My Take on the Colors of the Year and 2018 Decorating Trends

If you are reading this, congratulations!  You just made another trip around the sun on our big, crazy celestial ball we call Earth!  Happy New Year!

With the new year comes a slew of predictions of the “new trends” designers and other experts say we will be loving in 2018.   Here are some of the Colors of the Year, chosen by the paint companies:


Three of the Colors of the Year 2018: Sherwin Willliams Oceanside, Benjamin Moore’s Caliente, and Pantone’s Ultra Violet


Behr paint’s 2018 Color of the Year, In the Moment


Glidden Paint’s 2018 Color of the Year, Black Onyx

As your friendly neighborhood decorator, I try to stay on top of the trends and colors.  I continually read design blogs, watch which Pins are being pinned to Pinterest, peruse Houzz, watch HGTV, research sources and how-tos, subscribe to magazines, and I also get to tour lots of new builds and a few Design Houses each year!  Throw in the occasional Trade Show or Market for good measure.  So I feel fairly certain of  what is trending in both the design world, and what people are really loving these days. Real people.  Not Ralph Lauren and others who can re-decorate every 6 months, but us “normal” Tennesseans who love our sweet tea and our Predators hockey all at the same time.

I’d like to share two things I have noticed about choices and trends and what we’ll be seeing in 2018, here in Middle Tennesse:

1) No one I know is requesting Ultra Violet purple paint on their walls (Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year!)

2) White is the “new gray”

2b) No one in these parts seems ready for these saturated Colors of the Year… yet


We’ll get to that purple in a minute.

Remember when everyone felt they had to “convert” to gray in their home?  Well now the new “neutral” seems to be white. White is ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.  And for good reason, it is bright, white, and about as neutral as you can get!!  Designers love it, and stagers love it even more because it makes the house bright and happy.  I have just redesigned my entire office, adding in whites and creams (along with touches of blush pink and moody blue).

Snapshots of my office in the works (taken at Thanksgiving) …. I’ve been adding white and blush pink, but have kept my wooden writing desk.

If all you have is white in your entire home, I think that would get rather boring, but I have seen some really gorgeous rooms done almost entirely in various shades of white, and I find them quite relaxing, fresh, clean, happy.  Simply White was Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Color of the Year, and as with most Colors of the Year, it’s taken a while to become mainstream here in the middle of America.  Plus, you sort of have to know what you’re doing to make white work in your home, and layer in color or texture somewhere, or you’ll end up with a very generic house.

Beautiful white living room by Driven by Decor


All white kitchen and living area, from Decorpad


Personally, I prefer my whites with splashes of color, as in this restyle I helped a client with last year:

White sofa, creamy walls, blue and natural accents, by Home by Hattan

Or this, found in Caitlin Wilson’s home:


Onyx,  Glidden Paint by PPG’s Color of the Year, is similar in that it is trending, and is treated by designers (who know what they are doing) as a neutral.  Again, sometimes this is hard to pull off, but can create feelings of privacy or of masculinity, especially if you are over the white trend.  It can also make a striking, elegant contrast with the whites that seem to have taken over.  I like Onyx and other black-ish paint colors as accents on doors, lamp shades, metal legs on furniture, or in art pieces.  But others prefer the whole room dark and moody — check out the gorgeous dark rooms in this slideshow by HGTV “Black is the New Black“,  you may just get inspired!  (or not)

Black Onyx by Glidden Paint



So …in terms of color trends … if you turn on any makeover show, or even go to the trendy new shops and restaurants in our area, you will probably see lots of white, lots of wood, and a big resurgence of live plants!  Shiplap, macramé, greenery, rattan and raffia.  These have all been around a while in the design world, but really are just being incorporated in full force here in Tennessee.  Most of the restaurants that have opened recently go either really light (white) or moody dark (black) in their feel or their decor. Another popular look is white with black trim accents.  And they all have lots of wood.  (But funny enough, none of them go ultra-violet purple!)

Here’s one that incorporated both black and white!

Pinewood Social in Nashville, TN


HGTV’s Dream Home 2018 …. great example of white with black and rattan accents and lots of plants!  Trend City.


So now let’s discuss the purple, Pantone’s Color of the Year 2018, Ultra Violet. OK, so let me get this straight … they want to paint my walls Ultra Violet?  Welllllllll ….. while we all love and miss the artist Prince, I for one do not miss him enough to paint my walls bright purple!

I find it very funny that just this week I got called in to help stage a house that has sat on the market for months, without one single showing.  Here is a picture of the main Living Room.

Guess what I told them to do?  Paint over the Ultra Violet Purple, for the love of Prince!!

(And then, of course, we need to address the 2 styles of furniture within the same room …)

Now hear me out, I actually do like the color purple.  I recently bought a dress that is solid purple, and I love it!  I really don’t have an issue with the color purple, or any of the Colors of the Year, we just need to take these as color trends, not paint trends.  And I think it may be quite a while before they make their way into home fashion.

