Let the 2018 “Color of the Year” Wars Begin! (My Money Is On Sea Foam for the Win)

First of all — congratulation to Beth, who won the gorgeous Jess Franks Art Calendar from last week’s post! Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the post. I hope you enjoyed learning about Jess and her beautiful work. Now, on to business!

Every year, marketing and retail entities roll out their “Color of the Year.” The first two companies to release their  entrants this year seem to be following upon Ben Moore’s 2017 color, Shadow, a deep blackish, purplish hue. PPG Paints has named Black Flame (PPG1043-7) its new “it” shade, describing it as an “unprecedented, statement-making black with deep tones of indigo.” Meanwhile, Glidden Paint has selected Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), which they describe as a no-fuss shade of black that encourages a “less is more” approach to design.

Meh. I didn’t love Shadow, and I don’t love these blackish colors either. I love sexy black in doses — on kitchen cabinetry, a powder room, an office I’m not in every day — but I really go for *livable* colors, not nightclub ones.

I only have one house, and I need to live in it every daynot just on Saturday nights. (And, come on, I haven’t been to a night club in 10+ years.)

So I’m encouraged by Behr’s first-ever color of the year — In the Moment (T18-15), “a cool, tranquil, spruce blue is inspired by nature and is a soothing, restorative coalescence of blue, gray and green. This comfortable color evokes a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our busy, always-on lives.”

That’s marketing speech that speaks to me.

Do you want your home to be bold or a haven? I have nothing against the former, but I think at least 75% of the world want the latter, myself included — and the paint companies want to makes sales, right? I’m putting my money on sanctuary for the sale.

"Sanctuary!!!" Disney

“Sanctuary!!!” Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame … and Victor Hugo, too.

Don’t you want your home to be a sanctuary? I want my home to be! Heck, that’s why we named our home “Maple Rest.”

Hmmmm, a “spruce blue.” Do they mean a blue/green? I think so. In the Moment is one of those colors that some people call blue and others green, because it’s a blue with a green or a yellow undertone. Or a green with a blue undertone. For example, I recently specified Benjamin Moore’s St. John’s Blue for a teen boy’s bedroom.

St. John Blue CSP-675, Benjamin Moore

St. John Blue CSP-675, Benjamin Moore

I called it blue. My client called it green.

But whether deeper or lighter, the resulting color is some sort of sea foam, aqua, teal, sage, or “mint.”

I have 2.5 more weeks of summer with the kids at home full-time (I know you Southerners have been back at school for 2 weeks already!) so my post today is text short and picture heavy with blue/green/aqua/sea foam/sage/minty inspiration. These rooms are not necessarily In the Moment. I’ll just call them a general sea foam.”

Here we go!

Sea Foam Mixed with Neutrals

Mixed with taupes, natural fibers, and a heavy dose of white, sea foam can feel relaxed and refreshing, even in a formal room.

Modern art and fresh colors like sea foam are a fantastic way to freshen up a traditional dining room set. Another view of the same stunning room.

timothy whealon 2

Looks wonderful with whites, rich woods, crystal, and pops of green. Oh, wait!

Photo by Eric Roth

Photo by Eric Roth

I did it in a dining room, too! With Schumacher’s Chenonceau in Aquamarine wallpaper.

Gary McBournie via House of TurquoiseGary McBournie via House of Turquoise

Gary McBournie relaxes his sea foam with a slip covered sofa, natural Roman shades and rattan coffee table, and an all-American stripe.

Or how about a patterned sea foam grasscloth?

That’s Schumacher’s Acanthus Stripe in Seaglass and Chalk.  How about this?

Haven’t seen a room done in the Seaglass color way yet, but I’m dying to use it!

Thibaut also has some beautiful sea foam grasscloths that are very reasonably priced. You can’t find them on Decorators Best, but they are, of course, available through Home Glow Design and potentially your local wallpaper store for a markup.

Lindsey Coral Harper

Lindsey Coral Harper

Remember this from a few weeks ago? Lindsey Coral Harper’s master bedroom for the 2017 Southern Living Idea House. Impeccable. Serene. And yet, still interesting. Sea foam grasscloth, like the Thibaut ones above or this one from Schumacher.

Sea Foam Mixed with Jewel Tones

For a more rich feel, mix sea foam with splashes of jewel tones like aubergine, bright or berry reds, and oranges. Just make sure that you keep a thread of neutrals going to keep everything from looking like kaleidoscope. Remember — sanctuary, not night club.

Now, the purple in the bedroom I would naturally think of going with sea foam, but the pops of lipstick red and orange here are brilliant! Tempered with neutrals and black and white art, of course. 🙂

Sea foam is a Gustavian go-to color. So naturally other Scandinavian shades like berry red and white washed furniture look right at home, and oh-so-homey!

