In Living Color

Engage the emotions and set the tone of your home with this year’s cool and earthy-inspired hues.

By Julie Bielenberg

There is an entire industry dedicated solely to predicting color trends each year. Pantone is at the forefront, but there are other stars, both international and local, that share a passion for color forecasting.

Color is that important to humans. It affects moods, productivity, sleep patterns and so much more that is essential to our daily lives. Throughout every generation and era, there have been distinct colors associated with time, status and ethnicity. Companies now use these hues and hope to be on the cusp of an emerging color trend when they roll out new products and brands. In addition to influencing fashion and beauty trends, color is at the core of most home décor styles, and a color choice can make or break it!

Color authority, Sherwin-Williams’ 2015 color of the year, Coral Reef (SW 6606), is described as an uplifting, vivacious hue with floral notes that are a mélange of pink, orange and red. Pulled from the company’s Buoyant palette, Coral Reef is a lovely choice to bring the vibrant, yet soft happiness of summer into the home.

“Coral Reef embodies the cheerful approach to design that we’re seeing for the year. Its unexpected versatility brings life to a range of design aesthetics, whether traditional, vintage, cottage or contemporary. Simply add this carefree color to your home’s palette and watch your creativity blossom,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams.

Each year, Jordan and other Sherwin-Williams color experts research color influences from around the world to determine the annual color forecast and the Color of the Year. Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast 2015 is comprised of 40 colors grouped into four palettes. In addition to the Buoyant palette in which Coral Reef resides, the forecast includes the Chrysalis, Voyage and Unrestrained color palettes.

Any interior designer can tell you that a color immediately speaks to emotions the moment someone enters a space. That’s why you don’t see many magenta kitchens, black bedrooms or tangerine hallways. Color is a natural element, and must be composed in the scene with the other natural elements such as light and flooring.

Most of us fall into the category of too little color in our homes. Beiges, taupe, and varying degrees of white dominate the color palettes of most homes, with the only spark of color often being reserved for an occasional den, bathroom, child’s bedroom or basement space. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to spread the color love to other elements of your home. You can still start with a simple, neutral color.

Interior designers advise…don’t go crazy. You can slowly integrate color into your home with any of the cooler, pale pastels and nature-like neutrals that are trending this summer; it just needs to be clean and pleasing for your pursuit.

“In regards to styling a living space; the brighter the better. My style starts with a bright, blank slate, such as white or light grey, a natural element like wood floors or concrete, and then adding in your favorite block of color,” says color-addict, Laura Shackles, owner of Denver-based Blush and Bay florals ( “Different patterns and textures are a great way to incorporate like colors but still differentiate them from each other and keep your space exciting. If you love a wide array of colors, like me, you can still pair them together and change them out as trends evolve. The key is to make sure they are not equal. Think: a lot of pinks and oranges with a tiny touch of teal,” says Shackles, who is regularly asked to infuse Pantone’s color of the year into her work.

Pantone’s Color Forecast

Although Marsala is Pantone’s official color of the year, it’s not the only shade making headlines. You can bet that the colors seen sashaying down the fashion runways, will inevitably begin showing up in home accents, paint and accessories. According to Pantone, this summer is trending toward the cooler and softer side of the color spectrum with “understated brights, pale pastels and nature-like neutrals” like:


Lucite Green

Toasted Almond

Glacier Gray

Dusk Blue






Looking ahead to fall, the fashion trends indicate more earthy inspired neutrals but with a slice of bold color statements such as:

Dried Herb

Desert Sage

Stormy Weather

Oak Buff

Biscay Bay


Color Consultants

Pantone LLC: a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.

The Color People: Started in 1979 by James Martin, this business, located a stone’s throw from Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District, is a pioneer in the nation when it comes to the business of color. Martin originally began as a color consultant for Victorian homes and then saw his career blossom from there into a thriving International Institution that consults both in residential and corporate design. And, to think we have him right here in Denver!

Sherwin-Williams: Since its founding by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company has not only grown to be the largest producer of paints and coatings in the United States, but is among the largest producers in the world.


How Color Affects Ambiance and Mood

A Look at Pantone’s Color of the Year Through the Years


2015: Marsala—a naturally robust and earthy wine red that is nurturing and fulfilling—a perfect fit for the kitchen or dining room.

2014: Radiant Orchid—blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.

2013: Emerald—lively, radiant and lush, a color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.

2012: Tangerine Tango—a vivacious, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.

2011: Honeysuckle—bright, sherberty pink shade, uplifting and optimistic, evoking nostalgic feelings of summertime.


Where to Buy

Find every color of the rainbow and beyond at these local retailers:

Guiry’s Color Source

To find a local near you, visit


Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

To find a local near you, visit