Color Reflections

A Look at How Pratt & Lambert’s 2016 Color Trends Defined the Year in Design

The month of December is crowded with family get-togethers, shopping sprees, and baking. But the most wonderful time of the year is also a time for reflection, for looking back at the trends that have defined the past year.

Paradigm, Pratt & Lambert’s 2016 trend forecast, introduced four eye-catching color palettes: Odyssey, Urban Jungle, Heirloom, and Catalyst. Over the past year, we’ve kept track of how the colors of Paradigm have inspired the world of design and interiors. We were excited to note that many of these colors were the stars at some of the biggest trade shows as well as in the work of some of the designers and stylists that we most admire.

Here is a quick look at how Paradigm has added color to our lives in the past year.



The colors of Odyssey were inspired by the bioluminescence of the deepest depths of the sea and the darkness of deep space. This color palette brought the extremes of human experience to our homes.

The Odyssey palette predicted the biggest color trend of 2016—Faded Rose 6-13, which was named Pratt & Lambert’s 2016 Color of the Year. Back in October, designer Kate Martindale raved about Pratt & Lambert’s selection of pinks, especially airy Pink Hibiscus 2-2. In November, we highlighted designer Kim Markel’s pink Glow Chairs. The color of these cast-resin pieces shifts between Jessie 5-10 and Ballerina 29-1, depending on the light. All of these hues of pink suggest the magical light of deep-ocean jellyfish, and they make us remember that even in the depths of the sea, there is still color.

Pink Hibiscus 2-2

Jessie 5-10

Faded Rose 6-13

Ballerina 29-1

Odyssey’s Purple Nite 30-17 and Designer White 33-1 transport us to the other extreme of our world—outer space. In combination, these colors create a contrast that suggests a starry night sky. We noticed this same fusion of metallic whites and ebonies in the industrial tones that featured in the fall Maison & Objet show in Paris. The metal-and-glass pieces from Eichholtz, the famed Dutch design firm, had the sort of futuristic feel that we so closely associate with the faraway boundaries of the galaxy.

Designer White 33-1

Purple Nite 30-17

Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle

The Urban Jungle palette took its cue from the proliferation of eco-conscious design. This palette acknowledged the tribal cultures that have shaped our thinking when it comes to sustainability, and this was shown in the patterns and raw earthy tones that made Urban Jungle so dynamic. Contrasted with these tropical tones were the more refined man-made elements that adjusted the palette to accommodate urban life.

Bright greens, such as Envy’s Eyes 17-14, were central to the Urban Jungle palette, and we’ve been seeing these everywhere in the past year. At New York Fashion Week, we spotted bright emerald in Tory Burch’s latest collection. That emerald made us think of the malachite accents that Christina Wressel highlighted as an interior design trend, particularly when contrasted with dark tones, such as Oxford Deep 11-17.

Envy’s Eyes 17-14

Oxford Deep 11-17

The key to Urban Jungle can be found in the sky—the tropical sun. Brilliant yellows, like Urban Jungle’s Country Kitchen 15-12, made too many appearances to mention, but among those that really stood out was a similar shade of yellow, Sutter’s Gold 12-7, which shined a light in the dining room of the Traditional Home New Orleans Showhouse. Designed by William McLure Interiors, this room added a splash of modern color to the 1895 Queen Anne Victorian Home. Another yellow we couldn’t stop talking about was the Summer Petal 15-7 that Kyle Roberts used for the master-suite sitting room in the Hampton Designer Showhouse. This luminous and vibrant yellow will bring a refined yet tropical warmth to any room it touches.

Country Kitchen 15-12

Sutter’s Gold 12-7

Summer Petal 15-7



Heirloom was inspired by the artisanal movement that has returned handcrafted goods to a place of prominence in our consumer society. The colors of Heirloom highlighted the materials and textures used by craftspeople, from the rough rope of basket weavers to the natural pigments used in ceramics.

One our favorite examples of this palette in action are the shibori pillows that stylist Christina Wressel highlighted during our November conversation. The shade of indigo employed in the ancient shibori dyeing process suggests the weathered blue of Heirloom’s Monsoon 25-14. As denim, especially raw denim, continues to be used in more than just jeans, watch for all the ways this shade is used in the next year.

Monsoon 25-14

In that same conversation, Wressel also highlighted another color trend that Heirloom accurately forecasted: grays are the new neutral. Shades such as Flint 32-20 and Trout 33-13 still create a canvas for bright accents to shine in a room, but they also add an ambience of their own. Two rooms in the 2016 Hampton Designer Showhouse perfectly illustrate how to utilize these bold grays. In the master suite, by Mabley Handler Interior Design, the gray agate of patterned fabrics catches and absorbs that famous Hamptons light, which creates the calming effect you want in a bedroom. And in Kate Singer’s great room, her blue-tinted grays lend the space a similarly tranquil atmosphere by mimicking the shade of an evening ocean.

Flint 32-20

Trout 33-13



The fall Maison & Objet show, in Paris, was where this final palette from the Paradigm trend forecast really took center stage. Everywhere you looked there seemed to be an interesting play on the saffron-and-persimmon tones of Brazil Brown 10-14 and Apple Candy 4-15. Whether it was the shag pillows by Jonathan Adler or one of Zac Posen’s vibrant print dresses, this striking color trend was impossible to miss.

Brazil Brown 10-14

Apple Candy 4-15

Catalyst was inspired by the changing social and cultural dynamics of the larger world as well as by how the next generation is challenging many of our assumptions about what comes next. In many ways, Catalyst provides the “catalyst” for Captivate, Pratt & Lambert’s 2017 trend forecast. The four palettes introduced as part of Captivate all address the future and the myriad ways humanity is learning to convert the future’s challenges into opportunities. In Captivate, you will learn how cutting-edge technology is intermingling with a retro 1970s color palette. You will see why the tones of healthy, natural skin have influenced the colors of organic and sustainable design. And most of all, you will experience the romance and mystery that always accompany uncertainty.

But one thing is certain: The colors of Captivate will define the new year.