Christopher Spitzmiller

Christopher Spitzmiller

Christopher Spitzmiller, the king of amazingly expensive lamps (granted they are beautiful, but still!), mixes more jewel tones with his sea foam — red, emerald, yellow — and neutrals. Browns temper the clear colors.

Suzanne Rheinstein used Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue HC-42 on all the woodwork up to but not including the crown molding for an enveloping feel. Notice the matching relaxed Roman shade. More neutrals and berry reds with bright white on lampshade and ceiling.

For Alexa Hampton, a richer latte brown works as the neutral with jewel tone purples and blues.

Sea Foam in the Kitchen

 The kitchen is perhaps my favorite place to do this color — most especially on the cabinetry. It’s just so darn friendly.

John Huh uses Farrow & Ball’s Teresa’s Green. This is one of my favorite kitchens of all time, with the soapstone counters and center farm table.

Robin goes for aubergine to complement, and I love how the chair fabric brings in cranberry red and some orange, just like Alexa Hampton’s living room and Elms ID’s bedroom! I don’t know what Robin Henry uses here, but it could be Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue.

Palladian Blue, HC-144

Palladian Blue, HC-144

Stunning transitional kitchen using Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke. I spy berry red in the Moroccan rug!

Gah!!! I want this kitchen! How beautiful do the wood counters look … and the terra cotta dining room through the doorway.

Another long-time favorite kitchen by Rafe Churchill. I think this first appeared in Fine Woodworking magazine. I know, because as soon as I saw this kitchen in it, I bought the issue!


Oh, totally off topic — one other quick little thing I noticed. Months and months ago, I wrote a post about my obsession with Murano glass lamps. (Well, chandeliers, too, but the post was about lamps.) Then while perusing the newest Pottery Barn catalog, I saw this:

They start at $139. Pretty decent knock-off for this one that starts at $1,155 at the Inviting Home.

I’m not a Pottery Barn affiliate. Just consider this a public service announcement. 🙂

Anywho! If you liked this post and want to pin it for your reference, here you go!

Sea Foam Pinterest

Do you have a favorite shade of sea foam? Where have you used it?

For next week, I have a post in the works that is vital for anyone planning a kitchen renovation. I have an inside scoop. Don’t put a down payment on that counter slab until you read it!

See you next week!




This post contains some affiliate links. All topics, opinions, and choices are my own.

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  • What a pretty post, thank you Amy. I am a sanctuary girl also. My main family living room is Paliadian Blue, and has been for about 12 years. The color shifts with the light and seasons and still feels fresh. I am always complimented on the color and several people have used it after seeing it in my home, including my college aged daughter in her rental house. I am looking forward to the kitchen reno post! Enjoy the week.ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Palladian Blue is almost always a winner! Our living room in our New York apartment was a similar shade, which we combined with ivory, berry red, and black iron accents. Everyone loved it. It was our oasis in the gross concrete desert of Washington Heights.ReplyCancel

  • Beth

    Yeah!!! I won I won the calendar!! Thanks Amy and Jess!!

    I think Sea Foam can make a comeback! My younger son’s bedroom has a very light mint green, almost white. I find this color very peaceful. Perhaps sea foam would be a more noticeable shade but still light and peaceful!ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Congrats, Beth! Thanks for being a subscriber! Your son’s bedroom sounds perfect–whether or not he’s the quiet type himself, if it gives you a peaceful moment, then the color is doing its job!ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous post Amy! Your dining room with the Chenonceau wallpaper is divine! I too love that pattern. I’ve only used it once– for pillows.

    This made my eyes roll in a smirking kind of way.

    “…evokes a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our busy, always-on lives.”

    hahahaha. right. Thanks, guys for letting us know. lol

    And Suzanne Rheinstein’s vignette made my heart skip several beats. It’s the Chinoiserie art over the mantel. Totally makes the room! And I love window treatments that pick up the wall color. Makes a lot of sense since they are both on the vertical plane.

    As for COTY. When I first began blogging, I actually took it seriously,(or as seriously as I am capable of) but now I really couldn’t care less. It’s because of the quote above. Marketing BS designed to make consumers BUY, is all it is!ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      It does make one gag a little 🙂 However, having spent 7 years in the PR industry myself, my heart goes out to the poor blighters who have to create story ideas out of thin air so that we will write about them when there is no real news to report.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia Freeman

    Palladium Blue or Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore for the win! At least paint a room a color you look good in ……ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Good choices! I adore Stratton Blue, but I’ve yet to have the chance to use it.ReplyCancel

  • Love the seafoam in the kitchen but I am really hoping for a black variety as color of the year. From anyone. 🙂ReplyCancel