Note: Consumer Reports has no relationship with the advertisers on this site.
This year, Olympic and Sherwin-Williams point to gray and purple as hot colors. Pantone's color of the year is mimosa because, says color consultant Leatrice Eiseman, "yellow is the color of hope and change and enlightenment, and it's also very warm and inviting."
Say you want to paint your bedroom green. You might be tempted by Benjamin Moore's Return to Paradise. Or Mermaid's Tail, by Olympic (not to be confused with Mermaid's Song, by Valspar). Something sportier? How about Par Four Green, by Behr, or Dutch Boy's Ol' Swimmin' Hole?
We could go on, but you get the picture. There are thousands of paint colors, and each needs a name. At Benjamin Moore, that task falls to senior interior designer Sonu Mathew—not that she works alone. When a new color palette is created, she enlists fellow employees, from workers at the plant to the CEO. Hence Marry Me, a soft pink named by a worker for the blush of his bride-to-be. "It's the idea of telling a story," says Mathew, who notes that the best names are rooted in memory (Old Pickup Blue), drawn from the real world (Orange Sherbet), or just fun (Feel the Energy).
In addition to evoking a special feeling, names can be easy to remember. "Lily White is infinitely better than White-937," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, which creates palettes for the home, fashion and graphic arts industries. Not everyone agrees. Donald Kaufman, whose collection of 104 paints caters to high-end designers, says numbers "give more latitude to how a color can be used architecturally without pigeonholing it the way a name can do."
Whatever the paint's name (or number), you'll need to focus on the color: