Sherwin-Williams’s 2021 Color of the Year Proves That Millennial Pink No Longer Reigns Supreme
Millennial pink has had a good run, but as we close out the first year of the zooming ‘20s, our mood has turned a bit darker, and we’re craving colors with a little more depth and complexity. It’s a trend Sherwin-Williams forecasted long before the pandemic, when the brand deemed Naval—an inky, midnight-sky blue—its 2020 color of the year. Now, they’re taking things a step further, announcing an even more intense shade, Urbane Bronze, as the “it” color of 2021.
“The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and color is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven. Urbane Bronze encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal,” explained Sherwin-Williams’s director of color marketing, Sue Wadden.
It falls in line with a larger trend toward richer, bolder colors that other paint brands are seeing as well. When Clare polled 3,000 fans to introduce a new paint color, a dark blue won out, and similarly, at the start of the pandemic, Backdrop saw an 800 percent spike in sales of its more saturated colors. The shades seem to reveal that we’re looking for colors that envelop us and create a safe space from all of the doom-scrolling that keeps us up at night.
A big reason why Sherwin-Williams chose Urbane Bronze was how comforting the color is—a statement echoed by designers John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love, who shared on their Instagram Story how the shade reminds them of “melted dark chocolate,” aka the ultimate comfort food. On that note, their post sparked a debate, as fans questioned whether Urbane Bronze was more of a gray color or a brown one. Yes folks, we may have found The Dress/Laurel and Yanny of 2020 (er, 2021?).
We can understand the debate—in some photos, it looks browner, in some, more blackish-gray. The answer? It’s…both. While bronze typically has a coppery tone to it (hence the brown), this iteration has gray undertones to modernize and separate it from the bronze-y tones popular in the ‘70s and ‘90s. So, depending on your lighting and what colors you pair with it, it could skew either way. (For the record, Wadden recommends complementing the color with natural materials, like wood finishes and stone accents.)
However you style it, one thing’s for sure: We’re not viewing the world through millennial pink-colored glasses anymore.