2016 Color Palette of the Year

This year's palette is downright upbeat. Don't worry -- not the exuberant, jumping-on-the-couch kind of happy. It's more like the kind of happy where your glass is half-full with an Aperol spritz and your current view is of the ocean. Who's in?

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Meet the Colors

A palette is like one big, happy family -- each color is strong on its own, but they're even more amazing together. 


Finally, a pink that isn't too saccharine. "It's feminine, of course, but so sophisticated and amazing as a neutral when paired with blues, blacks, and metallic accents," says Khristian A. Howell, designer and color expert. Gentle Blush 2084-70 Benjamin Moore 


The popular new kid on the color block isn't going away any time soon. This cool, muted gray can look both classic and contemporary. Foil DE6360 Dunn-Edwards


Other colors in the palette almost bounce off this midtone blue, giving it a big, gregarious personality. Smoke Blue PPG451-5 Pittsburgh Paints 


A hint of silver makes this green stand out. "It's a throwback to the greens used in 1950s kitchens," says interior designer Paige Sumblin Schnell. "It has a modern-retro vibe, which I love." Smoke Bell RL1599 Ralph Lauren Paint 


Everyone's crushing on this energetic orange. "It's like a kiss," says Kate Smith, designer and color expert. "It can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point." Tango 6649 Sherwin-Williams

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Strike a Balance

What's the secret to color happiness? In a word: balance. This year's palette is a yin and yang of vibrant and calm, cool and warm, rich and not-too-sweet. The steely blue is gutsy but congenial -- it plays nicely with everything. Blush pink and minty green are as soft and comfy as a favorite blanket, but all grown up. And those little zings of orange are like moments of pure joy -- small and fleeting, but they energize everything they touch. 


For big color without commitment, wallpaper a plywood panel (far right). Daydream in Blue; hyggeandwest.com


Color-rich rooms need a neutral resting spot. Carl Chair in Isle Gray, $599; bryght.com


Artist Heather Chontos created this piece just for BHG to show off our 2016 palette. Prints, $90 each; heatherchontos.com 

Add a Little -- Or a Lot

A kitchen without color is like a paella without saffron. Add a pinch to taste.


Turn the temperature up a notch on walls and backsplashes. From top: Green Picket; fireclaytile.com. Retro Rounds in Orange Soda; daltile.com. Brio Color Cupcake Pink Glass Mosaic Tile; modwalls.com. Lush 3×6 Rain Tile; modwalls.com. Solar McIntones Ceramic; completetile.com.


Gray is the new white, and blue is coming on strong. Matte black hardware adds polish. Brainerd Black Bar Pull, $4.47, Style Selections Black Bar Pull, $6.47; lowes.com.


The right one ties a palette together at the windows or the table. Far left: Ming Dragon in Persimmon; dwellstudio.com

Create a Serene Scene

Go all in on the green, gray, and pink, and our palette downshifts from happy-happy, joy-joy to contented and chill. Same colors, different mix, completely different feeling.


Green, gray, and pink linens layer up to make one yummy bed. A sprinkling of blue and orange adds the spice. From top: Originel European Sham in Poudre, $90 each; usa.yvesdelorme.com. Eileen Fisher Washed Linen Lumbar Sham in Rosewater, $108, and Duvet Cover in Field Green, $228; garnethill.com. Diamond Tile Orange Pillow, $145; bonnieandneil.com.au. Blue Leather Pillow, $235; themarket.studiofournyc.com. Organic Braided Matelasse Duvet Cover in Feather Gray, $135; westelm.com. Blue Rose Throw, $179; boconcept.com


Blond wood and leather bring this serene scene down to earth. Hub Ladder, $100; umbra.com. Woven Leather Basket, $75; shopterrain.com. Pixoss Desk Lamp, $290; mcnallyjacksonstore.com. Marble Wallpaper (on headboard); fermliving.com


A little bit ensures the pastels don't get cloying. Platform Bed, $1,099; roomandboard.com. Tourbillon Wallpaper (behind lamp); farrowandball.com.

Power Up with Flowers

The way floral designer Ariella Chezar thinks about color is great advice, whether you're playing with flowers or designing a room. "I choose my palette and stick to it very closely, choosing as many elements within it as I can," she says. "Layering different flowers within a tone allows the color to go on and on and on." Choosing vases in the same palette takes it a step further. Blush Porcelain Pourer, $25; claykatceramics.com. Ellis Street Vase, $75; katespade.com. Check out Chezar's new book, The Flower Workshop ($25; amazon.com).

Layer Feel-Good Textures

To put a comfy-cozy gloss on the palette, play up the orange and layer on touchable textures for walls, furniture, and floors.


Visual rhythm for walls or bookshelves. Blue Grasscloth CL1029; yorkwall.com.


Quiet pattern from wall to wall. Tuftex Tracery Carpet in Bay of Hope; shawfloors.com. Black Engineered Oak Wood Flooring; pidfloors.com.


Black and brass: a winning combo. Clandon Knob, $16; anthropologie.com.


Feel-good upholstery invites extended lounging. From top (orange): Lanalux by Alexander Girard; maharam.com. Vert Doux Green Velvet 621 Toulouse; velvetsdirect.com. Kelly Wearstler's Katana Jade/Teal; leejofa.com.

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