Groovy, baby: 1970s colors like gold, green and turquoise are making a comeback
Growing up, my family had shag carpeting so thick it was like running through a grassy field in summer except without the grass and not nearly as comfortable.
The shag carpeting was gold and our appliances were avocado because it was the '70s and that was the style. "Neutral" wasn't really a word in our house.
These days, warm, bold hues with a distinct 1970s vibe -- think turquoise, gold and, yes, avocado or mossy green -- are making a comeback. Experts say they're "grounding" hues that create a sense of warmth at home while being playful and energizing at the same time.
Sherwin-Williams' Colormix Forecast 2020, a mix of 45 trend colors divided into five palettes and based on color trends around the globe, includes several colors that seem '70s-inspired. Four of the palettes have gold shades -- Gambol Gold, Kingdom Gold and Auric, for example -- while Aquarium, a greenish-blue, and Verde Marron, a brownish-green also make an appearance.
"Just like the fashion industry, color trends tend to be cyclical," said Sue Wadden, Sherwin-Williams' director of color marketing, in an email. "We are seeing a resurgence in 'vintage' colors that were popular in decades past — like warm golds and bright blue-greens — but they're being used in a different way."
That means you don't have to paint an entire room one of these colors, says Wadden. Infuse vintage colors with accents or a rug, even hardware (like gold). Wadden suggests mixing these "nostalgic" pops of color with neutrals, jewel tones and earth-inspired colors.
Linda Shears of Linda Shears Designs in Troy says grays and greige -- a mix of beige and gray -- aren't going away but add color to your space with throw pillows or other accents. In today's busy world, green is a grounding color.
"Green is the color to just be," said Shears.
Picking 'it' colors
Every year, paint retailers forecast what colors will be on trend for the year ahead. And they do that by looking at trends -- not just in design -- but in pop culture, art and other fields across the globe.
Wadden said Sherwin-Williams' Colormix forecast is put together by a team of color and design professionals who spend months researching and gathering inspiration around color, design, fashion, pop culture and other emerging trends. The 45 colors they picked for 2020 "aim to bring joy, serenity and focus to the mind, body and spirit," she said.
"Through color that feels natural, you can pave the way for wellness at home," said Wadden.
Behr's 2020 Color Trends palette is a selection of 15 colors divided into what Behr calls three "stories." One of those colors is Secret Meadow, a deep green hue very similar to avocado green.
Behr calls the colors "grounding shades" and "energizing." The retailer named another light green, Back to Nature, its 2020 Color of the Year.
Erika Woelfel, Behr's vice president of color and creative services, says the earthy greens and lavish oranges that the retailer picked for its Trends palette offer people the opportunity to "transform spaces into experiences to not only enhance the aesthetic of an environment, but impact how people feel."
The power of color
And color does affect how people feel, experts say.
Shears is a local color expert who has frequently given a presentation on the psychology of color. She'll speak again at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Novi Home Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace.
Shears says color is one of the biggest influences on the human mind.
"It affects us aesthetically, emotionally and psychologically," said Shears in a statement to the Michigan Design Center. "Color even impacts our perception of the size of the room. Colors are all around us and have a voice: green with envy; in the pink; feeling blue. Because they affect both the mood and the interior design of a space, color is my first inspiration when designing a room."
Wadden at Sherwin-Williams, said blue and green hues are widely known in the world of color psychology to be calming and restorative. She pointed to a study by University of Sussex and British papermaker G.F. Smith found that navy blue is the world's most relaxing color.
No wonder why Naval, a deep blue, is Sherwin-Williams' 2020 Color of the Year.
"We absolutely included these influences when building these (2020) palettes around well-being and know that color can completely transform a space and how you feel spending time in it," said Wadden.
How to use '70s chic
But there are ways to use vintage-inspired paint colors without going completely retro.
Wadden says if you like gold — which she says will always be a timeless color — add gold accents to a dining room or home office.
“If you’re looking for a more modern look, I would pair a dark black like Tricorn Black (SW 6258) with gold and silver accents,” she said.
Another option: start with blue as a neutral and then infuse some ’70s chic colors and then layer in bolder colors with other elements.
Incorporate “bolder, brighter colors reminiscent of the past through a patterned rug, throw pillows or painted cabinet,” said Wadden.
However you do it, remember this: It doesn’t just matter how a room looks but how it feels. And if it feels inviting and energizing, it doesn’t get much more groovy than that.