Tones Of Home

With the announcement of the 2022 colors of the year, Marshall Erb breaks down the determining factors and best practices for incorporating the hues at home.

By Elise Hofer Shaw

Paint brands announce their respective Colors of the Year for 2022-and leave us feeling the greens. Paint brands announce their respective Colors of the Year for 2022-and leave us feeling the greens.

The results are in: The world’s biggest paint brands have weighed in with their 2022 colors of the year. From Blanched Thyme (Valspar), October Mist (Benjamin Moore) and Evergreen Fog (Sherwin-Williams) to Guacamole (Glidden), Breezeway (Behr) and Art and Craft (DunnEdwards), it’s a soft, earthborn mix that’s easy to psychoanalyze. “All of next year’s colors are found in nature, the most dominant being green,” shares Marshall Erb, founder and lead designer at Marshall Erb Design in West Town. “And the root of the trend, in my opinion, is how these soothing, organic hues make us think, feel and respond.”

It’s been said that green can make a person feel optimistic and refreshed, and that it symbolizes health, new beginnings, abundance and harmony. And, if we’re really leaning into the psychology of color, green can also make us feel calm and relaxed—a vibe we’re all looking for after 20-plus stressful months of navigating a pandemic. “It’s no surprise that the general consensus wants to hit the reset button after the last year and a half,” says Erb. “From homeschooling and working from home to worrying about our loved ones and managing all of that fear and stress, we’ve all endured so much. And all of it has been endured within the home.”

Consequently, as a part of a mass prioritization of feelings and wellness, people are reassessing their relationships with their homes, too. “Traditionally, ‘home’ was a safe space to return to at the end of the day—a place where, to a degree, we could shake off our stress at the front door before entering,” says Erb. “The pandemic flipped all of that on its head when we found ourselves doing quite literally everything under one roof—sleeping, eating, working, studying, socializing within our micro-pods. How we use and define ‘home’ suddenly shifted, as did our thinking on how it functions and serves our mental and physical wellbeing.”

Many are also making the logical case that being stuck inside at home has sparked a widespread desire to get back outside and reconnect with Mother Nature. And, according to Erb, if you reverse-engineer that movement, to bring the outdoors in. “Whether it’s a road trip to an outdoorsy destination in the woods or something as simple as a walk around your neighborhood, the great outdoors has become an important escape,” says Erb. “And I think it took a global pandemic to make us—especially those of us who dwell within large cities—realize that we sometimes take it for granted, and that the benefits are holistic.”

Glidden's chosen hue? A soft guacamole shade that's giving us Southwestern vibes. Glidden’s chosen hue? A soft guacamole shade that’s giving us Southwestern vibes. Marshall Erb Design upholstered a contemporary chaise in a mossy green velvet for a Mid-century modern condo on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

That awakening, compounded by the race to significantly reverse climate change by 2030, has us all in an eco-conscious state of mind. “People want to contribute to positive environmental change by reconnecting with nature in a more significant and meaningful way,” says Erb. “For a lot of us, that means a commitment to natural products, sustainable brands and ethical consumption as a lifestyle because our future depends on it.” When asked, just about everyone will admit that they associate the color green with being eco-friendly, natural and pure, indicating that this newfound love affair with the hue could be an expression of our predisposition to health and preservation.

So, now that we have our heads wrapped around the ‘why’ of it all, the question that remains is ‘how.’ How do we go about selecting the right shade of green for our home?

2 Ex. MED Design scaled
Marshall Erb Design upholstered a contemporary chaise in a mossy green velvet for a Mid-century modern condo on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

“You have to take into account factors like geography, natural light and architecture when determining how well a color will work within a space,” says Erb, who recently incorporated a bright olive-green tone into his own home on Chicago’s Gold Coast via wool-blend, floor-to-ceiling drapery. “Style also comes into play. Softer, mossy greens tend to be best suited for modern homes while more vibrant Kellys and emeralds can hit just right within a historical abode.” That said, Erb doesn’t always play by the rules—and urges his clients not to be afraid of saturated iterations. “On the whole, I like to think of the color green as a neutral. As with browns, beiges and sands, and most blues, green is a color that’s at home in nature—and can be used to bring balance to any design.”