The Little Known Truth About The Color Of The Year 2017




Well, it’s that time of year again.

It’s when three giants of the paint and color industry Pantone, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams announce their COLOR OF THE YEAR.

Of course we all know that all this is, is marketing bullshit.

There. I said it.

So, thanks for stopping by and you can go back to your gift wrapping and cookie baking.




When it comes to the announcement of the Color of the Year 2017, it’s very much like having a baby.


You get pregnant and it’s nine months of nausea, pain, getting fat, pain, worry, pain followed by an excruciating labor and delivery followed by a helpless ball of butter that throws up and poops every two hours.

And then, two years later, it is all completely forgotten and one decides to do it all over again. haha.


The color of the year is just like that.



I don’t know.

But every once in a while, like the hamster experiment with intermittent reinforcement, I think that they get it just right.

And although many disagree with me, which is fine, I thought that Benjamin Moore’s choice of Simply White for their 2016 color of the year was simply mahhhhvelous, divine and exceedingly brave.


This year, Benjamin Moore went dark.

very dark.


Benjamin Moore color of the year 2017 shadow

And for the color of the year, they choice a deep, deep shade called Shadow.

Shadow is a deep, deep purple.


It’s not a bad color. In fact it is one down on the strip below my bedroom color and a color in the Laurel Home Essential Paint Color Collection, Tropical Dusk.

However, there is a tremendous gap. Tropical Dusk is medium dark and Shadow is just downright dark and with a distinct Barney undertone. And for those reasons, it makes it a very difficult color to work with.


Also. Nobody is using it. One way to find that out is to google the color and then hit images.

Just click this and you’ll see what I mean.


Oh, you’ll see images, but they are all Benjamin Moore’s marketing images for color of the year 2017.


It definitely needs to go in a small space like maybe a powder room.


But I think that there are better choices if one wants a deep, rich aubergine.


I think a better choice, if wanting a deep purple would have been Benjamin Moore’s Caponata AF-650 (above) It has more brown and red which gives more richness, in my opinion.

But actually, their color of the year for 2011 was Vintage wine– very similar to Caponata. Just found that out.

I’m surprised that they went with another deep purple so soon.


Jane Scott Hodges – photo: Paul Costello

This is more the color I wish it was.

Another view of Shadow, but notice the bright green.


If we go one shade brighter, we’ll come to Pantone’s color of the year 2017 – Greenery


It’s not a complete disaster; Like the others it’s close.

But if only the swatch didn’t look so much like a green hi-liter.



Or remind me of one of the most disgusting scenes ever shot in a movie.

Sorry. I hope you weren’t eating dinner or something. ;]

I mean, I love green and I adore yellow-greens.

But this color “Greenery” does not exist in nature.

unless acid-green toxic waste is considered natural.

I would’ve preferred one of the yellow greens in my paint collection which believe me is plenty bright

Benjamin Moore Green Thumb CSP-870


And here is close to what it looks like in this beautiful library by Charles Spada.


For more great shades of green, please click here.


Sherwin Williams pick for Color of the Year is their Poised Taupe 6039.

And actually, I do like this color.

In fact it is very close to another Laurel Home Essential Paint Color Collection Color – Smoked Oyster

These colors are also purple. Yes, there’s a lot of gray and brown, but the purple is definitely there. Only Sherwin Williams is leaving that part out.

And the other thing I don’t like is that their marketing shots are off.


These are too pale and look like the color one or even two above poised taupe!

The shot below is much closer to the depth of Poised Taupe.

The poised taupe above on the right of the room is closer to how deep it really is.


But, one of the worst problems is the colors that both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paired their colors of the year with.


Above is Benjamin Moore’s palette and below is Sherwin Williams palette.


Yuck. Both are phenomenally depressing to me and with clashing shades. And notice how similar they are? Maybe there are double agents or spies involved. I don’t know, but that’s a little freaky.

I really wish one of these companies would not be afraid to come out with a rich navy like Gentleman’s Gray (warmer) or Deep Royal (cooler) – both fabulous colors and again, part of the Laurel Home Collection. And that also includes the paint palettes now.

And I’m getting the sweetest comments too!


Here are a few of the recent notes I’ve received

(and some for Laurel’s Rolodex.)


Claudia said: November, 2016

I have purchased the original color palette and use it DAILY on my phone. I love it…I love you! You are a godsend! I bought that back months ago.


Teresa said: November, 2016

I am really enjoying the boards, Laurel. I consider them my training guide. As an example, soon I’ll be buying lamps because I have learned from your blog that I need lamps. (I plugged in some really ugly lamps I have from the bedroom, just to test the lamp light theory.

