Paint Companies and Color Pros Unveil the 2021 Colors of the Year

See which shades were declared the best colors of 2021 by some of the biggest names in paint.

After all the turbulence of 2020, we're looking forward to a fresh start and ways to add color to our lives in the new year. Paint companies and color pros understand that. Each year, they single out a shade that perfectly captures the current moment in design, gathering insights from pop culture, fashion, architecture, and technology trends.

Their color predictions for 2021 are already rolling in. See the top shades we know so far, and check back to find out all the 2021 colors of the year as they're announced.

dining nook with terra-cotta walls
Courtesy of Behr

Canyon Dusk by Behr

Behr's pick for 2021 color of the year borrows inspiration from nature to deliver a warm, grounding feeling indoors. Canyon Dusk is a rich terra-cotta hue that reminds us of clay soil or the sky as the sun dips below the horizon. "There is something so reassuring about dusk, the moment just after sunset, which brings the promise of a new day," said Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr, in a press release. "The illuminating, free-spirited Canyon Dusk is a color that can be found in a variety of places, from an awe-inspiring desert landscape to the color of sunbaked clay. Wherever it is found, we share a collective need for these moments of comfort and inspiration in the days ahead."

The earthy neutral pairs well with creamy whites and other nature-inspired colors and textures. Create a relaxing bedroom or living room with Canyon Dusk walls, then accessorize with woven baskets, caned furniture, and houseplants to play up the organic feel. Or create striking contrast with black accents or jewel-tone colors like navy blue and emerald that balance the shade's warmth. Canyon Dusk looks gorgeous on walls, cabinetry, and even exterior applications like the front door.

built-in wine bar with blue stained wood
Courtesy of Minwax

Vintage Blue by Minwax

Wood stain brand Minwax selected Vintage Blue as its first-ever color of the year. An organic mix of blue and green with soft gray undertones, the color creates a soothing atmosphere and a nostalgic feel when applied to wood furniture, cabinetry, shelving, and decorative accents. "Vintage Blue connects us to the healing power of nature and a comforting nostalgic mood," says Sue Kim, color marketing manager for Minwax. "Like a moment of fresh air, Vintage Blue gets us started in the day with a renewed mindset. Plus, it pairs well with any style of room." Pair it with earthy neutrals, including warm white, amber, and charcoal, to bring out its vintage appeal, or layer in other shades of blue, such as navy or denim, to create a more modern, tone-on-tone look. Vintage Blue is currently available as a water-based wood stain in a semi-transparent or solid finish, as well as a penetrating oil-based stain.

white kitchen with yellow chairs
John Granen

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating by Pantone

The global authority on color put a surprising spin on its highly anticipated color of the year announcement: Pantone chose two contrasting shades as its top picks for 2021. Ultimate Gray, a practical and dependable neutral, and a sunny yellow called Illuminating combine to reflect a sense of resilience and optimism as we close out a difficult year.

"The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it's not about one color or one person, it's about more than one," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a press release. "The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude."

Perfect for painted walls or upholstered furniture, Ultimate Gray is a timeless neutral that provides a grounding foundation in interiors. Illuminating adds a dash of brightness and positivity when used on accent furniture, wall decor, accessories like pillows and throws, or even a front door. The high-contrast pairing creates an energetic look, but warm undertones tie the two colors together. It's an ideal combination as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

desk area with black metal chair and red pillow
Courtesy of Rust-Oleum

Satin Paprika by Rust-Oleum

Popular spray-paint brand Rust-Oleum named an earthy, spicy hue called Satin Paprika for its 2021 color of the year. Warm and cozy, the red color accompanies nine other trending shades the brand has selected for its Color Watch 2021. Satin Paprika anchors each of the three distinct palettes, which were curated to complement outdoor living spaces, modern boho aesthetics, and midcentury modern style. "We've been listening to DIYers and home decor enthusiasts who want color combinations that bring out feelings of well-being," said Grace Khoury, brand manager at Rust-Oleum, in a statement. "We're living in uncertain times and we all need a little peace. These collections are designed to evoke a sense of settled contentment." Try spraying a few coats of Satin Paprika on accent furniture, such as a lamp base or side table, or update wall decor to add a vibrant yet comforting feel to your space. The color pairs beautifully with other earth tones as well as brass and matte black finishes.

modern living room with aqua wainscoting
Courtesy of Glidden

Aqua Fiesta by Glidden

This year, Glidden put a new spin on its yearly paint color prediction by announcing its first-ever accent color of the year. Aqua Fiesta PPG1147-4 is a bright, refreshing aquamarine that looks great on an accent wall or millwork. Although the vibrant blue-green might be a bit overwhelming as an all-over wall color, it makes a splash even in small doses when combined with other neutral paint colors. The brand suggests pairing Aqua Fiesta with a cool gray to create a spa-like calm that's perfect for bathrooms. In bedrooms or living areas, layer in cream-colored fabrics and neutral accessories to soften the color's boldness.

kitchen with teal cabinetry and wood countertops

Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore selected a soft, soothing blue-green for its 2021 color of the year. Aegean Teal 2136-40 marries the tranquil nature of blue with green's association with wellness, while a gray undertone keeps the color modern. Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore, calls it "an intriguing blue-green that creates natural harmony and invites us to take a moment to reflect and reset." The color's calming qualities make it an excellent choice for bedrooms or home offices, and its casual elegance shines on kitchen cabinetry or built-ins.

