Sage Advice: Soft, Pale Greens and the Psychology of Color

  • Categories:

    Creative, Industry Trends

  • Date:

    January 6, 2022

Sage Advice: Soft, Pale Greens and the Psychology of Color

Creative Industry Trends

Editor’s Note: As forecasts for the 2023 color of the year begin to come out, we look back on what informs these color predictions and how brands can use these trends effectively.

When it comes to home décor and design, color can be one of a brand’s biggest game changers. In fact, color marketing studies have found that 90% of a consumer’s snap judgments on products are based on the color alone. This means perceptions about color drive purchasing decisions every day. And, while colors don’t appeal to each of us in the same way, cultures can share similar perceptions based on how colors are regularly used in society, marketing and media.

Today’s paint brands and designers are aware of the power of color — and, much like the always-evolving home and building category, the possibilities are endless. To better connect with your brand’s target audiences, it’s important to understand and incorporate colors that are trending with consumers. But rather than blend in, it’s critical for brands to stand out. Luckily, there are many creative ways to incorporate on-trend colors.

Informed by color psychology’s impact, paint product designers and marketing departments anticipate the colors consumers will want in their homes in the upcoming year. Consequently, annual trend forecasts give homeowners and designers curated colors from palettes that feel fresh and cohesive.

So, what does this mean for home and building marketers? Here are some things to consider.

What informs color trend predictions?

In the past, paint brands have announced their own, mostly unique recommended color of the year. Some years, the hues lean into surfacing trends, while others feature classic, “can’t go wrong” colors, and still others represent a desired feeling based on cultural shifts.

For example, heading into 2020, some paint brands went with classic colors, such as Sherwin-Williams’ Naval Blue — both familiar blue shades signaling strength, calmness and a haven from the world’s anxiety and stress. Meanwhile, others clung to optimistic, emerging trends, landing on the likes of millennial pink and sunny yellow for the dawn of a new decade.

Now, two years into the pandemic, two top values have surfaced: people and planet. Meaning, we’re focused on building connections with those around us and connecting with nature. Many industry-leading paint brands seem to agree, with each naming a similar sage green as their 2022 color of the year.

These greens are luminous mid-tones that are lush and optimistic. They evoke neutrality with an underlying warmth to instill positivity without being overwhelming. The hues can easily fit in with current spaces, too, as they work well with other neutrals and mid-tones.

How do consumers get their interior design prediction information?

Traditionally speaking, psychology and emerging and historical trends — as well as cultural, climate and societal shifts — have informed the interior design space. For example, fashion trends that resonate with audiences will influence interior trends over time. Due to scale and ease of application, accessories and paint are often two of the first categories to adopt interior trends.

In today’s technology-driven world, homeowners often seek color trends and advice online through interior design blogs and DIY-inspired social platforms, such as Pinterest. My forecast as to how this will evolve in 2022? On Pinterest and Instagram, the color of the year will most likely surface as a source of inspiration through accent rooms — covering the walls, molding and, in some cases, even the ceiling in green hues. In the kitchen and bath, painted sage green cabinets with brass pulls will be paired with antique touches in blush and beige, while modern metals and shapes will allow spaces to feel curated and well-designed. Lush, monochromatic layering will be achieved with mature house plants, natural textures and earthy hues.

How can brands use color trends effectively?

In a recent Architectural Digest article, Michelle Lamb, editorial director at The Trend Cove, revealed, “Research shows that natural color schemes and organic forms like those found in nature reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase productivity and creativity, and make us happier.” And, as evidenced this year, biophilia is here to stay, along with landscape palettes featuring soothing blues and earthy greens informed by the 2022 colors of the year.

Nature is the one enduring truth. By developing products with colors that bring nature into the home, brands can give homeowners a meditative space that nurtures and feeds the soul. Consider how your brand and product assortment can support the forecasted trends for 2022 and support the move to include nature in design. This can be accomplished through complementary products or sustainable solutions.

  • Versatility: The need for spaces and design pieces to serve more than one function will be a common trend going into the new year. Convertible furniture, inviting and flexible work-from-home spaces, and minimalism to enable adaptability will continue to rise in popularity. Products introduced into the home need to thoughtfully serve several purposes while still making a statement.

  • Sustainability: As mentioned above, people and planet are the distilled values during this time. Sustainability in design will figure prominently and will be considered by consumers as they curate less but with better-quality products for their homes. In addition, younger homeowners are implementing family heirlooms front and center in their homes. Antiques are the ultimate sustainable solution, with the warm, brassy tones of aged vintage objects complementing the soft, pale greens nicely.

Balancing the sage green color trend with the notion of infusing nature into interiors creates the perfect recipe for home improvement brands. The green palette can easily be used in tandem with natural wood tones as well as with rich wood grains, stones, textured or woven fabrics and flourishing wallpapers. For example, sage paint and a few plants quickly infuse an interior space with a sense of nature. Hardscape brands such as Boral Stone have the ability to bring the elements in with a statement. Likewise, other brands, including our friends at Clopay and Floor & Decor, offer product assortments that embrace bringing the natural world inside the home, from glass-paned garage doors to nature-inspired wood flooring with graining and soapstone colored tiles.

In a competitive industry, it’s important to be intentional about how you choose to adopt trends. In doing so, you’ll satisfy your target audience’s wants and needs while standing out in a sea of sameness. Not sure where to start? Contact me.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.