Wow, I’ve been missing out! ) Anyway, I have been studying the lamps from your examples so that I will make good decisions for a change. I am being stubborn about spending hundreds on a lamp. I know, I should just do it. It is so funny what we decide to place importance on. I’ll drop hundreds on a tree for the yard yet refuse to spend money on jewelry…. or lamps!!! It is really weird, but there it is.
my inconsistencies aside, the boards are a very good learning tool! I’m trying to get to the point where I see timeless design, good design, and these boards are great for that.


Monica said: November, 2016

Thank you for sending the code.  I’m enjoying my purchase.  Can’t tell you how many times I have referred to the Rolodex!


Candace said: November, 2016

Love your blog, your paint color collection (helps me to simplify when choosing client colors), as well as your Rolodex. I’ve found some great resources that I had never heard of. Thanks for sharing your immense knowledge and experience. And for doing it all with a sense of humor. If we didn’t have a sense of humor we’d have to have gotten out of this business a long time ago, right?


The reason I’m mentioning this is while I did promise no gift guides—


But IF

you’re desperate, or even not desperate for a great last-minute gift, please consider purchasing one or both of these great products for someone(s) on your list.


Yes, these are PDF files, but there is an option to give as a gift after you’ve put the item(s) in your shopping cart. You put in the person’s name and email address and you can even put in when you would like your gift to arrive.

Any questions, please just contact me on the contact page and/or leave a comment and I’ll respond.

Well, I will see you on Christmas Day because it’s on a Sunday this year. But of course will understand that many of you will be busy with your families.

Much excitement coming up but I’m going to have to leave you in suspense for now.

Please have a joyous, safe and healthy holiday!

Much Love,


  • Ellen Shook - December 22, 2016 - 9:30 PM

    I quite like Greenery. It is very similar to Fresh Sprout which we put in our living room last year.. We are still happy with the choice. I cannot abide dull drab colors. I figure that is how it will look when I am dead.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - December 22, 2016 - 6:37 PM

    when it comes to green, only jadeite green will do for me or something similar.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - December 22, 2016 - 11:37 AM

    I think the color of the year choices work better for clothing or maybe just as highlights in the home. I remember when I had a purple dress and thought it would be just the thing to wear when I had a granny-smith apple to carry around for contrast.
    (not normally into yellow-greens, and agree whole-heartedly on the Exorcist analogy)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 23, 2016 - 12:28 AM

      Hi Sandy,

      That’s a good point about accents. And I realize too, that the color of the year is for clothing, cosmetics, appliances…ReplyCancel

  • Teresa Kilpatrick - December 22, 2016 - 11:33 AM

    You are absolutely correct on all of your comments and corrections. Too dark. and the purple just happens to be the democrat color of choice presently. Coincidence? But who cares about that, right? I’m new to the “color of the year” deal and unknowingly started using the 2016 color of the year, Rose Quartz and a shade of Serendipty, along with the gold and antique white palate. I love it, and it works for my older, colonial, ranch home. Love your website!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 23, 2016 - 12:27 AM

      Thanks so much Teresa. I always say to go with what you love. That is the color of the year! (or much longer!)ReplyCancel

  • Amy, Home Glow Design - December 22, 2016 - 11:18 AM

    Green Thumb is one of my favorite colors ever. If I ever get to do my dream butler’s pantry — that will be the color. And I just posted that Charles Spada library to my IG Account yesterday as my favored take on Greenery. So honored and humbled to think I might have similar tastes to the awesome Laurel Bern! 😉ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 11:30 AM

      Hi Amy,

      How sweet you are! I’m definitely a “green girl” but what I didn’t realize until a few years ago is that I’m a “blue girl” too. I really need at least three homes! But someone else would need to maintain them! lolReplyCancel

  • Em - December 22, 2016 - 11:00 AM

    Laurel…You sure as shi(p) make me laugh out loud.

    I usually am WAY too cheap to seek the qualified advice of a keen-eyed professional. I much prefer to waste my husband’s hard-earned dollar on poor choices in upholstery and paint, then regret it until we rinse and repeat.

    BUT I swear, you are turning me into a believer…albeit reluctantly. I’m thinking I might have to pry open the tightly knotted drawstring on my dainty victorian purse, release the moths, and buy your paint and pallet set.