Aegean Teal joins 11 other organic hues that comprise Benjamin Moore's 2021 color trends palette. The collection includes buttery yellows, creamy off-whites, and deep earthy hues that pair beautifully with Aegean Teal's cool undertones. To enhance the palette's warmth, Yeo suggests decorating with natural materials such as wood, stone, and brick for a balanced, textured look.

dark green entryway
Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball 2021 Colors of the Year

England-based paint company Farrow & Ball selected 12 rejuvenating shades for its 2021 color trends. Featuring earthy neutrals and rich natural colors, the shades were chosen by the company's color curator Joa Studholme to "convey a sense of ease and familiarity," according to a press release. The selections reflect a broader trend toward warmer, organic colors and away from cool grays and blues.

Divided into four distinct categories, the versatile colors combine to form timeless schemes that offer both comfort and a sense of luxury. The "Rich and Warm" collection encompasses chocolatey hues with strong red undertones, including Deep Reddish Brown, Tanner's Brown, and Preference Red, that would work perfectly in a cozy home office or den. The company's "Clean and Timeless Blues" features the fresh yet familiar tones of Pitch Blue, Stiffkey Blue, and Ultra Marine Blue, which create a lavish environment in bedrooms. Lush, leafy colors with gray undertones, including Green Smoke, Treron, and Sap Green, round out the "Natural Greens" palette and provide a welcoming quality in entryways and hallways. In neutral spaces, the aged, earthy tones of Jitney, Dead Salmon, and India Yellow offer an elegant and moody alternative to white.

living room with red wainscoting and warm white walls
Courtesy of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

Passionate by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams predicts vibrant, daring colors will reign supreme in the coming year. The brand's 2021 color of the year, Passionate HGSW2032, is a rich, saturated red that blurs the line between modern and traditional. The bold yet elegant hue joins nine nature-inspired shades in HGTV Home's Delightfully Daring Color Collection, which can be found exclusively at Lowe's. "When used thoughtfully in design, color can be immersive and incite emotion," said Ashley Banbury, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams senior color designer, in a press release. "Whether it be monochromatic or colors with high contrast… color is now being used as the main accessory in a space to embody a sense of comfort and confidence." Passionate's deep red creates an invigorating backdrop for neutral furniture and nature-inspired accents. For a more dramatic look, try pairing it with other vivid shades from the collection, such as a classic blue called Long Horizon or the verdant green Cloverfields.

fireplace mantel and built-ins painted muted pink and warm white
Courtesy of Valspar

Valspar 2021 Colors of the Year

Instead of announcing a single shade for the color of the year, Valspar named 12 cozy muted colors as its top picks for 2021. Ranging in tone from misty blue to warm apricot, the hues were chosen for their ability to calm and encourage mindfulness. ″Our homes have become offices, entertainment centers, and classrooms, which means the colors, sights, and sounds in our rooms have an even bigger impact on our daily lives,″ said Valspar color marketing manager Sue Kim in a press release. As more stress and time at home in 2020 coincided with a surge in DIY projects and an increased interest in meditation, this year's selection aims to ″turn home improvement into self-improvement."

The list of Valspar 2021 colors features a mix of versatile neutrals, including Gallery Grey, Granite Dust, Maple Leaf, Soft Candlelight, and Unforgettable. Warm, organic colors, such as Arizona Dust, Cherry Taupe, and Dusty Lavender, offer more vibrancy and warmth but still read as subtle and sophisticated. On the cooler side of the spectrum, Academy Gray, Blissful Blue, Garden Flower, and Lucy Blue are timeless, familiar greens and blues pulled straight from nature. The paint colors are all available at Lowe's as well as many independent paint stores nationwide, though color names and shades might vary at each retailer.

neutral bedroom with dark bronze accent wall
Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Urbane Bronze by Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams selected a rich, bold neutral as its 2021 color of the year. Inspired by nature, Urbane Bronze SW 7048 is a warm, grounding shade of gray-brown intended to reflect our current need for serenity and stability. ″The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and color is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven,″ said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, in a press release. ″Urbane Bronze encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal."

Gray undertones balance the earthy brown to create a dark, deeply comforting color that reminds of burnished metal or timeworn stone. Though intensely saturated, Urbane Bronze makes a subtle, sophisticated statement when used as a primary or accent color. Try it on all four walls in a bedroom or den to envelop the room in a cozy atmosphere. For a sleek, contemporary look, paint built-ins or kitchen cabinetry in Urbane Bronze, then finish the surrounding walls in a warm white to offset the darkness. The bold shade also works well in smaller doses, such as on your front door or an accent wall in the living room.

To bring out the color's organic feel, Wadden suggests decorating with furniture made from natural materials, including wood, stone, and woven fabrics. For depth, choose accents that supply a variety of textures, such as worn leather, faux sheepskin, and aged metals. The paint color is available at Sherwin-Williams stores nationwide.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles