Disclaimer: we have not been hired by Benjamin Moore. This is strictly the opinions of the author.
One of the things that fascinates me the most about design is how drastically, and instantly, changing a colour can change a space. How a coat of paint can make something feel completely different than before. Something so simple but with such a drastic result. It’s still one of my favorite things about interior design to this day – playing with the power of colour.
Colour is a powerful thing in design, yes, but also in psychology. Colour can change the mood of room; it can give you energy or if can relieve stress. It can make the room seem bigger or smaller with its pigment. Colour can convey a design theme or even gender solely based on what society preserves that colour to represent.
Recently, Benjamin Moore launched their colour trends for 2020. Their colour for 2020 is First Light (2102-70). A soft, rose-hue colour that resembles, to me anyways, rose gold. It makes me think of the rose gold iPhone, which I have and love. Needless to say, I love it, but for many people it is a feminine colour. And when you look at the rest of the colours in the 2020 trends, most of them lean on the side of feminine. With the majority of Benjamin Moore’s 2020 colours being soft, pastel-like, hues, the colour trend appears to lean more towards the feminine side of design
In design, feminine doesn’t mean it’s for a female. Feminine and Masculine is a way of describing a design or design elements, similar to how you would use he/she pronoun when talking about an inanimate object (like a car). What determines if some this is masculine or feminine comes from what society, historically, sees as a male or female trait.
In a previous article, How to Mix Masculine and Feminine Design Styles, we talked about Masculine and Feminine design. So we know that although these colours may feel feminine on paper, they can be used to create gender neutral interiors where anybody will feel at home.
White Heron (OC-57)
White is already a fairly gender neutral colour. By character, it makes a space look bigger and brighter, reflecting light.
White Heron (OC-57) has a warm, earthy, undertone to it. It’s very subtle but give the colour some dimension and warmth compared to a true white. White Heron will be great as a base (the background colour that you use to build off from) for any room. Pair this with wood accents and soft gem tones like emerald green to balance masculine and feminine.
Golden Straw (2152-50)
The name speaks to the colour – warm and homely – and this is true to the yellow colour family. Yellow is an energizing colour that also brightens a room.
Golden Straw (2152-50) is a great colour for a front door of a darker exterior home. Like a home with dark grey siding and this bright, welcoming yellow on the door. On the inside of the home, Golden Straw would be nice as a pop of colour on the bar stools in the kitchen. Shown with Blue Danube cabinets (keep reading).
First Light (2102-70)
First Light (2102-70) has a rosy-hue, pink-ish and very feminine in nature. It is also a warm colour that would suit a living rooms or office very well.
Try using First Light as an accent wall (one wall in the room) or on the back wall of a built-in bookcase. As an accent, it won’t overpower the room and make it seem like a little girl’s bedroom. Surround it with natural elements like raw wood and light leathers to bring in some masculine vibes.
Grays have taken over for beige in interior design over the last few years. It’s become the new colour for neutral interior paint as the modern update that realtors suggest when preparing a listing.
It’s no surprise to have a gray included in 2020 trends. Thunder (AF-685), like White Heron, has a warm, earthy, undertone to it but heavy (darker) than White Heron. Because of this, it makes a great base colour for a larger room or an open concept floor plan. Accent this base colour with plumber’s pipe accessories, neural lines and wood floors to create a balanced masculine, feminine design.
Greens, especially soft greens, are known to encourage relaxation and have destressing characteristics. Because of this, a green tone on the walls is often used in bedrooms, living rooms or spa. Any room where relaxation and destressing is needed.
Crystalline (AF-485) is in the green family which typically falls into the masculine category, however, the softness of this one in particular makes it feel more feminine. Pair this with outdoors-y elements like wood accents, cotton linens and leathers so both genders can embrace the relaxing powers of the colour.
Cushing Green (HC-125)
Another green, but much much darker. Cushing Green (HC-125) will still have all the same emotional effects as Crystalline – destress and relax – but being a much darker (heavier) green, it takes to feeling more masculine than Crystalline.
When using Cushing Green, pull in some wispy lines in wallpaper accents and bed linens to add a feminine touch. Add accessories like throws and pillows in soft or white colours to soften the heaviest of the green.
These last 4 are all in the blue family. Blue, psychologically, is another calming colour. In society, blue represent boys – masculine.
Windmill Wings (2067-60)
Although Windmill Wings (2067-60) is blue, it is a soft blue. Pastel colours, no matter what the root colour is, will feel more feminine than masculine.
Windmill Wings would be nice in a bathroom. Match it with some plumber’s pipe or black metal accessories and a more rustic vanity to add an edge to the overall design.
Oxford Gray (2128-40)
Oxford Gray (2128-40), similarly to Thunder, has a strong gray tone to it. It’s a heavy colour and it would be a great statement as an accent wall in a living room or bedroom.
To balance Oxford Gray with the female style, accessorize the living room with a light colour fabric couch and add throw pillows with curvy graphics. In the bedroom, find a soft headboard and dress the bed in light linens.
Buxton Blue (HC-149)
I LOVE this colour…as an accent. It could be the bench in the front entrance, the built-in in a laundry room or the wall behind the vanity in the washroom. Buxton Blue (HC-149) is a pretty blue for the feminine design but has enough of a grey tone for a masculine design.
To soften the colour and make it more feminine, use white furniture and glass/mirror accessories – white vanity with a crystal light fixture. To harden the colour to bring in more masculine vibes, use natural woods and dark metals – bamboo counter top in the laundry room. Or a combination of both: Buxton Blue on the mudroom wall, black metal bench and glass pendant lights.
Blue Danube (2062-30)
Blue Danube (2062-30) is a statement blue and a very masculine blue. I love this for furniture. Whether it be a kitchen island, bookcase in an office or a built-in in the foyer. One bold piece that ground the room with its heavy, strong, hue.
Soften the look with the hardware. Use glass or light colour/shiny metal knobs and pulls on the drawers.
Comment below and share how you have used a colour in a unique way.
If you love a colour and not sure how to use it in your home, send us a photo of the room and colour to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to you find that balance.