2020 Colour Trends: Cool, Calm & Collected Right Here!


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We may receive a small commission – at no cost to youif you choose to make a purchase via a link. Check out our disclosure for more information. Thanks for getting into the Whole Mood!

UPDATE: if you’ve landed here with an interest in the Colour Trends for 2020, why not check out our brand new round-up of all the latest Colour Trends for 2021! See all the latest colour inspiration right here.

2020 has thrown us all for a curve. Whatever your plans were, the mission became one of self and community care. We need colour trends, inspiration, ideas and spaces to match. Soothing, calming, protective spaces, but spaces that are also stimulating to be in a lot more than we might be used to.

So, gone are the hot colours of recent years.

US paint giant Sherwin-Williams were the first major player to announce their Colour Trends for 2020-2021. Theirs is always an interesting bellwether for the design industries.

The team of colour scientists, statisticians and social psychologists at S-W look at the buying trends, design trends, the news stories and advertising, trying to extrapolate an idea of where fashion and design might take us in the next year.

It’s fascinating, subjective, creative work! As with all design, it’s all about what resonates, and from all this research, the colour team build a series of palettes using the tones they see coming to the fore.

So: where do these design fortune-tellers think the colour trends are headed for 2020 and the decade to come?

Let’s take a look at how you might rejuvenate those interiors you’re spending more time in than anyone expected.

What’s your 2020/2021 colour inspiration?


Colour Trends 2020 / 2021


S-W typically like a bold palette. Their predictions for 2019 were certainly that. When they announced their 2020/2021 colour trends it was almost shockingly calming! These 5 palettes were all intended as a response to “the fast pace of modern life and technology is leaving us all in need of a little more serenity in our interiors”.

Check them out:

Palette #1: Alive

The first palette is being called “Alive” by the forecasters. This evolves from 2019’s bright, sparkling jewel tones, deepening and enriching them. What were eye-catching accent tones have been turned into luxurious backgrounds. The rich blues and ripe, dark olive finishes echo mindful living and natural surroundings, as well as the vibrant organic colours of fruits and vegetables.

Keeping “Alive” – via Sherwin-Williams

Palette #2: Mantra

The Mantra palette is softer; a more neutral range without being at all bland! The balance of warm and cool tones is intended to imbue a pastel calm. This palette works really well in transition spaces; calm and cool with no need to overwhelm or intimidate.

Chant your “Mantra” – via Sherwin-Williams

Palette #3: Play

This is by far the most eye-catching of S-W’s 2020 palettes, and somewhat more typically Sherwin-Williams. “Play” is all about pops of colour; this is where the accent walls are still clinging on!

2019’s colour blocking was some of the most interesting movements in colour we’d seen for several years (along with maximalism and the return of exception wallpapers). Contrasting an accent wall with a dramatic sofa or sideboard will always create “a moment”.

Such bold design choices certainly don’t work for every room, but where so many of the S-W palettes trend towards the “subtle”, the colour trends here are as subtle as a rollercoaster! They’re really exciting to see.

Bright pink, aqua and gold are all about bringing joy to a space, and look at the drama of this aubergine. A real favourite.

Find time to “Play” – via Sherwin-Williams

Palette #4: Haven

Haven is all about nature, but with a stronger, even cooler take. From the depths of their infamous perle noir to the sea, sand, forest and sky shades are all about organic, natural elements; a slightly different take to the Alive palette, and one we really like.

Make a “Haven” for yourself – via Sherwin-Williams

Palette #5: Heart

S-W’s final palette is “Heart“. What better way to round off the year’s mindfulness theme?

These silky, neutral tones pair really well with those of Haven and Alive set. They bring a warmth with clove, soft coral and earth tones, giving a protective, insulated feeling to a space. Almost like a burrow. These are the “snuggle” tones you want to wrap around yourself to escape life’s hubbub.

It’s where the “Heart” is – via Sherwin-Williams

As for the rest…?

Of course, this is one company’s forecast, based on current trends.

Dulux made for an interesting contrast in their pick for 2020’s Colour of the Year.

Where Sherwin-Williams ultimately selected the luxuriously calm deep blue tone “Naval” from the “Alive” palette, the Dulux team forecast a tangential trend toward a less elemental – but no less natural – olive/forest green of Tranquil Dawn.

Both colours are so much cooler and more soothing than the ochres, reds and oranges of recent years. We loved them both at the time of their announcement, and our appreciation has only grown as 2020 developed, with all its turbulence outside and the desire for calmer, more soothing interiors.

As time has gone on, it’s the rich deep blue that has entranced us most.

When Pantone announced their choice of “Classic Blue” as the colour for 2020 it seemed only too perfect.

Check out our write-up of the Colour of the Year for more detail there.

We’re still looking forward to seeing how these colours might influence the designers. With the upheaval in schedule for the year’s design exhibitions, it’s becoming difficult to know when we’ll get to see those big reveals, but the anticipation only makes it that more exciting.

As always, the most important thing is how you use any of these colours.

How have they inspired your spaces?

Let us know in the comments below, on Instagram or by getting in touch.

You may also like