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Living In Color: 2020 Colors Of the Year Channel Calm and Nature

by | Jan 16, 2020 |

It’s no surprise that paint companies and trend forecasters spend so much time choosing a color of the year. They know that color can have an enormous effect on our daily outlook. Many homeowners, interior designers, architects, and landscape architects take color into consideration as it impacts everything from the color on the walls to the natural stone selected for projects.

Two decades ago, Pantone introduced their first color of the year. Since then, other companies have joined the fray. We asked several experts how this year’s color of the year will impact how homeowners design their homes and what types of natural stone choices they might make.

Powder room featuring Soleil quartzite. Photo courtesy of Shumaker Design & Build Associates.


Color Sets the Tone

“One of the great aspects of natural stone is that it sets the precedence for the space. You build off of the beauty of the natural stone to evoke a specific design style or feeling you want for that room,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams.

Sherwin-Williams chose Naval as their 2020 Color of the Year.

Sherwin-Williams’ 2020 color of the year is a navy-tone: SW 6244 Naval. “Pairing SW 6244 Naval with a variety of natural stone elements – countertops, flooring, stone veneer accents, for example – only enhances the beauty and design style that the homeowner or designer is trying to achieve,” Wadden adds. “Naval and natural stone both can be manipulated for a variety of design styles, including art deco, farmhouse, and industrial. The possibilities are endless.”

Behr’s 2020 Color of the Year is Back to Nature (S340-4), which was inspired by nature and the world around us. “Influenced by our innate desire to connect with nature, this biophilic shade imparts a fresh sense of vitality,” says Erika Woelfel, VP of Color and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company. “Just as plants release oxygen into the air, incorporating an ecological green in the home helps purify and promote a balanced space—bringing the outside, inside.”

Behr’s 2020 Color of the Year, Back to Nature, pairs well with natural stone accents.


Color as Design Inspiration for Natural Stone

Color of the year revelations are fun for homeowners and designers because they remind us of what’s trending, but most people don’t make long-term decisions based on them.

“Our clients are inspired by one material. Sometimes it’s a natural stone slab,” says Suzanne Shumaker, principal of Evanston, Illinois-based Shumaker Design + Build Associates. “Sometimes it’s a color, or maybe it’s a piece of art they already own.”

Shumaker will bring up the color of the year during a design meeting if the color happens to work for the project. In some cases, she says, her clients will deviate from the color and aim for something different, hoping to set the next trend.

Still, this year’s color trends very much align with recent projects. White and grey stones pair well with blue cabinetry, for example.

To use the full slab from a kitchen project, Shumaker carried the natural stone into the powder room. The stone is a Brazilian quartzite called Soleil sourced from Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois. “The leather finish softens the bold veining,” says Shumaker, who calls it a piece of art. The paint is Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue, a blue grey. Bathed in a warm natural light, it has a green undertone.

For even more depth and texture to the space, which used to be a narrow closet, Shumaker added an unlacquered brass faucet from Waterworks. “We designed the vanity cabinet to run the entire length of the powder room, which allowed the stone to show off its long linear veins,” Shumaker adds. “The toilet is on axis with the door, but the window and vanity stay the focal point with use of color, light and the stone.”

Soleil quartzite. Photo courtesy of Shumaker Design & Build Associates.

Wadden agrees that coupling blues and white or gray marbles are a strong combination.

“Bringing natural elements that evoke the outdoors is a great way to start the morning,” admits Wadden. “Natural stone and a deep classic blue is the perfect combo to achieve balance. Naval provides a complementary backdrop for a beautiful marble vanity either as a wall color or as a cabinet color. It plays perfectly with the creamy white and gray veining.”

“Another way to pair natural stone with Naval would be to add a color-coordinating slab—for example, Blue Pearl granite—as an accent wall to be seen through a glass shower door to add another dose of spa-like elegance to your daily routine,” she adds.

In this client’s kitchen, Shumaker paired a caling Brazilian Calacatta quartzite with blue cabinetry.

Blues and greens are also making appearances in kitchens.

In one client’s kitchen, Shumaker selected a calming Brazilian Calacatta quartzite for its grey tones and fine white veins to accompany the blue cabinets that are the room’s focal point.

Wadden feels Naval cabinetry with full natural stone backsplashes—such as a Sea Pearl quartzite—can create a truly modern look. “For that wow factor, installing Van Gogh quartzite makes a stunning island when paired with Naval to give your kitchen a truly one-of-a-kind look,” she says.

Nature-tones like the green Behr is highlighting this year can also inspire rooms. For another client’s kitchen, Shumaker noted that the client wanted the colors and material choices to reflect the idea of being outdoors, warm weather, and connecting with trees and greenery. Shumaker chose Soleil quartzite to complement the soft green hue on the walls.

Neutrals are often the foundation of a homeowners’ palettes but it’s possible to choose materials to work with each other, including the colors of the materials, so they’re not fighting to be a focal point. Adding natural stone to the mix can be a great way to punch up or balance the colors chosen, whether it’s a color of the year or not.


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