The Colors of Summer

The Colors of Summer

The “hottest” colors of summer can be yours all year long.

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen

Some of the most popular colors in this year’s home decorating palette are the leafy greens, beachy blues and fresh florals of summer. These colors are everywhere—in popular paint schemes, wallpaper, fabrics, furnishings and even small appliances. What this means if you’re a summer person is that you won’t have to say a final farewell to your favorite season come fall.

Here are some of the most popular summer colors in the 2020 palette:

Green and More Green

Green has always been a dominant color in home decorating, but this year there are so many popular varieties. PPG Paint has dedicated an entire color palette to the color, called “Easy Being Green.” The plentiful summery greens in this palette range from a cool, grayed-sage (Edamame PPG1030-4) to a warm, muted chartreuse (Sparrow Song PPG11-13) to a Granny Smith apple color with a grassy undertone (Spinach Salad PPG11-16). And there are many more lovely greens in between—with equally lovely summer names.

If you want to stay as true to the summery side of green as possible, choose a color with depth. Deeper and brighter greens are the ones we most usually associate with summer, and they also are very much on-trend. The results of 1stdibs’ annual interior designer trends survey for 2020 are a case in point. 1stdibs surveyed hundreds of designers around the world who placed emerald in the No. 1 color spot this year—and indeed, the color is everywhere. Emerald is a surprisingly easy color to work with because it complements many other colors in the palette. It looks especially sophisticated in satin finishes and paired with clean neutrals, like white. (Imagine a well-groomed park with a tree canopy above and a ground cover of white flowers below.)

Tranquil Blue

Of course, blues are in this summery palette! Watery blues have dominated in home decorating for many years and in 2020 are only slightly edged out by green in popularity. As with green, you can’t go wrong in choosing any shade of blue for your home. However, if you want a fresh, summery color in one of the more trending hues, then go with a mid-tone blue like Classic Blue (19-4052) from Pantone Color Institute.

Pantone, a world-renowned expert on color trends, chose Classic Blue as its No. 1 2020 color for its calming effect—perfect in a year that has been anything but calm at times. This refreshing shade of azure lies somewhere between sea glass and navy and will help you embrace summer all year long, especially if you pair it with white, another refreshing color. (For inspiration, think of a blue-and-white striped Adirondack chair overlooking the bluest of blue lakes.)

Rosy Pink

Floral colors and floral prints are popular in both home decorating and apparel. You’ll see a lot of bright floral prints in apparel, but one of the top floral colors in home decorating doesn’t follow this trend. Instead, the color is a delicate, dusky, rosy pink with a soft hand—a color that Benjamin Moore Co. calls First Light 2102-70 and has put at the top of its palette this year.

First Light can replace a warm neutral in a color scheme, used on an accent wall or star entirely on its own. It isn’t a baby pink but a complex hue suitable for any room in the home—not just bathrooms or bedrooms—or wherever you want a light touch of summery color. Try complementing First Light with gold accents and hardware. (Your inspiration here is a light pink tea rose with a golden center.)

Two More Florals

Purple and yellow are abundant this time of year, as evidenced by the fact that so many varieties of these colors pick up their names from the garden—colors like lilac, lavender, violet, plum, buttercup, marigold, goldenrod and sunflower, to name a few.

Two years ago, purple was in its heyday and was named by many design experts as the color of the year. The purple at that time was deeply saturated and sometimes even a little “electric.” Purple has remained popular in the home decorating palette but currently appears in more muted shades. If you want to incorporate this garden favorite and stay on trend at the same time, try soft eggplant in a distressed finish. Complement this purple with gray and accent it with green.

To use yellow with the same summery/on-trend goals in mind, do the opposite. Deeply saturated golden yellows are “hot” in home decorating and will be for some time. These happy colors bring life and light to a space and—in the form of sunflowers—are one of the last remaining colors in the garden as fall approaches. Use golden yellow on its own or with softer, less-saturated accents of warm green. (For guidance, look closely at the dandelions in your lawn before you pluck them!)

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