Home improvement blends with self-improvement

Colours of the Year empower homeowners amid pandemic

Mindfulness. Wellbeing. Reflect. Reset. Self-care. Comfort. Relaxation. Familiar. Soothing. Those words might sound like they’ve been pulled from the pages of self-help books but they’re among the descriptors paint manufacturers have used to unveil their 2021 Colours of the Year (COTY).


“How many ways can you say ‘comfort’ and ‘cozy’? Warm, relaxing colours are definitely trending,” says colour guru Jane Lockhart, principal designer of the Toronto firm she founded in 1997. “These palettes feel very familiar – like we’ve seen them before. Beige is very notable and there are fewer grey options. Blues and greens are strong options, as they’re perceived to be easy to live with, plus they blend well with all metal colours – cool or warm.”

Benjamin Moore’s COTY 2021 is Aegean Teal (2136-40). The “intriguing blue-green that creates natural harmony and invites us to reflect and reset” joins 11 other colours that comprise its 2021 colour trends palette, which includes buttery yellows, creamy off-whites and deep earthy hues.

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“Amid uncertainty, people yearn for stability,” says Andrea Magno, the paint giant’s director of colour marketing and development. “The colours we surround ourselves with can have a powerful impact on our emotions and wellbeing.”

The Sico paint brand by PPG, meanwhile, has also taken a cue from nature with Blue-winged Warbler (6160-52). Named after the North American songbird, its complex combination of blue and green creates a jade aqua tone that the manufacturer says represents a breath of fresh air and a welcomed remedy after nearly a decade of smoky greys.

“While much of the world continues to shelter in place, consumers have turned to nature to receive the comfort and relaxation that they have been longing for after months of feeling unsettled,” says senior marketing manager Martin Tustin-Fuchs. “This fresh aqua colour instills a feeling of positivity, transforming a space into a serene retreat from the world outside our doors.”

Sherwin-Williams’ COTY is Urbane Bronze (SW 7048), a warm, sophisticated bronze that has nostalgic ties to the ‘70s and ‘90s but with grey undertones that give it a decidedly modern twist. “Urbane Bronze encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal,” says director of colour marketing Sue Wadden.

Instead of announcing a single shade for its COTY, Valspar named 12 cozy muted colours as its top picks for 2021. “Since a physical space can directly impact your mindset, this year’s colours have been selected to bring a sense of wellbeing to your walls, ultimately blending home improvement with self-improvement,” it says of a palette that includes Blissful Blue (4005-3C), a muted indigo that taps into the organic tones of a morning mist.

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Behr’s Colour Trends 2021 Palette features 21 ‘optimistic’ hues it describes as ‘elevated comfort.’ “When our colour team began exploring a palette for the coming year, we knew it needed to be grounded in what we’ve been craving: comfort and personalization,” says vice president of colour Erika Woelfel.

Dulux Paints by PPG unveiled a ‘Be Well’ 2021 Palette of the Year starring three hues: Transcend (DLX1079-4), a mid-tone sandy brown; Big Cypress (DLX1062-5), a shaded ginger with persimmon undertones; and Misty Aqua (DLX1147-3), a watercolour cerulean blue.

“Even before the pandemic hit, Canadians were longing for more simplicity and restfulness in their lives after decades of overstimulation and overconsumption,” says marketing manager Mitsu Dhawan.

“The coronavirus strengthened consumers’ cravings for a slowed-down lifestyle, where human connection and mental and physical well-being are priorities. Our 2021 colour palette is like a big hug for the home.”

After creating a PowerPoint presentation to better navigate colour trends, Lockhart reached a couple of conclusions. “Teal blue, like Blue-winged Warbler from Sico and Aegean Teal from Benjamin Moore, stands out as the most popular colour,” she says.

“There are a lot of pastels forecasted for 2021, too. They’re easy to work with and tend to play well with other colours. Sherwin-Williams’ COTY Urbane Bronze is a good option that’s completely different from the others. It’s a great grounding colour – not harsh as black and a good base to put pastels against.”

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Colours of the Year 2021

Here’s a roundup of Colours of the Year (COTY) 2021 by major paint manufacturers, along with a glimpse into the themes that guided their selections:

Company: Behr

COTY: Its 21 hues are grouped in six colour themes, including Casual Comfort, Optimistic View and Quiet Haven.

Theme: Colour ensures living and workspaces feel pleasant, light and productive.

Company: Benjamin Moore

COTY: Aegean Teal (2136-40)

Theme: Nourish the spirit with comforting, sunbaked hues.

Company: Dulux by PPG

COTY: Transcend (DLX1079-4), Big Cypress (DLX1062-5) and Misty Aqua (DLX1147-3)
Theme: Nostalgic neutrals make a comeback amid uncertain times.

Company: Sherwin-Williams

COTY: Urbane Bronze (SW 7048)

Theme: A colour rooted in nature creates a feeling of calm and stability.

Company: Sico by PPG

COTY: Blue-winged Warbler (6160-52)

Theme: An increasing need for self-care, comfort and relaxation.

Company: Valspar from Sherwin-Williams

COTY: Its 12 colours include Blissful Blue (4005-3C)

Theme: Create spaces that evoke calm, serenity and simplicity.

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