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?
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
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.
BEDDING AND PILLOWS
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.
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.
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.