Designers often look to nature for inspiration and this year color experts and paint manufacturers have taken a similar approach. Both the Pantone Color Institute and Sherwin Williams chose deep shades of blue, associated with the sea and sky, for their 2020 color of the year designations.
Classic Blue: Pantone 2020 Color of the Year
The color of the year is often inspired by current events in society, cultural trends, and even world events. Pantone describes this year’s pick as, “a timeless and enduring blue, suggestive of the sky at dusk.”
According to Anna Fixen a writer for Architectural Digest, “Pantone’s insights are perfectly aligned with interior design’s gradual return to traditional decorating styles.”
And as Cady Lang, with Time magazine points out, its indigo shade can be achieved naturally from plants and dyes, making it a color that aligns well with the current sustainability movement.
Naval: Sherwin Williams 2020 Color of the Year
Apparently thinking along the same lines, Sherwin Williams went with a rich navy for its 2020 pick. As the company puts it, “naval creates a calm and grounding environment infused with quiet confidence.” A quintessentially classic color, navy blue dates back to 1748, when it got its name from the color worn by officers in the British Royal Navy. The resulting association with all things noble and nautical continues today. Valued for its timeless appeal, naval represents a new era for navy blue.
According to Real Simple magazine, if you’re tired of all-white spaces, or even spaces that just feel a little too washed-out, Naval is the new neutral to try. Deep blues like naval can be blended into any design style when combined with the right furniture, lighting and decorative elements.
Similarly, another paint manufacturer, PPG, chose a rich shade of blue, “Chinese Porcelain” as its 2020 color. It’s described as a blend of cobalt and moody ink blue that embodies tranquility and calmness, while also reflecting serenity and hopefulness.
“Consumers are tiring of stark grays and are looking to infuse colors that delight the senses,” says Dee Schlotter, senior color manager for PPG. “Blue is the easiest possible entry point from the world of neutrals to the world of color.”
Background on Blue
One of the primary colors along with red and yellow, blue is prevalent in art, fashion and design examples throughout history. Blue is typically considered a calming color, strongly associated with tranquility, which is why it is often selected for bedrooms, bathrooms, spas or waiting rooms and not so frequently in restaurants where colors like yellow or red are believed to help stimulate appetites. Some sources even go so far as to say that blue can help with weight loss when used in kitchen paint, furniture or dishes. However, blue and white or yellow have long been a staple in French-influenced kitchens.
In public opinion polls conducted in the United States and Europe, blue is the most popular color, chosen by almost half of both men and women as their favorite. The same surveys also indicated that blue was the color most associated with intelligence, knowledge, calm and concentration.
Deep Blue Interior Design Trends
Rich, dark blues are an appealing and timeless choice to introduce into interior spaces. These tones are naturally pleasing and easy to use due to their versatility—blending well with many other colors. When seeking an alternative for unassuming neutrals like gray or beige, blue is a natural transition into brighter, bolder pops of color.
Classic blue works well for a statement piece of furniture or an eye-catching accent wall. Deep blues were the popular new neutral our team observed at this past year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), with both accent pieces and complete casework options, particularly classic blue and white combinations.
However, there is no need to limit design pairings to blue and white. A variety of colors complement blue—everything from tans and rich chocolate tones to shades of yellow and orange. With bolder colors, a good rule of thumb is to pair warm tones of those colors with warmer blues and cool tones with cooler blues. Deeps blues also work well with rich wood shades such as mahogany, cherry, dark walnut or oak, team and chestnut. And for those who like to add some bling, blue works well with silver or gold metallic, often found in Art Deco style.
Our interior design team appreciates the current trend towards deep blues and navy tones for the sense of drama and impact they can provide. While these blues often function as a neutral if you are not sure you want to fully commit, accent pieces such as pillows, rugs or decorative items are another open for taking advantage of the calm serenity blue provides.
Jessica Jack, IIDA, LEED AP
Blue is the new black, it is my go to color that I find myself returning to in some form on almost every project. It is neutral and classic lending a timelessness to a project that is not achievable with all colors. I lean towards lighter blues for a pop of fun and shades of navy to ground a design and inevitability layer blues one on top of another to create warmth.
If you see a collection of blue samples in the office, they are probably mine!
