2023 Colors of the YearKristin Crane
It’s time to round up the 2023 Colors of the Year. This year we’re looking at the major paint companies and, of course, Pantone. Why see them all in one place? As we move from one year into the next, color trends tell us a lot about the mood of a particular moment, like a snapshot. Color helps us express what we’re going through and how we feel about the future. What are we hopeful for or sensitive to? What do we need? Seeing the 2023 Colors of the Year together paints a picture of this particular moment in time.
Researching each color and learning about the inspiration behind each pick, we saw five significant themes emerge. Looking at these themes without factoring in the past few years we’ve lived through is impossible. Early in the pandemic, we were all forced to be quiet. Many of us looked inward and reflected on our lives. As we’ve emerged, those revelations have shaped how we want our lives to look in this new environment. Now, people are adapting these revelations into their lives, fashion, and homes. And they’re doing so with joy, confidence, and a renewed sense of self.
5 Major Themes for 2023
Nature and biophilic design have been a trend everywhere this past year, including restaurants, hotels, and healthcare. People have spent more time in nature these past few years and have thought about their relationships with nature and the planet. Many of the choices for paint color have reflected this by choosing colors that help bring the outdoors in and make us feel more connected to nature.
You can barely scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing at least one post about self-care, no matter the industry. While this phrase used to be reserved for spa days and brunch dates, it has taken on new meaning. Self-care means making changes to live a healthier and happier life, with care for ourselves and our communities a top priority. It means stepping off the treadmill and finding your unique expression of joy, peace, and satisfaction.
Many of us came out of the pandemic very much changed. Whether this is from losing a loved one, a job, or simply reassessing life, people are looking to restore a sense of normality. There is a nostalgia for what is missed that can be included while updating for an exciting new future.
Restoration goes hand and hand with rejuvenation. There is excitement in change. As everyone gets back out into the world, they are doing it with optimism, fun, and confidence. Additionally, people feel they can be more assertive about making meaningful changes, even if those changes seem unconventional.
These themes have something in common, the need to feel grounded. A few years of living in a constant state of uncertainty has highlighted the need for people to have a genuinely grounded and safe space. Rich neutrals that speak to the natural world are perfect for helping people feel a sense of ease and security, whether at home, in a waiting room, or dining out.
2023 Colors of the Year
Since 1999, Pantone has always made a big splash with its selection of Color of the Year. This year, they chose Viva Magenta, “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.” As people’s perspectives have changed, Pantone sees them looking for a playful, confident color that energizes a room with vibrancy. Viva Magenta shows a new pathway forward that can be embraced fearlessly with confidence and energy. This shade of magenta is also rooted in nature, inspired by the natural dye cochineal.
Behr was minimalist in their choice and chose Blank Canvas as their color for 2023. With this choice, they invite people to find their center and create a welcoming atmosphere to serve as a backdrop to highlight a wide range of hues or mix of neutrals.
Benjamin Moore’s website describes their pick as, “A vivacious shade of coral tinged with pink, Raspberry Blush enlivens the senses with an electric optimism.” They continue, “This unapologetic shade of red orange had us thinking: bold, bolder, boldest. Upbeat and optimistic. Positivity and enjoyment.”
Dunn-Edwards described Terra Rosa as “a deep, rosy pink hue with a touch of terra-cotta influence that exudes confidence, creativity and coziness. Reflecting just the right amount of introspection, this high chroma cinnamon rose hue is strong, yet approachable, and acts as a refreshing neutral update to browns and burgundies. It highlights living a life filled with joy and finding the beauty in everyday small pleasures. The grounding quiet comfort of Terra Rosa provides a touch of prettiness with the influence of pink, yet still can create drama with its deep value.”
The Dutch Boy website describes their pick, Rustic Greige, as “a versatile neutral that brings harmony and contentment home.” This neutral can be plush, wistful, or botanic, depending on the palette it is used with.
Krylon sees people finding comfort and reassurance in colors found in nature. Their pick of Spanish Moss combines a sense of renewal with a touch of elegance. Senior Color Designer Ashley Banbury describes, “This midnight green has a strong connection with the richness of nature, dense forests, and mossy terrains. Rooted in the renewing power of green, it can balance with both warm and cool accents.”
Vining Ivy is a “deep, shaded, Caribbean aqua with a turquoise undertone.” PPG sees this as a grounding and refreshing color that reflects what matters most to us, our relationship with the planet and each other. This color helps bring the outdoors in.
Redend Point is a blush-beige that mixes whimsical pinks with grounding earth tones. “People have been drawn to nature-inspired and earthy tones the past couple years, and this is something that will continue into 2023 and beyond,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Greens, blues, and browns can make any space feel safe, calming, and grounded yet still energized.”
And we can’t help ourselves, we had to add one more to the 2023 Colors of the Year. The Design Pool pick is always done with commercial interiors in mind and reflects what we feel as the year winds down. Our pick for 2023 is Olive Tree Brown (Hex #4b4443).
Do you like to pick a Color of the Year?
Looking back, did the picks from 2022 feel right for the year? Let us know what your pick for 2023 is or which of the above 2023 Colors of the Year speaks to your outlook for the year ahead.