Blue, the color that trend experts at Benjamin Moore say will be most popular in 2012, conveys a sense of calm and trust. Think "true blue."
The top color pick this year is Wythe Blue, a blue-green hue with a cool gray cast.
"It's interesting that Wythe Blue is from our historical color collection," said Sonu Mathew, Benjamin Moore's senior interior designer.
"We've actually cited it because it has a modern edge, yet it's so rooted in history and is respectful of what's classic and enduring."
About 1 in 5 people who shop for paints rely on these kind of recommendations, said Lloyd Trout, paint manager at Hatloe's Carpet One Floor & Home in Everett.
This year's color recommendations have removed pigments that can bring down the tone, Trout said.
"They're more alive," he said.
Colors in the blue family often are an ideal backdrop for other colors and materials, Matthew said.
"It's an excellent partner to various wood tones, and complements the grays and whites that have become current decorating basics," she said.
Amethyst Shadow, which borders the gray scale while bridging between purple and blue, is another favorite in 2012.
Stardust, Nimbus Gray, Sharkskin, Storm Cloud Gray and Revere Pewter all are "hotties" in the gray-color category.
In addition to whites and neutrals, earth tones are making their way into the color palette this year.
Matthew recommends French Press, Masada, Farm Fresh, Dunmore Cream and Fresh Olive.
Persimmon, with its robust hue, helps offset other colors.
Providing an annual color forecast is meant to help inspire and fuel the imagination.
"This is meant to be a starting point in their color selection process," she said.
At Hatloe's, customers often bring in swatches of existing colors in the home, including the carpet, couch and other walls, Trout said. That helps the experts at the store narrow the choices for customers.
High quality paints, such as Benjamin Moore, typically can stand up in all home environments including the bathroom.
Once a color is selected, Trout recommends buying quality painting tools.
Many home painters believe a brush is a brush and a roller cover is a roller cover, "But it's not," Trout said. "You're only as good as your tools," he said.
Using lower quality equipment may mean spending more time on second coats or wasting money by not applying paint properly.
If you're having a tough time deciding on a color, it may be a good idea to buy a sample-size container of several colors to see how the paint will look in the room that's to be painted.
Light and other colors in the room can change the hue tremendously, experts say.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hatloe's Carpet One Floor & Home: 3701 Rucker Ave., Everett 425-312-6262 www.hatloescarpetoneeverett.com.
Benjamin Moore Paints: Available at Hatloe's and many other area local paint and hardware stores. See the store locator at www.benjaminmoore.com.
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