Sherwin-Williams announces naval as 2020 color of the year

According to two NoVA-based interior designers, this rich shade of navy serves as an ideal accent color. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

In the months before the new year, interior designers, artists and home decor fanatics eagerly wait for one thing: “color of the year” predictions. 

Before we put 2019 behind us, color experts like Pantone, Benjamin Moore, Ace Hardware and more make observations on upcoming trends, and decide which will be the most popular color in the design field.

On Sept. 23, Sherwin-Williams was the first to make its 10th annual announcement, choosing naval as the 2020 color of the year.

To decide on a shade each year, the Sherwin-Williams global color and design team travels the world to see how people interact with color. This year’s research revealed 2020 would be a year of empowerment that focuses on bringing your best self into the next decade, according to the company website, making naval—labeled as a color of “infinite calmness”—the ideal design element. 

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Here in Northern Virginia, the classic color of navy blue is used quite frequently in interior design, due to our proximity to the water. And while the connection to nature still exists with naval, the shade is just different and warm enough to pique the interest of residents looking to change the entire feel of a room, according to Heather Bates of Heather Bates Design and Maria Loveless of the L&L Design Team

Below, Bates and Loveless share the importance of the annual reveal, how it impacts their clients and the various methods of incorporating naval throughout your home. 

Why does this annual announcement from color experts matter to the industry, as well as to your clients?
HB: We all like to see what everyone is coming out with, whether it’s Pantone or Sherwin-Williams. If it’s simply white, it’s uninspiring. It’s just kind of a group think thing almost, and we are always so excited to see it. Overall, the influence on designers is big. Not every designer will use it, but most of us will find some way to put it in a client’s environment. 

Usually by the time we chat with a client, they’ll have already picked out samples of paint change and we’ll come in and direct them to one. Because this year’s color is naval, it will definitely get some eyes on it. But it’s normally more up to us to bring it to the client. 

ML: From what I’ve seen in my years of experience, it influences the industry as far as how people like to see the color come through. However, we actually don’t even work with the color until the following year after it comes out. It seems like it takes a while for it to really have an effect. Clients see it in media, magazines, social media, and then they ask for it the following year. 

Tell me more about your thoughts on naval, specifically.
HB: I think it matters because a lot of us really enjoy the move to what I would call the darker, moodier colors. For example, another company came out with a blush coral last year, and I was like, “Meh.” I would say naval is kind of a similar color to navy, which has gotten a lot of attention in the last year. And it’s going to influence us because it’s in the blue family and 80% of people in the world love blue. For us as designers, it’s enough of a different blue that we can use it to attract people who typically wouldn’t really be comfortable with bright and bold colors. It’s less risky. 

ML: It’s a dark, bold color and it’s really beautiful. 

How can naval be incorporated in interior design? 

HB: I can see it used as an accent wall in almost any room. It can be used as an accent in a bedroom, or in a kitchen behind the island, while the rest of the cabinets are white or walnut. It could also be used for all of the walls in a smaller room, like an office. 

ML: It will be best in accent pieces. An ottoman would look amazing in a hallway or living room. You can also see it in pillows, rugs, things like that. It is a strong color, so you’d definitely have to use it in small doses. Another idea is using it as paint for an accent wall in any room. Personally, I think it would be a fantastic statement in a bedroom. 

Are there any quick and easy design changes with naval that you’d recommend?
HB: If you want to maintain a neutral room, naval would be a great accent as a rug, picture or something like that to warm up a room. And it would work with almost all shades of gray. Throw pillows or a typical cozy blanket in naval would also add a feeling of comfort to any room. 

ML: The most inexpensive tricks would be through home decor, even down to artwork. For example, if you can have an abstract painting that has a little naval in it, you can pull that in with other pillows and candles throughout a room.

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