Contemporary Paint Colors

Cavern Clay dining roomr/courtesy Sherwin-Williams

From avocado green to millennial pink, trends in interior paint colors have come and gone. So how do you choose a color palette that looks fresh right now but you’ll still love tomorrow? Find out in my exclusive interview with Sherwin-Williams color expert Sue Wadden.

What defines a contemporary paint color for home interiors?

Contemporary home design is all about the “now” and making a bold design statement. There’s currently a strong movement toward saturated earth tones and inspiration from nature—blues, greens, and earthy browns.

Our goal is to inspire DIYers and designers alike to update spaces in big and small ways with modern colors, and we support them with tools like the annual Colormix forecast. The Sherwin-Williams 2019 Color of the Year, Cavern Clay SW 7701, is an earthy, versatile terracotta that feels classic, yet contemporary.

Charming Pink living room/courtesy Sherwin-Williams

How can homeowners choose the best paint colors for their house and lifestyle?

When it comes to choosing paint colors, I always say, “Start with what you love.” If there are certain objects that you love in your home, like a throw pillow or rug, use them as inspiration for your color palette. Trends are cyclical, and we often see colors come back in style after fading for a time. Homeowners and renters should select colors they enjoy and will feel comfortable with, even as trends shift. 

How can someone use bold modern house colors without overwhelming their decor?

Accent walls are still very popular and a great option for people who want to incorporate bold color without overwhelming their space. This is a perfect way to incorporate a striking, contemporary hue—especially if you’re just starting to experiment with color. 

Dove White trim/courtesy Sherwin-Williams

What are simple ways to update your home without repainting the entire space?

Painting your kitchen cabinets or island can give your kitchen a fresh, updated look. For the exterior of your home, adding a pop of color to the front door is an easy and inexpensive way to instantly boost curb appeal. 

What are good colors to paint a house for sale?

To sell your home, create a space that buyers can envision themselves living in. Warmer neutral colors make an interior more inviting. Accessible Beige SW 7036's gray undertone works beautifully with wood tones and open floor plans. Mindful Gray SW 7016 is a timeless greenish-gray which also suits a variety of interiors. Dover White SW 6385 is a warm, welcoming neutral that complements architectural styles from Colonial and Victorian to Craftsman, Ranch, and Modern.  

What are the hottest paint colors these days and where do you recommend using them?

The past few years have been dominated by cool-toned paint colors like grays, blues and greens. Now we’re seeing a shift toward warmer, more welcoming colors for the home.

Cavern Clay SW 7701 creates the perfect backdrop in a dining room or kitchen, especially when paired with bright tiles, warm stone, and sculptural greenery to complete the desert modern look. Exuberant Pink SW 6850 is a bold color that works best as an accent wall in a home office, entryway, or bedroom. Charming Pink SW 6309 offers a lot of versatility and can be used just about anywhere—kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and more.  

Cavern Clay kitchen/courtesy Sherwin-Williams

Can you give a few insider tips on choosing and applying paint colors?

Choosing a paint color is a commitment, so I recommend using color tools to narrow the choices and preview selections in your home. The Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer tool is a great tool for exploring color before painting. We recently added an augmented reality feature that allows you to virtually “paint” the walls of your home in real time for an accurate sense of a color’s impact on your space.

In addition, get a wet sample to create multiple swatches of color on your wall so you’ll be confident that the color works in all lighting scenarios. If you need more help making a decision, we have professionally trained designers who can create a custom color palette based on your personal style.

Find a professional painter and get the look you’ll love.

Laura Firszt writes for

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