    After the holidays, I’d love to paint our dining room and living room….it would be nice to select a grayish shade that doesn’t look like crap with our cherry “investment” dining room set. I bet your package would help!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 11:27 AM

      Hi Em,

      Thanks so much. I think the paint collection/palette bundle would be very helpful! And thanks for giving me a chuckle too!ReplyCancel

  • Anne - December 22, 2016 - 8:36 AM

    Great post Laurel! I consider your blog to be one of the gifts of 2016. The election made this a tough year and I needed all the laughter and design-talk I could get. I agree with your comments about the colors, except that I don’t share your love of white. But someday I bet I’ll suddenly love it! BTW, I came upon an interesting Sherwin color the other day–Canyon Clay. It looks like clay in some light and totally plum in others. Magical!

    And I second everyone’s positive comments about your Color Guide and Rolodex. I’ve been in this business a long time. I know color very well and have resources galore. But there are fabulous things to learn in your Guide and Rolodex, plus it’s all organized so beautifully AND infused with your joie de vivre. Priceless!
    Can’t wait to see what you bring to 2017. Cheers!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 11:02 AM

      Hi Anne,

      Wow! Thank you so much for the kind, kind words about my products. I’m very proud of them, but love it when I hear how others are benefiting and enjoying them too! And it’s absolutely fine that you don’t feel about white the way I do. I love lots of different things; more-so than many.

      There are lots of wonderful things on the horizon. Here’s to joy, health and prosperity for all!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Johnson - December 22, 2016 - 8:31 AM

    You said in your blog: “I really wish one of these companies would not be afraid to come out with a rich navy like Gentleman’s Gray (warmer) or Deep Royal (cooler) – both fabulous colors and again, part of the Laurel Home Collection. And that
    also includes the paint palettes now”.

    If you look above that comment you will see that Benjamin Moore had Gentlemen’s Gray listed on their paint colors. It is #2062.20.
    I love Benjamin Moore paints and use them almost exclusively.
    Karen JohnsonReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 10:57 AM

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, I too noticed that they have Gentleman’s Gray and it sucks in the palette! It clashes horribly with the cool purple-y Shadow IMO and I can’t think of any other colors that would bring those two adversaries together.ReplyCancel

  • Betty - December 22, 2016 - 8:22 AM

    Good morning, sipping my coffee and thinking about the 2017 color of the year, I wonder if perhaps BM picked such a dark color to contrast with the white of this year. Light one year – dark the next? I must say if I had stairs which I don’t, they would look like the swirling staircase in your example – stunning.

    Have a lovely weekend Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 10:53 AM

      Hi Betty,

      I imagine that they did choose a dark color because of last year’s white. I wish they had chosen a black. But they probably didn’t have the stomach for it. lol. But I would’ve loved a deep rich navy. I said that last year too!ReplyCancel

  • pat - December 22, 2016 - 5:13 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I AGREE with you whole-heartedly on the Color of the Year choices! What were they thinking??!! Shadow and Greenery – yuck – I am just going to stick with your color palettes when choosing for either my clients or myself -That’s a No Fail !

    Thanks for the wonderful emails- I look forward to them every Sunday and Wednesday!

    Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah – I will look forward to the Post on Christmas. It will be my sanity during the craziness!!


    • Laurel Bern - December 22, 2016 - 10:50 AM

      Hi Pat,

      I never know how folks will react to my comments and of course, don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Well… except for those horrid palettes. lol Happy holidays to you as well! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Jenny - December 22, 2016 - 3:46 AM

    Love, love this post!
    And I’m enchanted with purple since I was a teen..took me many years so to put it on the walls..

    I have a color very similar to Poised Taupe(that is not called a Poised Taupe since it’s by Dunn’s called Twilight Taupe, and you’re right it’s more brownish, reddish, and reads more mysterious to me as such..)
    And I have a color that’s close to Tropical Dusk too..I love it since it’s changing like crazy, it has enough gray in it to be great deep yet lighter purple that reads “evening”( it separates dining from living), yet it’s lighthearted enough in the sunshine, morning and day. It’s called California Dreaming, and I took a big chance with it, breaking my own rules-but I love it, and everybody loves it, so I guess that was an appropriate rule-breaking.
    The new place is small and not big and “majestic” like the old one, and family was skeptic, like, a lot-they admired the previous place. Sometimes I myself got cold feet. Well now some of them are finally here for the holidays (good that we managed to fix the slab leak just a day prior to their arrival..))-and they’re loving it, it’s so cozy, and frankly-I don’t miss the old place, as beautiful as it was. I’m so surprised I don’t, but well, that’s how it is. Maybe also because we didn’t sell it yet-so hard to miss something that’s still yours? lol
    I don’t care what color is the color of the year except for when it inspires me..emerald definitely did, from what I remember. But it’s probably a nice game to play:)

