It’s Official: These Will Be the Hottest Colors in 2021, According to Designers

published Dec 31, 2020
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Credit: Andrew Bui

When New Year’s Eve rolls around, many people are fixated on that glimmering orb in Times Square, daintily descending to usher in the new year. For most design enthusiasts though, all eyes are on another iconic circle instead: the accent color picks that are poised to make it big in the new year.

The Best Paint Colors for 2021

If you’re looking to change your home’s vibe in a snap, you might want to add a fresh coat of paint to your walls, cabinetry, or even molding. While many brands predicted their “Colors of the Year,” these hues also have designer approval, too.

Credit: St Charles New York

White paint for kitchens

Chances are you’ve been spending lots of time in your kitchen. So why not make it look its best? According to Karen Williams, creative director of St. Charles of New York, all-white kitchens will continue to be in the spotlight next year. “It is about tone on tone, where the color doesn’t change; but the saturation level does, providing a subtle depth and contrast without ornamentation,” she explains. “The end result conveys refinement and tranquility.” Essentially, using white this way creates an instant ahhh moment every time you set foot in your cookspace.

Credit: Andrew Kung

A hint of green

If white-on-white feels too expected for you, look for light, airy colors with a subtle green cast or tint. That’s exactly what designer Isabel Ladd did in her own space. “I have replaced my go-to of Benjamin Moore’s ‘White Dove’ with Benjamin Moore’s ‘French Canvas’ for its earthy, green undertones,” she explains. “I just wanted an all-around great neutral that feels more organic.” This light, breezy hue bridges the gap between white and a whisper light green.

Credit: Andrew Kung

Hello, yellow!

After such a gloomy year, it’s time to bring some sunshine into your home. That’s where “yolk yellow” comes in, a color that Ladd thinks will be an “it” hue in 2021 and is very similar to “Illuminating,” one of Pantone’s picks for the new year, too. “It’s just fresh and new,” she explains. “It’s gotten a bad rap in the past for being ‘country,’ but it can look radiant and forward [if combined] with modern and antique elements.”

Why stick with just yellow when you can enjoy the other warmer tones? Designer Liz Caan predicts a major surge in sunset colors like red and orange for similar reasons. “These tones are soothing when the rest of the world feels so upside down and unpredictable,” she says.

Credit: Adrienne Breaux

A pigmented palette

Just because light, airy palettes might be all the rage in 2021 doesn’t mean you can’t embrace your bold streak. In fact, rich, moody tones are the perfect foil for some of the year’s highly-anticipated pastels and neutrals.

“Saturated colors like deep aubergine, malachite green, and luscious caramel are creating the warm, comforting palette that people want in 2021,” says designer Marika Meyer. “For years, I have had a few loyal purple fans, but now this warm, rich shade of aubergine with hints of brown is moving into living and dining rooms. Pair it with a delicious shade of caramel, and you’ll never want to leave.”

The Best Furniture Colors for 2021

Want to treat yourself to some new furniture in 2021? You might as well buy a new piece in a trendy hue. Here designers break down exactly what colors you should look for in your new furnishings and anchor pieces to be ahead of the curve.

Think pink

After enduring a terrible year—and that’s putting it lightly for some—it’s no surprise that people will want to bring some cheer back into their homes. “People are longing for color,” designer Amanda Lantz explains. “It helps raise spirits and makes people feel good. I’m having a lot of clients ask for tons of pink.” Whether you opt for a forever-cool millennial pink or go bold with a bright fuchsia, here’s to hoping 2021’s homes will channel positivity with a pop or two of pink.

Pretty pastels

Of course, pink isn’t the only confectionary color to take center stage in the year ahead. “The rise of grandmillennial styles have increased the popularity of softer pastel colors in base furniture such as the Relaxed Saguaro Sofa,” explains Karina Lameraner, creative stylist at Modsy. From seafoam greens to baby blues and dainty lavenders, 2021 is poised to become the year many of us embrace our softer sides.

Credit: Andrew Kung

Bold blues

If soft hues aren’t your thing, embrace your bright streak with an edgy pop of cerulean blue. “It seems like every kitchen or accent furniture in the past three years was some version of Hale Navy,” Ladd explains. “In its place is its more colorful cousin, [cerulean], which can still serve as a neutral if paired with other grounding colors.”

Credit: EQ3

Get inspired with dreamy indigo

Speaking of blue, you might want to venture a few wavelengths down the color spectrum with a moody indigo. “It’s a rich, deep color that you can use to ground a space,” says Liana Thomson, an accessories designer at EQ3. “Incorporate this luxurious color by adding a velvet sofa to your living room, or incorporate it as an accent color in your decor with an end table, throw, or stool.”

The Best Accent Colors for 2021

Of course, no home is complete without a fun pop of color or two. If you want to add some extra oomph to your space, these accents hues just might make it big in 2021.

Earthy tones

After spending months indoors, there’s a good chance you’re longing for some quality time with Mother Nature. If you want to bring a bit of the great outdoors inside, consider adding some earthy-colored accents to your decorative mix.

“We will see a wider embrace of earth tones and forest greens across home decor categories,” says Davina Ogilvie, founder of Wovn Home, a custom drapery company. “Whether incorporated with warm white walls or layered with bold jewel-toned accent pillows, more nature-inspired shades will be incorporated into the home, especially in textiles, which are often an easy way to begin experimenting with new color in the home.”

Credit: Sociey Social

Bring on the French blue

Looking for an innovative alternative to the classic pop of color? Consider painting your trim and millwork an unexpected hue. According to Roxy Te Owens, founder and creative director of Society Social, all signs point to blue for these kinds of features.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, this French blue is the new American neutral; it’s the new millennial pink,” she explains. “French blue not only caters to the traditionalist but also to grandmillennials, who are putting a fresh spin on traditional decorating.”

Best of all? Thanks to its gray undertones, French blue can act as a neutral, blurring the lines between subtle and statement.

Next-level neutrals

Many designers might favor bold pops of color for 2021, but don’t discredit those tried-and-true neutrals just yet. “People will be itching to get back outside and partake in a feeling of freedom, and travel might be back on the menu, so bright and airy spaces will beckon,” says designer Joy Williams. “Decor accents will be coated in muted shades of cream and ‘nude’ colorways.” In 2021, take your neutrals to the next level by pairing them with patterned furniture or wallpaper.