,” says Guerin. Her pick: Full Gloss Loggia 232 by Farrow & Ball. And a little goes a long way.
“Bedrooms shine with an accent wall in this color,” she says. “Or bring on your appetite, placing this in your dining room, or for a little softness in your office.”
For areas where you really want to punch up the color, or inspire hope and optimism, Anderson suggests a brighter orange paint like Sherwin-Williams Knockout Orange. “You’ll have a happy camper in no time,” she says.