How Green Became the “It” Color for 2010

Green is looking to be the “it” color of 2010, reflecting a new decade and, perhaps, new beginnings. According to Benjamin Moore, its Cedar Green 2034-40 paint color may be the one to turn to as we turn the calendar pages on a year that’s been exceedingly challenging.

Cedar Green Family Room
Benjamin Moore is predicting that its Cedar Green 2034-40 will be THE color for 2010.

“Green has such meaning and symbolism,” said Sonu Mathew, ASID, a Benjamin Moore Paints senior interior designer. “It represents renewal, and is eternally the color of spring and new growth. In recent years, it has become the emblem of the environment, shorthand for the global movement that’s dedicated to preserving and conserving our planet.”

“Green also is the easiest color for the eye to see, and the most restful and comforting of all. Cedar Green…is on the yellow end of the spectrum. It’s a color that, on its own, can contribute a vibrant pop to a room, or creates a softer look when paired with neutrals. It also is a perfect foil for bright contrasts, such as deep blues and orangey reds.”

Media Room with Midnight Navy and Cedar Green
Benjamin Moore asked Mark Chamberlain, a fine arts painter and muralist, to demonstrate the versatility of Cedar Green. He applied it in a bold flame stitch pattern that includes Midnight Navy 2067-10, Meditation AF-395 and Opaline OC-33, adding a dramatic “punch” wall to a media room with a decidedly modern aesthetic.

I’ve always wondered, ‘how exactly does a team decide on the “it” color?‘ I asked Mathew how she and the Benjamin Moore team come up with color trends for the coming year and what goes into the decision making process.

“It’s definitely a lot of confident paying attention to what’s going on in the world,” said Mathew. We have a fantastic team of colorists, and all approach the project with a different perspective about color. I look at socio-economic trends….Color is a great indicator of what is happening in society.”

I started to understand as Mathew explained more. “It’s about a society’s embrace of cultural attributes of color,” she said. For example, after 2001 everyone had to have a red dining room. It’s the color of passion and patriotism and a reflection of what was happening in the U.S.”

I learned that Benjamin Moore and others try to be responsible with their color forecasts, so we all don’t go insane trying to keep up. Like being sure that this year’s “it” color blends and coordinates well with last year’s and with next year’s.

“Colors are evolutionary not revolutionary,” said Mathew. “Red went to orange, orange went to yellow. As we move forward, green is the next color family.”

Mathew, who also reports on all things color and design at her blog, Living in Color with Sonu, is fascinated by the color selection process.

“All the colorists come to the table and fight for the color and prove why a certain color will be important, current and fashion-forward,” said Mathew.

Armed with inspiration from society, fashion, automobiles, TV, you name it; the colorists deliberate and begin to see repetitive themes emerge. Then they know they are close to choosing the “it” color and color trends.

“You need to be more of an organic thinker,” said Mathew. “You fight and debate, you have the right group of people for a collective consciousness and then you have this Aha! moment and see a common thread.”

Mathew’s team strives to predict colors that will coordinate with other home decor products. “If you know that greens are important, you know that other home products are going to be available in many of these greens.”

So what do we do with this information? I know that some of us Design Junkies will dive in, grab the roller and repaint the family room. But others are more timid.

“It depends on your color personality,” said Mathew. “People who are just starting should start small and experiment with accents of colors—throw pillows accessories—or with wall trim and molding. People believe that trim has to be white, I firmly do not believe that.”

Benjamin Moore’s official declaration of the 2010 trend colors will be available for consumers soon after the first of the year, featured in a free booklet, Envision Color 2010, offered by the company’s network of paint and decorating retailers throughout North America. Although Cedar Green leads the parade of what’s hot in the coming year, the publication will include 18 colors organized into three palettes.

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16 Comments for “How Green Became the “It” Color for 2010”

What an interesting article and insight into how Benjamin Moore works out their “hot” new colors. Now I wonder how they come up with those paint names…. I’ve visited your site several times and particularly enjoy the idea of setting the challenges. What a fun idea! Keep up the good work.

I haven’t even moved yet, Kathy, and I am planning on green for my home office in whatever new house we go into. There is a restful aspect to it, but the shades I’m looking at make me think “bright”, “happy”, “fresh”.

As usual, Benjamin Moore is right on target in their color projections. I have been watching the greens move in this direction – a smidge bluer, cheerier, clean and fresh. This is a very comfortable color, and green never saw a wood tone it didn’t love.

Now, if someone could just show this tone to HGTV, and all those designed to sell homes that are using the same greyer green as they update them….

Hi Terrie,

Thanks for your thoughts on the article. It’s something I have always wondered, “How are color trends declared?” Sonu knows her stuff and exudes enthusiasm. Better yet, I understand now how a trained team can put a finger on these things. Fun point about the names; let’s see if someone from Benjamin Moore reads this and gives us some insight.

And I appreciate your feedback on the site; I hope you keep visiting. And hey, why don’t you jump in and give one of the Challenges a whirl?

— Kathy

Hey Kathy,

This green is fresh and upbeat, isn’t it? I think we need that now. Best wishes with your house hunt and your future office; we’d love to see some Before and After photos!

Have fun!

Hi Linda,

It’s great to get your perspective on this; it’s fascinating to know how various designers track color. Great point about the wood tones; that will make this easy to mix with woodwork and many existing furnishings.

I wonder, who from the real-estate makeover shows will read your last comment? That will make for some interesting color conversation.

Thanks for clicking by,
— Kathy

[…] This post was Twitted by decondemand […]

Hi everyone! Kathy, thanks for the stellar job here!! The site’s fantastic.
Terrie, you were the final inspiration for me with the comment about color names & I’m posting about how we come up with color names all week. Please check out my thoughts on naming color at my blog

Hi Sonu,

Thanks for dropping by (and for the compliment)!

So many of us are fascinated by color and it’s wonderful to learn how the pros work with it.

And Design Junkies be sure to click Sonu’s link above and read her color naming posts. What a hoot! I love some of the comments about the 70’s colors like ‘Dirty Martini’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’

Keep it colorful,
— Kathy

I love the colors, it gives a cooler feeling in the eyes which striked the colors directly through the furnitures inside the room.

Yes, i do love green in fact my restroom is colored green and i think it is really refreshing. thanks for the infos i have read.

Hi Nenz,

That does sound refreshing.

I find myself relaxed in a green room, a bit like being in the forest I guess.

Thanks for stopping in,
— Kathy

[…] the design magazines and see how the color trend predictions unfold throughout the year.  Leading paint companies and others also make their trend […]

We just painted our son’s nursery in Cedar Green. We love how lush it is. Walking into the room makes me think of a clean chalkboard and all the possibilities the color of the room brings. We are still working on laying hardwood floors (red oak because the rest of the house is). We haven’t decided on a floor finish or a trim color. Hope to find suggestions.

Hi Amanda,

The Cedar Green will make such a happy room — he’s a lucky little boy! I found a few colors on Benjamin Moore’s site that coordinate well the color. In the photo I used in the post, the artist has painted the color “Calm” (OC-22) on the trim. Also on the ceiling—that I think a lovely touch—is “Pale Celery” (OC-116).

Here’s a link to the Envision 2010 collections, where you can click on Interiors to see the detail of that room, and on the “Alternate View Collection to find more colors that coordinate well with Cedar Green.

And who knows, maybe our friend Sonu will pop in and comment with more ideas.

Keep on decorating Amanda! Such an exciting time in your life.

[…] 2010, green seems to be the theme sneaking its way into living rooms around town. Find out why and take a look at this green’afied […]

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