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Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams would like us to calm down. When choosing what would become the brand’s 2021 color of the year, director of color marketing, Sue Wadden, had one thing on her mind. “The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and paint is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven,” she explains. So she landed on Urbane Bronze as her pick—a rich charcoal that will anchor any room. 

The deep tone is like comfort food for your interiors. It’s relaxing and serene, yes, but also feels inviting and warm; chalk it up to the bronze undertones that keep it from looking too cold. If you are over your white walls and in search of a new neutral, add this to your swatch book. We asked three designers how they’d put their own spin on it.

Color & Paint photo
Urbane Bronze, Sherwin-Williams

Sally Breer’s Tip: Rough It Up

“I like seeing it in an extreme texture, like a plaster wall with a lot of movement or a high-gloss tile—otherwise it feels flat to me,” says Breer. She would pair the simple hue with rich jewel-tone accessories (eggplant purple and emerald green are her top picks) to amp up the drama. 

Eneia White’s Tip: Switch Your Canvas

For White, it’s all about finding unexpected spots to slather on this dark color. “Why not embrace charcoal with your molding?” she says. Whether it’s in the ceiling, base, or wall trim, she recommends it for an easy way to switch up boring white surfaces. For the full package, don’t forget about hardware either: “Try replacing your existing vent covers and electrical outlet plates with polished nickel finishes to elevate those accents.” 

Britt and Damian Zunino’s Tip: Choose an Easy Palette

For the Studio DB duo, this subdued tint is a softer alternative to black. “Juxtapose it with warm neutrals, like ivory, camel, or blush—but not without adding a jolt of saturated color, such as cobalt blue, red, or USM green,” says Britt. Go by the 60-30-10 design rule for making sure this trio works in scale; it’s up to you which tone you designate to each percentage. 

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