How do you shop for paint colors? Like most, you probably visit your nearest hardware store and stand in front of what feels like thousands of tiny paint swatches, trying not to have an anxiety attack from decision paralysis. You may even have already picked a few frontrunners based on color-of-the-year reports. In the end, you bring a few samples home and dutifully paint one-foot squares on your wall to get a better sense of how your preferred colors will look on your walls and fit with the rest of your décor. Then it’s back to the store to make your final decision and purchase all your supplies.
In an era when we order everything online, from socks to sofas, this process can feel entirely frustrating or downright archaic. For decades, the paint industry had remained rather static, but startups like Backdrop, Clare, and Jolie Home are challenging the status quo. Once again, millennials are revolutionizing an industry that was in dire need of change. So what does this mean for your walls? For one, paint startups are embracing a less-is-more mentality. Rather than the typical 3000-plus color swatches available from traditional paint brands, these direct-to-consumer companies are curating palettes of 40 to 60 colors, which is plenty when you consider how many walls you have at home.
But these paint startups are also shaking the concept of trends to its very core: “At Clare, we believe in timeless colors over trends,” says Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare. “I think it’s more important for design to be timeless and expressive of your personal style and the vibe you want to create in your home, which is very personal and subjective. In terms of what we’re seeing from our customers, more people seem to be comfortable taking bolder risks with color.” Naturally, this didn’t stop us from asking the founders of these innovative companies for their two cents on the next big paint colors to come in 2019. Informed by real-time data from their customers, here’s what they’re predicting.
Deep Blue Sea
Are you adventurous with color? You’re in for a treat in 2019—muted jewel tones are at the forefront of trend forecasting. “A deep, moody green is one of our best sellers,” says Gibbons, founder of Clare. One of the hero colors that’s making waves: deep blue-green.
“I love colors that evolve and have depth,” says Natalie Ebel, cofounder of Backdrop. “Surf Camp is a deep blue with green undertones and can look quite different depending on your space and light. It puts you in a natural element.”
There’s no denying that white interiors have dominated decorating trends for the past few years. But even neutral spaces are seeing a shift away from bright and airy moods in favor of more high-contrast and dramatic tones. “We’re seeing people using a lot of black, particularly in bathrooms,” says Gibbons. “It’s an edgy choice, and I think we’ll continue seeing this bolder color preference heading into 2019.”
I think we can all collectively agree: Millennial pink is out. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon pink altogether as a paint color in 2019. “Everyone has loved a good pink in recent years, and I do not see this trend leaving any time soon,” says Lisa Rickert, CEO and creative director of Jolie Home. “However, pink has matured into a far more sophisticated version of its former self. We will continue to see an emergence of dusty hues that take on more earthly brown undertones. People are looking for calming colors and strive to feel grounded in this fast-paced world.”
I know what you’re thinking: “Boring!” Yes, gray paint is old news in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a worthwhile neutral nonetheless, and it’s taking an (albeit subtle) shift for the better: “People have become bored with the cool greys that swept through interior design years ago,” explains Rickert. “It’s time to warm things up, and I expect greige to make a huge resurgence. This color can be dressed up or down and is a comfortable choice for those who prefer neutrals and transitional colors.”
In other words, there’s a reason gray paint keeps trending: Not everyone is game to paint their living room bright yellow. Warmer gray hues will be a top paint color in 2019 as they’ll pair perfectly with other trending colors like warm dusty pinks and rusty clay tones: “Neutrals are always in, year after year,” says Ebel. “Our Morning Ritual paint color is a gray-beige with warm undertones, a neutral backdrop but with enough nuance to make it interesting.”
With interiors taking a more classic “maximalist” turn in 2019, we’ll be seeing a resurgence in traditional colors like muted olive greens and stately French blues. Greenery might have been Pantone’s color of the year in 2018, but green hues will be taking on a more muted and organic shift next year.
“In 2019, I expect to see even more emphasis on all things natural,” adds Rickert. “There are movements around to world to help reduce waste. People crave environments that bring in greenery. Soft muted greens work well with all other colors—especially the earthy pinks and warm grays that will also take a stronghold in interior design and fashion.”
Naturally, white paint will continue to thrive in 2019—an ongoing trend that’s more guided by timelessness than flash-in-the-pan crazes. “Whites are always timeless and popular,” says Gibbons. “Whipped is our best-selling color and most popular white—it’s a dreamy, warm white with a soft, delicate feel, and I’m sure it will continue to be a color everyone loves.” White hues in 2019 will take a softer turn away from the stark “Decorator’s White” that’s been the number one paint color choice in past years.
Yellow has never been an easy color to pull off, but designers are increasingly warming up to it. “Dark yellow can be strong and assertive statements in a space,” says Ebel of Backdrop’s deep Tanlines hue. “I value a strong point of view.” Much like the other color predictions for 2019, this yellow hue is deeper, darker, and more muted—a trend that makes it easier to approach bolder colors as neutrals.