Color of the Year 2020

We determine our Color of the Year by carrying out extensive research into what trends are influencing our lives and how those trends are reflected in our homes, the built environment and the industries we serve.

The independent research is conducted by a global team of external designers and trend experts, along with our own internal color experts. The research focuses on social, economic and design trends to understand what people want from the paint colors they use in their homes and on their products. 

Color experts

We have a passion for paint at AkzoNobel, and we know how important color is to people’s lives. It’s what we do. We’re experts in identifying global trends and creating exciting color palettes with the power to express personality, enrich culture and help transform living spaces.

The trend and color research we do is an important part of our business. What you might not know is that it has an impact well beyond decorative paint. Specialists from our coatings businesses are also involved in our annual ColourFutures trend research and translate the colors for products in their own area of expertise. It all adds up to one, unified color story across our diverse portfolio of paints and coatings.

The process starts by defining a color direction and discussing the Color of the Year. From there, our design team translates the information to market-specific and on-trend colors and finishes for our customers in the paints, automotive, architecture, furniture, aerospace and consumer electronics markets, as well as the wood coatings market.

New decade, new dawn

We are at the start of a new decade, a new dawn. The world is full of possibilities.

People are living increasingly digitized lives in the 24/7 economy. There’s been a rapid rise in artificial intelligence and robotics. Our trend research shows that people want to be more caring and to escape, while also searching for meaning and creativity.

We need a place where we can contemplate our future and consider our purpose in this brave new world. Where we can better connect with our friends and family, our surroundings and nature. Where we can express ourselves, be ourselves. It is now time to give our homes “The human touch” – to make a home for care, a home for play, a home for meaning and a home for creativity.

Color of the Year 2020

To choose a shade that brought to life our desire to treasure our most human qualities and give our homes “The human touch”, our color team looked to the soft, fluid colors and tranquility of the morning sky for inspiration.

Tranquil Dawn has an air of calm and clarity that perfectly reflects our theme. Inspired by the dawn horizon, it is a delicate, fluid shade which sits somewhere between green, grey and blue. Its effect changes depending on the colors it is used with, making it a beautiful and versatile shade.

The Color of the Year 2020 will influence the look and feel of our homes and working environments, as well as many things which we use and experience in our daily lives across the wood, consumer electronics, automotive and aerospace markets.


The palette which has been designed around Tranquil Dawn allows consumers to use the Color of the Year in a way that reflects who they are, how they want to feel and how they want to live. It’s been organized into four smaller palettes that reflect the four trends: care, play, meaning and creativity.

Discover how the Color of the Year and these palettes – each representative of a different mood and horizon – can help bring a fresh perspective to people’s walls and homes.

The home for care

This soft and airy palette is perfect for creating spaces where we can make time for the relationships that really matter: with ourselves, with our loved ones, with nature, with our homes and with our built environments.

The pared-back mix of gentle neutrals, including the Color of the Year – Tranquil Dawn – is reminiscent of the horizon of a hazy spring morning, where the colors of dawn flow into one another.

A feeling of light and space is created with simple lines and a relaxed style. Pale wood and suede are used alongside tactile velvets and wool throws to bring warmth to this contemporary look, while silvers, golds, coppers and mother of pearl introduce a precious element. Plants and botanical prints bring the outside in and boost a sense of well-being.

The home for play

This palette brings a transformative energy to the home, creating spaces that allow us to be open and receptive to playful experiences. The mood is young and vital, modern and relaxed.

It’s inspired by the colors of the horizon on a bright summer day. Mixing softer shades like Tranquil Dawn (the Color of the Year) with smaller blocks of bold color – such as coral and sulphur-yellow – brings an offbeat vibrancy to the palette.

The play home is light and bright with geometric patterns and a material mix which includes ply and statement accessories in bold textures. It’s an environment that stimulates the senses and delights its inhabitants.

The home for meaning

People are seeking a space for silence and contemplation, awe and wonder. Where we can be still and free of distractions, to focus on our purpose and values. This home is pared-back and minimalist, but in a human way; comforting and comfortable, with an air of monastic calm.

A subtly nuanced palette of crisp greys evokes the clear horizon of a cold winter’s day, with the Color of the Year, Tranquil Dawn, at its heart. This palette offers a simple way of living that is luxury in its purest form.

Clean lines and functional forms complement elemental and tactile materials that include natural wood, leather and linen, as well as the soft sheen of gently polished concrete. There is an emphasis on timeless quality that will only improve with age.

The home for creativity

In the creative home, we are able to build our own narrative. We tell stories that blend old and new, taking the past and making it our own. It is where we indulge our curiosity, use our hands to become makers and celebrate perfect imperfection.

The creativity palette is rich and saturated, inspired by the colors of a warm autumn day. It’s full of intense tones, including forest greens and earthy ochres, as well as paler, in-between shades like the Color of the Year, Tranquil Dawn.

This home uses the time-honored materials of the past – wood, leather and pottery – but in a modern context, alongside painterly florals, printed cottons and hand-knitted throws. Texture and tactility help to create spaces that are moody, atmospheric and eclectic.

About ColourFutures 2020

Established in 2004, ColourFutures™ aims to build an annual picture of what home life will be like for consumers and create color palettes that will transform their interiors accordingly. ColourFutures involves the selection and identification of AkzoNobel’s Color of the Year, its hero palette and three supporting palettes. These are brought to life by the company’s decorative paints brands including Alba, Astral, Bruguer, Coral, Dulux, Flexa, Inca, Levis, Marshall, Nordsjö, Sadolin, Sikkens and Vivechrome.

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