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Warm, earthy hues colours take us back to the ‘70s

Sherwin-Williams, the paint people, have selected Cavern Clay (SW 7701) for their 2019 Colour of the Year.

“We believe 2019 will be a renaissance of the 1970s − with a twist. In the coming year, we will embrace our pioneering spirits and artisan ingenuity,” says Sue Wadden, director of colour marketing, Sherwin-Williams.

“Our 2019 Colour of the Year, Cavern Clay, embodies renewal, simplicity and free-spirited, bohemian flair.”

When it comes to décor trends, “mid-century modern” (1945 to 1975) is very popular right now. The modern simple designs of furniture and accessories of the post-war period is recognized by scholars as a significant movement.

Back in the 1970s earth tones dominated as the “back to the earth movement.” The colours of the 1970s were beige, rust, avocado, harvest gold, mustard yellow and earthy brown playing together in patterns and solids.

Cavern Clay is both casual and refined. It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone and sculptural greenery. Complementary materials include leather, simple woodgrains and indigenous cacti in contemporary, sleek gardening planters.

“Cavern Clay is an easy way to bring the warmth of the outdoors in. Envision beaches, canyons and deserts, and sun-washed late summer afternoons—all of this embodied in one colour,” says Wadden.

It pairs well with other casual, balanced neutrals such as a warm grey, grey blue and deep brown. Cavern Clay evokes a carefree yet sophisticated aesthetic.

“Spaces like boutique hotels, restaurants and even offices are making an effort to create photo-friendly areas that are Instagrammable,” says Wadden. “Cavern Clay is an ideal colour for flattering and design-forward aesthetics—it plays well with many types of lighting, and brings this visual of the expansive and free outside world to interiors, resulting in open and versatile public spaces.”

Pantone’s Colour of the year is Living Coral (16-1546) described as “embracing warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment”

Colours such as brown, which a couple of decades ago was linked to the earth and dirt but is now associated with coffee and chocolate, reflects the growth of those industries, says Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, which provides colour consulting services for brands and products, as well as trend forecasts.

Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression,” says a release from Pantone.

“In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity.”


Sherwin-Williams Colours of the Decade

Led by Director of Colour Marketing Sue Wadden, the Sherwin-Williams global color and design team travels the world to research and identify key trends that influence the way we interact with colour. A list of previously selected colors includes:

2011: Indigo Batik SW 7602

2012: Argyle SW 6747

2013: Aloe SW 6464

2014: Exclusive Plum SW 6263

2015: Coral Reef SW 6606

2016: Alabaster SW 7008

2017: Poised Taupe SW 6039

2018: Oceanside SW 6496


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