If you’re as obsessed with paint as we are, you’ve likely been keeping track of all the Colors of the Year, too. And you probably noticed the same trend we did: Nearly all of the 2022 honorees are greenfrom Benjamin Moore’s October Mist and Sherwin-Williams’s Evergreen Fog to Dutch Boy’s Cypress Garden and PPG’s Olive Spring.
Why the sudden surge in the popularity of verdant hues? Different colors have the power to evoke a range of emotions and can affect your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Green in particular is often associated with healing, tranquility, hope, stability, optimism, and harmony—so it’s unsurprising that the demand for the calming shade has soared in the wake of one of the most tumultuous years in history.
“Green is known to have a soothing, refreshing effect, especially in interiors—which is so important as we emerge from the pandemic,” says color expert Leatrice Eisemanthe executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “It is Mother Nature’s most ubiquitous neutral color, working in tandem with every other color in the spectrum.”
According to Dr. Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Somerville College (whose work focuses on how a better understanding of the human mind can lead to better design), the trend is likely linked to the “green and blue gym effect,” which suggests that exposure to colors with shorter wavelengths such as green and blue brings about feelings of tranquility, making exercise in spaces painted in those hues more relaxing and enjoyable.
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Erika Woelfel, Behr Paint’s vice president of color and creative services, cites a similar reason for her team’s decision to go with Breezeway as the brand’s featured shade for 2022. “Greens are ‘nature’s neutral’ and bring a sense of restorative comfort to a space,” she says, also noting their versatility: “They are popular for walls, cabinetry, doors and more. They work great as an accent or all-over room color and tend to fit with many different styles.”
Glidden, on the other hand, chose Guacamole Green as its star hue for the new year after conducting a Harris Poll survey, which revealed that 62% of Americans are willing to use green paint in their homes. “After studying the global impact of the past year, our experts recognized that green would be the ‘it’ color for 2022 and beyond,” the company said in a press release. According to the brand’s research, online searches for green paint colors have more than doubled since 2020, proving that “homeowners are in search of rejuvenation and regrowth after living through the strangest year on record.”
The color development team at Sherwin-Williams unearthed similar findings: “Based on our research, we were seeing neutral colors warming up, sustainability and organic living becoming key design trends, and organic textiles and natural materials are currently huge in home and design,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Green just made the most sense,” she adds. “I wanted the Color of the Year to reflect this idea of rebirth and growth and our collective newness for 2022, and Evergreen Fog was the perfect fit.”
Meanwhile, Benjamin Moore landed on October Mist after considering a number of viridescent possibilities, including High Park, Fernwood Greenand Morning Dew. “There was a range of greens from dark to light brought to the table during our research phase, but the team came back to October Mist again and again, signaling that there was something about this color that felt right for the time,” reveals Andrea Magno, the brand’s director of color marketing and development. “This year, it felt right to take an introspective approach. We considered personal and authentic experiences, plus cultural influences that in each team member look at color trends from unique perspectives.”
The rise of green, however, is far from a new fad. “Green has had a long history coming into prominence at particular points in time, going back to the late ’60s and ’70s when the environmental movements were taking root,” Eiseman notes. She also points out that the ’90s saw a resurgence in the movement to save rainforests, while the 2000s have been about preservation of the environment and climate change. “So this direction to green is really not so new, but an ongoing phenomenon.” Color us convinced.
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Kristin Tablang is a senior editor at House Beautiful, where she covers design, real estate, culture, and travel. Before joining HB, she served as the lifestyle assistant editor at Forbes and Haute Residence editor at Haute Living. Born and raised in New York, she’s a proud alumna of both the City’s Macaulay Honors College and Bronx High School of Science, and is currently an MBA candidate at NYU’s Stern School of Business. An avid photographer and gourmand with an insatiable wanderlust, she’d traverse the globe with just a fork and camera in hand if she could. Visit her website at www.kristintablang.com to view her complete works and get in touch.