Paint & Colour: The Rainbow Connection

It’s always fun to see what hues the paint makers pick as their Colour of the Year. While chromatically different, the palettes this year share a theme of nature and wellbeing; a clear response to consumer’s desire for find peace of mind in these turbulent times.

Moments | BeautiTone

“Moments is reflective of Canadians’ continued desire for stability and comfort as we focus on moving forward in our daily lives,” says Darryl Allen, Creative Manager, BeautiTone Paint and Home Products. “Evoking feelings that are nostalgic and hopeful, this reliable hue brings a renewed appreciation for our ability to create lasting, meaningful moments in spite of adversity.”

Blank Canvas | Behr Paint

“As we look to 2023, we understand that comfort will still be a driving force behind design decisions and style statements,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of Colour and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company. “Blank Canvas easily harmonizes with a wide range of hues, including neutrals, earth tones and pastels for a cozy appeal, also pairs beautifully with black for a dramatic impact, and with bright accents like green or cobalt blue to instantly lift your mood.”

Raspberry Blush | Benjamin Moore

“People are ready to bring colour back into the home, taking a step outside their colour comfort zones,” says Andrea Magno, Colour Marketing & Development Director at Benjamin Moore. “Raspberry Blush 2008-30 and the Colour Trends 2023 palette empower the use of statement colours that deliver delight and personality, while transforming rooms for incredible results.”

Vining Ivy | DULUX

“Canadians took pause during the pandemic to reflect on what matters most, appreciating the beauty of the natural world like never before, and this is translating into uber-earthy and rich, sanctuary-like colour choices for the home,” says Mitsu Dhawan, Dulux brand manager. “As opposed to softer neutrals that have been popular in recent years, the new nature-inspired tones are bolder and more expressive, reflecting an optimistic mood as we emerge ready for the next normal.”

Desert Carnation | Valspar

This faded natural terracotta isn’t the standalone colour but instead one of 12 that Valspar decided to highlight for 2023, which Colour Marketing Manager, Sue Kim, describes as a palette of “usable shades that encourage self-expression and anyone can envision in their space.”

Alizarin | Graham & Brown

Named after pigment derived from the Rubia plant historically used as dye, “This deep and moody hue embodies the best russet reds and spicy terracotta shades, highlighting the beauty found in natural earthy tones. In the studio we enable this by seeing the beauty in items that would be discarded and making them shine again, creating a bespoke and special object,” says Design Manager, Maryanne Cartwright.

Red on Red: 2023’s Colour Story

By Red Barrinuevo

Last year was Very Peri, a periwinkle blue with violet red undertones. For 2023, Pantone is going hard on the red with 18-1750 Viva Magenta, “an animated crimson red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, and boundless shade that is a stand-out statement,” says Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Color Institute.

The 2023 Colour of the Year comes as a welcome change from the inward-turned lives we’ve been living for the better part of three years. The world is ready to make a statement, and this one comes as a cry of optimism in the form of a bold new colour palette dominated by a variety of red hues. The trendmakers are largely aligned in the about-face from prevailing green hues of 2022. With Pantone’s Viva Magenta, Benjamin Moore’s Raspberry Blush, Dunn Edwards’ Terra Rosa, Sherwin Williams’ Redend Point and Walmart’s Canyon Ridge, there’s an obvious trend forming here.

Why the draw to red? I’d argue that this trend has been a long time coming. Red is said to evoke some strong emotions, including passion, power and love. The colour is stimulating, energizing and appetizing. It’s confident, outgoing and unapologetic. A great way to make a statement is by painting an eye-catching feature wall that taps into a chosen hue. I’d caution against red appliances, tiles, cabinets or any big-ticket fixture that you might get tired of and have to replace, given we’ll likely have a totally different focus once 2023 is through. Otherwise, it’s all fair game. If the brightest, boldest red is a little too much, consider a darker red such as maroon or merlot which convey the same warmth but in a toned-down way. Alternatively, softer hues like pinks and browns that have red undertones can achieve a similar effect.

If you’re unsure as to what is “too much” or “too little,” follow the 60-30-10 ratio to achieve good balance. This rule dictates that 60 per cent of a space is done in the dominant colour, 30 per cent in the secondary colour and 10 per cent in the accent colour. Depending on your approach to red, you may incorporate it as the dominant, secondary or accent colour in the room. Whether in big doses or small ones, red is one trend that’s sure to spice up 2023.


Red Barrinuevo is a property stylist on HGTV’s Hot Market, an award-winning luxury home stager and the principal designer of Redesign4More.