Laurel Bern, genius Interior Designer and Blogger, put together an image with all the major paint company’s picks for the 2018 Color of the Year.  I hope she doesn’t mind if I borrow it, just so you can see all the paint colors at one time. And also because you really should subscribe to her blog, she is BRILLIANT and shares tons of information that she researches for her blog!  Here is Laurel’s image:


Interesting choices of colors, aren’t they? There’s saturated, almost primary colors, very very dark colors, and then there are muted colors and that one sandy cream thrown in there.

The only one I really love for a wall color is number 8, Behr’s In the Moment.  Ok, and maybe a navy-ish or the creamy-tan.

So what does this teach us?  Color preferences are just that, preferences.  And paint color companies pick some weird stuff sometimes.  If I came in and wanted to paint your entire room in Sherwin William’s Oceanside, I have a feeling you might balk a little.


AND you must know that turquoise/teal is one of my most favorite colors in the entire world!  I mean I have 2 turquoise chairs in my Living Room!

Snapshot of my Living Room a couple of summers ago … I love teal and turquoise! But my room isn’t covered in it.

So this also teaches us that the paint colors of the year do not have to be placed on your wall!  A better way to embrace some of the Colors of the Year is to incorporate these colors in your home accessories or furniture.  Or you can wear these colors on your body — oftentimes these colors of the year are much more popular in fashion than they are in home fashion.  You can buy some art with these colors, a fun pair of shoes, or even buy a phone case with your favorite color!!  Pantone offers a “Shop Ultra Violet” page, full of fashion and objects available in the Ultra Violet color.

My concluding thoughts on these paint company’s Colors of the Year:  I am just not seeing them anywhere around here yet.  They seem a little heavy in our part of the world that still is in love with white and gray, huh?

But if you are digging these vibrant saturated colors, we can make it work for you!  I have a few design tricks up my sleeve, and if you can trust me that the neon raspberry color you love should not be painted on a 2-story accent wall, but rather incorporated in other ways, we’ve got a room to design!

Before I end this post, I’d like to make a couple more observations and/or predictions for 2018 that seem a little more realistic.


The color green, in all its shades, is having its moment again.  Not that green has ever been out of style, really.  There are so many shades of green, from earthy sage greens to the more saturated emerald greens, kelly greens, and even yellow-y greens, that you can almost always find a green that works for you.  The saturated greens, however, are the greens in the spotlight these days.  Take a look at this chair from Anthropologie:

Velvet Julienne chair from Anthropologie

And this chair I bought a year or two ago, from World Market, that resides in the playroom because it’s so fun:

And this gorgeous office I found on Pinterest:

Image found on Pinterest, linked back to Katie Kime’s website. Green plays well with black, with white, with pink, with navy ………

And think about all the greenery we’ve been seeing lately.  These greens have been trending for a while and will continue to do so, in my opinion.  Green works well with our beloved white, black, gray, and navy.  The more earthy greens look fabulous in a room with lots of natural elements.  Go Green!


I am also seeing more and more pops of mustard-y, sunny yellow as well – not brown Dijon mustard, but a deep saturated dandelion yellow.  Look at this lovely room by Max Rollit!

Image from Laurel Bern’s blog. Love that this is an otherwise moody dark room, but then this fabulous saturated yellow sofa adds a little life!

Here’s a room I staged, gathering the homeowner’s yellow pillows and accents and moving them to the living room to give happy pops of color:

Staged by Home by Hattan

Even in my own living room with turquoise and navy and cream, I also have added touches of sunny yellow.  I think we’ll be seeing more and more of it, along with the saturated greens.  (not purple and not red …. not for a while yet)



And my final observation/prediction for 2018:  house plants!!  Not the random collection of 7 different pots and plants that don’t match sitting on a wire etagere, but more purposefully put-together containers for the plants.

Modern planters grouped together. West Elm is a great source for these. This image found on Pinterest.

Remember the HGTV 2018 Dream Home?  Lots of live plants and a huge fiddle leaf fig tree.

Notice all the live plants! Take a virtual tour of the Dream Home by clicking here.

Note:  if you have a fake ficus, throw it out now.  It’s probably covered in dust anyway.  Time to upgrade to a fiddle leaf fig tree or an olive tree, and yes, those can be fake if you want!  Pottery Barn sells a great faux fiddle leaf fig, as does Crate and Barrel.

Crate and Barrel used large baskets to house their fiddle leaf fig plants. Very nice.


(Oh yeah, and then there’s pink!  And smokey lilac.  And wallpaper!  It’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck!!  But that’s for another post….)

And that’s it!  My opinions and observations, with illustrations and links, on the predicted Colors of the Year and decorating trends, and how they apply to us Nashvillians.

Need personalized help with color selection or styling?  Give me a call or email me!  I’d love to work with you!