In an age of fads, where there are so many trends that half of them are over before you've even looked up the corresponding hashtag, Benjamin Moore has made the bold decision to step away from the white noise (pun intended) in choosing their 2016 Colour of the Year. They revealed Simply White OC-117 as their selection, with different shades of white appearing as five of the twenty-three paints featured in their palette for Colour Trends 2016—a timeless choice in a time when almost nothing seems to hold the spotlight for more than five seconds.
The process behind the selection of Benjamin Moore's Colour of the Year is an intense one. Inspiration is taken from a kaleidoscope of style influencers, including fashion, architecture, current events—it would be basically impossible to pinpoint all of the triggers that result in the final selection. Creative Director for the company, Ellen O'Neill, attributes the catalyst for Simply White first coming to her in Paris in as early as January of this year.
Benjamin Moore has over 250 whites in their spectrum, so why Simply White? To begin with, it's a wonderfully versatile white (And no! All whites are NOT created equal). Different lighting alters all paint colours dramatically, particularly white, making it difficult to find a hue that will work in a myriad of settings (an excellent reason for why you should do a test block on your wall whenever you’re painting a new colour so that you can see it in the space interacting with the lighting). Simply White manages to stay fresh, and adapts to both warmer and cooler palettes—no easy feat for white.
Though Benjamin Moore has been selecting more neutral shades for their Colour of the Year since 2013, this marks a shift in how they ask the colour to function. Last year's pale green was a focal point, even if it was a subtle one, but white can be completely unobtrusive in your home. It lets other design elements speak, or it allows for quiet, which is a rare luxury nowadays.
With smart phones glued to our hands even during “down-time”, we need space that lets us clear our minds and recharge, a space where we are not being inundated with loud colours and showy items vying for our attention. With the world’s distractions getting ever louder and more intrusive, in a way Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Colour is very reflective of an increasing need our society is generating—a need for stillness and peace. What better place to have as your refuge than your home?
As they illustrate with their Narrative (Benjamin Moore always provides this to accompany their year’s palette to help you visualize the different ways the colours can work in your home—it’s a sort of storyboard showcasing design inspiration), white is very versatile and works very differently depending on how it is used, the colours you put with it, and the lighting.
It can be interwoven with exposed wooden beams and detailed with heavy knitted throws and similarly rich textures to invoke a warm, serene, inspiring space. Or you can choose a cooler white then punctuate it with unexpected pops of colour, using your statement shades sparingly and thoughtfully, allowing white to play off of them, drawing the eye along the lines of a space.
White can be layered with itself, creating soothing, airy rooms. It can flow with other design elements, creating ambiance without hogging the spotlight, or it can be used to contrast and draw attention to itself, highlighting focal points.
One of the most unique things about white is that it is very changeable. It alters significantly based on other major colours in the room as well as the type of lighting, be it natural or otherwise—it is constantly interacting with what’s around it, to say as much or as little as you want it to.
This choice marks a growing shift towards home interiors that are about using space without overusing it, and having a home that reflects your life and being lived-in without feeling cluttered or oversaturated by artwork, tchotchkes, and colours to the point that you can no longer appreciate any one part. We’re moving away from extremes.
Sterile minimalism is out, but so too is a space that distracts the senses with too much. Simply White and the 2016 Colour Palette that accompanies it are about actually focusing on what each element of your design has to contribute, and appreciating more because it’s drowned-out by less.
Benjamin Moore’s choice recognizes the complex shifts our society is undergoing. It’s more than just a colour that their team of experts have decided has a growing place on today’s stage—it’s a palette to paint your corner of the world in, reflective of the ever-changing functions we want and need our homes to do.
We are once again looking to rooms that we can relax in, rooms that are warm and inspiring, conducive to focusing on what is actually happening within that room, rooms that leave us the air space to create and dream in. Simply White hits on a new mood tiptoeing into a culture of endlessly-filling newsfeeds, one that demands we stop, take a breath, and actually be in the moment and place where we are at.
Are there any rooms at your home in which you’ll be embracing Simply White?
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.