Ever look at a painting and wish you could live inside it? With this year’s palette, you can. We’ve picked the loveliest, most livable colors you’d find in an impressionist landscape: mossy green, daffodil yellow, sky blue, raspberry, and a violet so subdued it never gets cloying. We show you how to use them to create rooms that are masterpieces of color, comfort, and calm.
Meet the Colors
The plucked-from-nature hues in this year’s palette harmonize because most of them share an undercurrent of coolness and a similar intensity. They’re vivid but grayed-back just enough to make them easy to live with.
Raspberry: If there’s such a thing as a subdued fuchsia, this is it. Blue undertones pull it closer to purple than pink and help it blend with the other cool colors. Rose Petal Pink, 26/335, Glidden
Daffodil: The clearest, happiest yellow in town and the only truly warm color in our palette. It packs a punch, so use sparingly. Sunny Summer, S-G-380, Behr
Violet: Meet the purple that thinks it’s a neutral. An abundance of gray gives it depth and velvety richness. Violet Verbena, PPG1169-5, PPG Paints
Sky Blue: Because everything in nature goes with the sky. A touch of gray mutes this blue so it looks fresh and grounded. October Sky, 25-4, Pratt & Lambert
Mossy Green: Brown undertones put this green in the territory of forest and foliage hues, so it really shines with daffodil, violet, and raspberry. Inverness, SW6433, Sherwin-Williams
Mushroom: A light gray-beige that’s not too cool, not too warm, but just right for bringing pastel colors down to earth. Moth Gray, PPG1429, PPG Paints
When the beige and purple in our palette take the lead, you get a comfy cocoon energized by jolts of sunny yellow and earthy green. “People think of beige as safe and boring, but it can be so rich,” says Dara Caponigro, creative director at fabric company F. Schumacher. “The key is to vary the textures — like velvet, leather, and linen — and to vary the shades.”
As for accent colors, take British design icon Terence Conran’s advice: “Don’t overdo it. Where every accent is a different color, the effect will be muddled rather than uplifting.”
Sometimes art imitates life, sometimes vice versa. When style director Jessica Thomas came across this 1927 painting by Australian impressionist John Peter Russell, she fell in love. The way the lush flower colors blend into one another and the happy serenity of the scene became the inspiration for this year’s palette and the rooms that illustrate it.
Peeking over Monet’s shoulder, you’d have seen colors like these. Each dazzles on its own; together they make a hazy rainbow that’s soothing but also has the right amount of feel-good energy.
“This palette is fresh and vibrant, but at the same time rich and moody. Gray undertones add a dusty, muted quality that feels sophisticated,” says interior designer Kishani Perera.
This bedroom is positively drenched in color — hello, violet walls, blue comforter, and spring green pillowcases — yet looks tranquil and dreamy. Why? Interior designer Rosa Beltran breaks it down: “Using a palette of analogous cool tones (those next to each other on the color wheel) creates a calming, soothing vibe. Adding another analogous hue like green gives visual interest while keeping the harmony.”
Even more visual interest comes from the headboard and its showstopping watercolor floral pattern. The way the abstract, blurry irises almost dance against the white background adds a sense of movement to this tranquil space. The pattern also incorporates the very lightest and darkest versions of our main colors, which we echoed in the eggplant shams and the pale green blanket.
Natural fibers are an easy fix if a room starts looking too precious or formal. Just adding a seagrass basket, bench, or rug can take the decor in a more casual direction.
Wall Color: Violet Verbena, PPG1169-5, PPG Paints
Green is nature’s neutral — all variations of it look good together. The deep forest green in our palette keeps the purple and pink from looking too sweet.
PS: You need a dark green vase. Plop in any flowers you like and they will look great, the same way they do on the stem.
Call it what you like — tan, taupe, sand, greige — but a light, slightly warm beige is a can’t-miss choice for walls, furniture, or upholstery. It’s cozier and softer than white and gray, which have held sway as neutrals of choice the past few years, and every bit as versatile. Try these accommodating, atmospheric beiges.
Paint Colors: top right, Oyster Shoal, VR100C, Valspar; bottom right, Porous Stone, DE6220, Dunn-Edwards; left, Mesa Verde Tan, AC-33, Benjamin Moore