2020 Color Trends

Sherwin-Williams explores what the next year—and next decade—will bring for color trends.

As we approach 2020, the design world is looking at what the next year, and decade, will bring in terms of colors and design trends. In its 2019 Designer Panel Survey, Sherwin-Williams checked in with more than 250 professional interior designers to gather their thoughts about what’s out, what’s in, and what’s next as we welcome the new year.

New Neutrals

The 2010s showed many neutral tones in color trends. When asked what they would consider “neutral,” designers chose traditional tones such as white, gray, and beige, but a few untraditional options are starting to surface as we approach a new decade of color exploration. For example, 66% of respondents agreed that black could be used as neutral, while 44% considered sage green, and 42% pointed out navy blue.

Regardless of how you classify it, 71% of designers reported that navy blue is a trending color most clients are willing to try. While the combination of black and white has always been popular, the next decade is going to take that trend to the next level. Adding a rich, deep navy such as Naval SW 6244 to the classic color scheme gives it a modern twist.

Notably, blush pink, long considered the newest neutral and a Millennial fan favorite, was considered to be a neutral by only 35% of designers.

Gen Z Comes of Age

The influence of Generation Z has impacted many aspects of life, from pop culture to media and also design. With Gen Z coming into adulthood during this new decade, their influence on design and the spaces around them will only continue to grow. Many designers are still unsure of this generation’s color preferences, but 26% of those surveyed said that Gen Z is most likely to incorporate yellow and orange hues into design.

On the other hand, older generations still lean toward more traditional neutral hues. For instance, whites and beiges were the most requested colors by generations older than Gen Z. For Millennials, bolder colors are nearly as popular. Twenty-nine percent of designers claimed Millennials were most likely to request neutrals, but 23% gave the top spot to blue/purple.

Beige is Back

Gray has reigned as one of the top shades and neutrals for the past decade.

“I think the 2010s will be known as the decade of gray. This cool neutral has been seen in every imaginable shade and application,” says Jean Stoffer of Jean Stoffer Design.

But while gray has made an impact as a top wall color of the past 10 years, a familiar shade is making its way back into favor—beige.

Designers say they expect beige and warmer neutrals to emerge as trends in 2020. Other trends include the use of deep, bold tones like navy and hunter green; using natural wood in furniture, décor, and cabinetry; and a movement toward more color in general.

“Gray is out, and brown base color is in. Bright, cheery colors are in, such as Marigold SW 6664. I think green will always be a classic color, as in Greens SW 6748. Green is neither warm nor cool on the color wheel, so it can even act as a neutral in some instances,” says Andrea Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors. “I also see bold and saturated colors ahead, such as rich maroons and reds like Cayenne SW 6881.”

Other trends designers indicated will be going away in 2020 include all-white/gray walls, farmhouse and shiplap accents, and accent walls.

Taking a risk

According to the general consumer, trending colors have their place. And the year ahead will bring inspiration for designers and their clients across different spaces. When asked where clients are likely to use trending colors, residential designers said that 33% of clients would experiment using trending colors in a bathroom or powder room, 17% in their living room, 15% in the bedroom, and finally 10% in dining rooms.

Trends are constantly changing, and no matter the preferences on color and styles, professionals can always expect changes ahead. As we look at the past and next decade, there is a new opportunity for designers and their clients to explore with hues and change the designs around us.