The Ultimate Guide to the Shade of Green You’ll See Everywhere in 2022

published Dec 9, 2021
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Credit: PPG, Behr Paint, Sherwin-Williams, Glidden, Valspar

You’re not just imagining things: Almost every paint company named a shade of sage green as its colors of the year for 2022. It should come as no surprise that the Apartment Therapy Slack channels were burning as six (!) national paint brands zeroed in on this hue for 2022. Though a lot of companies are often aligned in their outlook for the year ahead, there never have been so many similar shades announced at the same time. Since we take color seriously at Apartment Therapy, we decided to take a deep dive into this of-the-moment hue — and why it’s going to be so big next year.

What is the color of the year for 2022?

Different shades of soft, pale green are the color for 2022. On the grayish, sage-y end of the spectrum, there’s Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2022, October Mist (1495); Sherwin-Williams’ 2022 pick, Evergreen Fog (SW 9130), and Behr Paint’s color of the year, Breezeway (MQ3-21). Skewing a little more pistachio in tone are three more colors of the year: Glidden’s Guacamole (PPG1121- 5), PPG’s Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4), and Valspar’s Blanched Thyme (6001-4A), which is part of a larger trend palette. You can see examples of each shade as both a swatch and used in an interior above.

Credit: Alexis Buryk

Why did everyone choose the same color?

Sherry and John Petersik, the DIY experts and couple behind Young House Love, are known for their coverage of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, so when Benjamin Moore’s October Mist was announced two months ago, Sherry found herself thinking, “Huh, didn’t some other brands choose a similar color?” Petersik dove into analysis in hilarious series of Instagram Stories posts, speculating brands may have been thinking, “This color has been trending and well-received for a few years, so that feels safe and comforting right now, which is was we need” combined with “green is also a color of growth and new beginnings,” leading to everyone zeroing in on the same hue. 

“It’s a non-controversial generally well-liked tone that feels safe,” says Petersik of green. “It’s not too intense or scary to actually use in your home.” As Petersik pointed out in her posts, the major paint players are likely not thrilled they all chose similar colors, but by the time they realized what was happening, it was too late to change their plans.

Petersik’s hypothesis isn’t far off from how Andrea Magno, director of color marketing and development for Benjamin Moore, explains how her team settled on their hue. “October Mist (1495) was a standout among the colors being considered not only because of its rooted, organic, and comforting qualities but also because this hue has a mystical quality that captures the desire for escape and imagination.” As Magno’s team researched for 2022, she notes the green color family was prominent in many of the colors under consideration. “While the exact shade was something the team deliberated on for a while, it was clear that a color within the green family was the right direction,” says Magno. “Ultimately, October Mist (1495) had that right combination of presence and subtlety to form the cornerstone of the palette.”

Credit: Cathy Pyle

Why is soft green trending?

Design insiders outside the paint industry have also had their eye on greens in recent years. When furniture retailer CB2 surveyed designers about trends for 2021, 62 percent of the designers surveyed predicted uplifting, mineral-inspired hues, like sage green, to be the colors of choice this year. In 1stdibs’s 2021 trends survey, which polled more than 700 interior designers, green was chosen as the most on-trend color for 2021. I, myself, wrote about deeper shades of green trending back in 2019.

Sage-y greens have also been percolating in the world of fashion. In 2018, Who What Wear reported that searches for earthy greens tones including ‘moss green,’ ‘sage green,’ and ‘crocodile green’ were up 19 percent; in 2019, British GQ deemed “swampy” as the new “style sage;” in early 2020, Who What Wear again cited sage green as the color they were most excited, and this past summer Rachel Zoe gave the color her blessing.

In an interview with Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Eiseman explained to me how color trends reach the home market. She said it’s common for colors to hit fashion first and reach the home market later. As our eye becomes used to a hue by seeing it on clothes and accessories, we become ready to use the color in a bigger way at home. Perhaps the idea of nature plays into the equation here, too. Since people are used to seeing shades of green outside their doors, they’re more inclined to want to bring them inside, particularly over the past few years, where escaping to whatever nature is nearby has been a refuge for some.

How can I use sage green at home?

The good news: Sage green is easy to use. Greens — and soft greens especially — are versatile hues that look good with almost everything and work with a variety of design styles. Think of this “new” green as a neutral! The lightest shades of sage can even be a nice alternative to white, especially in a space that looks out onto a view of trees or grass.

Sage green’s also a great alternative to everyone’s “safe” color choice: blue. “For a lot of people, there is an instant comfort working with blues,” says New York-based interior designer Emily Butler. However, Butler says this sentiment can often lead to what she calls “bluetral,” a sort of uncommitted world of beige and blues. Sage green is a non intimidating way for even color phobes to dip into a more distinct palette.

Sage greens also work for those who love color. Shavonda Gardner, a Sacramento, California-based designer and one of Sherwin-Williams partners for their Color of the Year unveiling, showed how the popular green can be used in a bolder way. For a friend’s bedroom makeover, Gardner opted to cover everything — walls, ceiling, doors, and trim — in Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog (SW 9130). The result is a color-confident room that’s also grounded and soothing.

Whatever your personal style, there’s sure to be a way to embrace 2022’s color of the year. Try it on your walls, as the paint manufacturers would like you to, dress your bed in sage-y linens, or wake up your bathroom with fresh green towels. If you want even more advice, from the colors this hue pairs well with to the finishes and furniture that best complement it, check out this sage green decorating guide from a few years ago when it was just starting to pick up popularity as a color for the home. We can’t wait to see all the ways designers in the AT community — and you! — use this soothing, nature-inspired shade in the year ahead.