The Top 2021 Color Trends Reveal…We Could All Use a Hug Right Now

Forget going to a psychic or consulting your horoscope—to figure out what the next year holds, you might want to just head to your nearest paint store. Across the board, color forecasters said that we’d be craving calming, soothing shades in our homes more than ever in 2020…and boy, were they on the nose with that prediction. Now, as we creep into fall, the decor oracles are back at it, taking a look at the state of the world and projecting the 2021 color trends that could define the 12 months ahead.

“This has been a year of unpredictability,” said Erika Woelfel, vice president of color at Behr. “When our color team began exploring a palette for the coming year, we knew it needed to be grounded in what we’ve been craving: comfort and personalization.”

It was a feeling echoed at numerous paint companies, as they shared the shades that can make a home feel uniquely yours and totally cozy, no matter what the year ahead may bring.

2021 color trends beige

1. brown Sugar Beige

Joanna Gaines popularized crisp white with matte black trim as part of the modern farmhouse aesthetic that ruled the past five years, but heading into the zooming ‘20s, we’re craving neutrals that have warmer undertones. According to the pros at Behr and PPG, that means beige is poised to make a comeback. Only this time around, it’s a little softer—think more along the lines of light brown sugar than the yellow-y tan we saw in the ‘90s. To keep it feeling fresh, PPG suggests pairing a color like Transcend with muted blues and greens.

“When the world experiences events that cause unrest, anxiety and grief, we tend to naturally gravitate toward compassionate colors that allow us to create a personal retreat from the world,” explained Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. “These comfort colors are similar to comfort foods—both offering a certain sense of familiarity and normalcy when facing the unknown.”

2021 color trends terracotta

2. muted Terracotta

This color’s moment has been a long time coming. But beyond being a less-saccharine evolution of millennial pink, it dovetails with the retro sunset art trend that surged in popularity throughout the first five months of quarantine. Want some facts to prove it? The 800 percent increase in sales of 36 Hours in Marrakesh that Backdrop saw during the first few weeks of April should do the trick. (Not to mention it’s very similar to the “Spice” shade of the Always Pan, aka the sauté pan so sought after it has a 30,000-person-long waitlist.) PPG’s officially made Big Cypress—a cinnamon-y take on terracotta—a part of their 2021 “Be Well” palette, due to the color’s ability to make a room feel like it’s hugging you. In Behr’s 2021 palette, it surfaces in the form of Kalahari Sunset, an orange-y tone that’s about as warm and cozy as a color can get.

2021 color trends blue

3. deep Blues And Greens

Wondering about the other Backdrop colors that seriously spiked in sales during quarantine? That would be Saturday on Sunday, a dark blue-gray, and Surf Camp, a dark blue with green undertones. And on that note, when paint startup Clare polled nearly 2,600 people to determine its next paint colors, Blue’d Up—a deep purple-y blue—was one of its two winners.

Behr’s popular colors for the year ahead also include saturated, sink-into-them shades. We feel Zen after just looking at Nocturne Blue, reminiscent of the night’s sky, and Royal Orchard, a rich forest green. These types of colors, Behr says, create the sense of a quiet haven at home; they’re calming and enveloping. And they serve as evidence that we could all use a hug so badly we’re trying to paint that feeling right onto our walls.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...