    I must add -I’d love to hear your opinion on staging..we agreed to that since it’s our realtor mode, and they turned my lovely old place to Hobby Lobby filial. It became cheap and tacky, and I’m SO upset. Took all the art down (of course we had to paint yet again and touch up and whatnot), put prints..changed everything, down to the bedding and pillows(suzani and ikat are offensive?)..everything became “demographically pleasing”..stupid settings on the table, giant silk orchids (while I had plenty live ones), hurricanes full of je ne sais quoi in a literal sense..killed my house. I understand staging is needed sometimes, but it was a huge miss. Photos are awful, I’m ashamed to look at them myself-how can I expect others to like it?
    Sorry for this off top; but if you decide to ever do post of staging-that would be cool.

    OK that was long so I’ll try to shut now. But not before I shout:
    Happy Holidays!!! May this winter be warm and nice to you, and
    may miracles not hesitate to come.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Leyble - December 21, 2016 - 10:39 PM

    Great post as always!

    I used Benjamin Moore’s Caponata in a client’s living room – came out great. It is a much better color than Shadow!! Sherwin William’ choice made me scratch my head too…but it’s a better choice than Shadow! Greenery was a weird choice too – loved your color pick of Green Thumb better.

    Sometimes I wonder about the people picking these colors!!

    Loving your Paint Palette – it’s been a great tool for me when helping clients to pick colors! Thanks for the bonus the other day! I forgot about that.


    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 11:03 PM

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks so much! Glad you’re loving the colors and paint palettes too. And yes, everyone gets a new bonus board/palette through October 2017– at least.ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - December 21, 2016 - 10:13 PM

    Hi Laurel, I agree with all of your color comments. A question: do you think the choice of Shadow reflects a need to compete with Farrow and Ball?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 10:21 PM

      Hi Naomi,

      Do you mean in terms of a deeper color? Or are you thinking of a particular color? I love Benjamin Moore. But they are not quite up with the times in many ways.ReplyCancel

      • Naomi - December 22, 2016 - 8:44 AM

        Yes, in terms of a deeper color. Wanting to market themselves to compete with F&B’s moodiness. This is the only reason I can think they would pick this difficult tone. Would love to know your thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - December 21, 2016 - 9:37 PM

    And ewwww, the green is just hideous. I truly hope we do not see it interiors or fashion!ReplyCancel

    • Mitzi - December 22, 2016 - 6:51 PM

      Hey, Pantone, Kermit the Frog called and he wants his color back. Seriously, there are greens and then there’s acid green. I just can’t see decorating with it.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - December 23, 2016 - 12:30 AM

        Hi Mitzi,

        It boggles my mind. They have thousands of colors and could have selected something toned down, but I’m beginning to think that they do this to get people talking about them!ReplyCancel

        • Mitzi - December 23, 2016 - 11:29 AM

          I am a green fanatic. Olive, Sage, glass, I love all green. But I can’t see the Pantone being anything but a very sparing accent color. I agree, I think they just wanted to get people talking, maybe distract us from the rest of the news of the day for a bit!

        • Laurel Bern - December 23, 2016 - 12:07 PM


    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 9:44 PM

      Oh we will… BUT… they will tone it down, just like they always do and change it to what it should have been!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - December 21, 2016 - 9:36 PM

    Totally agree on the Caponata! I love that color – it’s currently the shade on our front door. Rich with lots of depth!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 9:43 PM

      Hi Tracey,

      Yeah… I just think that BM has so many gorgeous colors and Shadow is about a C- By far, not the worst, but I would not like to live with a big drink of that color!ReplyCancel

  • Terry Lewis - December 21, 2016 - 9:28 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Happy Holidays and thank you again for all of your posts.

    The whole, “color of the year,” is just laughable. Except that I do love B.M. Simply White. And with your approval, (and I do mean I needed approval,) and the inspiration of designer Robert Brown, we painted our newly renovated basement Simply White; walls and trim and ceiling, (different finishes obviously.) And it is beautiful.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah.


    Terry LewisReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 9:41 PM

      Thanks so much Terry and same to you! My mom’s maiden name was Lewis. :]ReplyCancel

  • Mary - December 21, 2016 - 9:10 PM

    Love your suggestions and posts. I just moved to the coast and painted most of my interior rainforest dew…amazing!!! Wouldn’t have thought about it if not for you. In love with it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2016 - 9:18 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much! That is a pretty one. So glad you like it. I think those palettes could use a cheerful, but soft color like that!ReplyCancel