Deb Kimmet, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C
I often select blue for our projects because it’s a color found in nature, which tends to give it a timeless quality. It’s a calming color, that both men and women find attractive. Plus you can find a shade of it to coordinate with most any other color.
On a recent vacation, I was actually thinking about the color blue and all of its beautiful variations.
Blog Editor: Jodi Kreider, LEED AP
Other ideas for embracing bold and beautiful blues:
Conde Naste Traveler shares photos from places where you can find Classic Blue around the globe.
This slideshow by Vogue shares ideas for adding Pantone’s color of the year to your home.
Architectural Digest features spaces using Sherwin Williams’ color of the year.
As professional members of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the RLPS Interiors team regularly researches new products, evolving code requirements and industry trends. We take many of our design cues from hospitality venues, the best of which set the standards for brand identity, distinctive style and positive user experiences.
According to its website, BDNY is the creative nexus of the industry—bringing 8,000+ designers, architects, purchasing agents, hoteliers, owners and developers together with 750+ inventive manufacturers of design elements for hospitality interiors. This year several members of our team had the opportunity to attend the event and participate in site tours, product exhibitions and continuing education seminars.
Over time, buildings wear out, consumer expectations change and attitudes adjust. Reinvention is an ongoing and essential process of evolving and adapting to changing trends, commercial design standards and consumer priorities. Reinvention provides an exciting opportunity for good stewardship and long-term viability, while breathing new life into existing spaces.
Recently during focus groups at a senior living community, we were somewhat surprised when an elderly woman living in personal care pulled us aside to share her desire to have a designated space for happy hour so she could enjoy a drink before dinner. In retrospect, it probably should not have come as a surprise that someone would simply want to continue a cherished tradition she had enjoyed throughout her adult life. While health issues or medications can be an issue for some older adults, many are increasingly expecting appealing bar options in senior living. This upward trajectory is expected to continue as the Baby Boomers reach typical move-in ages. A growing number of active adult and senior living communities are introducing sleek bars, cozy pubs or flexible lounge spaces to respond to the demand. Some communities are also incorporating specialty coffee and tea selections into their bars to provide something for everyone.
As the lines have blurred between work and home, interior designers have helped employers create more varied, flexible settings that feel less like a formal institution and more like a comfortable home-away-from-home. Resimercial design, creating workspaces that feel more homelike than corporate, is a fairly recent trend that has grown in popularity. According to Wayfair, the style became a “legitimate design movement,” at the 2017 NeoCon conference, a major annual event for the commercial design industry. To explore this new style, we’ve asked a few of our interior designers to share their thoughts about the resimercial design trend.
When we think about interior design, we tend to focus on the visual aspects. Magazines, home improvement shows and retailers highlight “wow” spaces, focusing on the final touches and products deemed essential for beautiful results. Other aspects such as functionality, comfort, ergonomics, health or safety, are often an afterthought, if we consider them at all.
Island workstations, smart appliances, accessible cabinets, touch faucets, lighting innovations—the list goes on and on for what’s new in kitchen design! Eric McRoberts and Jessica Jack attended this year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to see the latest innovations and products that manufacturers are featuring, especially since their top picks are typically based on consumer demands, color trends and emerging technologies. The following are a few of our favorite concepts which can be applied to kitchens of any size.
According to Wikipedia, the chair has been used since antiquity, although for many centuries it was a symbolic article of state and dignity rather than a functional item for ordinary use. Once chairs emerged beyond privileged status, they became ubiquitous in many cultures leading up to today where chairs are an integral furnishing selection for homes, offices, schools, restaurants, meeting spaces, theaters, and numerous other settings. Design considerations include durability, ergonomics, functional features (e.g. stackable or folding, task specific heights or styles, etc.), maintenance and, of course, design style.
Tiny living is having its day, with more people than ever taking on the challenge of living small or at least paring back to focus on the essentials. By now most of us are at least somewhat familiar with Marie Kondo’s recommendations for getting rid of items that no longer “spark joy.” Even thrift stores are feeling the effects of her books and Netflix series with donations trending up from previous years.
Record-breaking lows, wind chills, snowstorms and precipitation mixes can make the winter months seem long in much of the United States. Even places like Phoenix, Arizona and Southern California have recently experienced unusual snowfalls. As many of us are already looking forward to the arrival of spring in the next month or two, there are a number of ways to brighten interior spaces during the remaining cold and dark days of winter.