Color of the Year 2021

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 in 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 colors and trends research and translate the colors for products in their area of expertise – that 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, consumer electronics and domestic appliances, as well as the flooring, cabinetry and building materials markets.

The courage to embrace change

Color of the Year is the result of transforming the key global trends into inspiring paint color palettes for our consumers and industrial customers. It’s been a challenging year, and we’ve all faced experiences that feel out of kilter with the modern world. But we’ve also rediscovered something much more positive: the solidarity of communities; the generosity of strangers; and the fact that, together, we can do extraordinary things.

This year, our Color of the Year is a shade that’s all about bringing balance and stability, with complementary palettes and inspiring techniques that can be used to transform our surroundings.

Color of the Year 2021

We’ve seen unprecedented global change, with all of us facing fears and experiences that feel out of kilter with the modern world. Capturing this year’s overarching theme, “The courage to embrace change”, Brave Ground is a shade that’s all about bringing balance and stability. It’s an empowering color that grounds us and connects us back to the simple things.

The Color of the Year 2021 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 architecture, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, consumer electronics and domestic appliances, automotive and aerospace markets.


Brave Ground allows consumers and industrial customers 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. The leading color features in four palettes: Expressive Colors, Trust Colors, Timeless Colors and Earth Colors.

Discover how the Color of the Year and these palettes, each representative of a different mood, can give people the courage and freedom to embrace change in their lives and spaces.

The Expressive Colors

Expressive colors are all about empowering people to be themselves. Positive, energizing and surprising, these tones can boost creativity and free-thinking, allowing consumers to define a space where they can really express their personality and bolster their sense of self. Varying shades of pinks and reds work brilliantly together and give scope for graphic designs like the striped wall shown here. The warm foundational tone of Brave Ground holds these pops of color together to give a unified and balanced feel to any room.

Stand-out shades of reds and pinks balanced with soft neutrals, these are colors that can add verve and vitality to our homes. They allow us to create an individual space that reflects who we really are.

Colors for a home that empowers you to be yourself and to stand up for what you believe in.

The Trust Colors

Clay, peat, chalk, loam – the Earth tones of Trust colors come from all around the globe and reflect everyone. Warm and harmonious, these tones inspire openness and connection; and, because they work so well together, they can bring a unifying quality to any interior scheme. Soft, neutral greys and browns, these colors work brilliantly in combination to create a supportive and balanced feel – perfect for spaces where people want to come together and share ideas.

Earth tones from across the globe, these unifying shades encourage connection and collaboration. Warm neutral greys and browns, these are colors that complement each other and bring a sense of community and harmony in the home.

Colors for a space that gives you the courage to communicate, collaborate and make connections.

The Timeless Colors

Marrying heritage and contemporary shades, the Timeless palette is all about seeing the value in our past and its relevance for our future. Inspiring shades of yellows and ochres, balanced with neutrals and the Color of the Year, these are tones that can help create a classic contemporary backdrop that will work over time with any mix of furniture. Energizing without being overpowering, Timeless colors can help create a warm and upbeat feel in a room, and lend themselves to smart and subtle paint effects, such as the horizon stripes shown here.

Inspiring shades of yellows and ochres, alongside soft neutrals, these are tones that can help create a backdrop that celebrates old and new. Energizing without being overpowering, they bring positivity and balance to a space.

Colors for a space that challenges you to draw on the best of the past so you can build a brighter future.

The Earth Colors

Blues, greens and browns, our Earth colors echo the shades of the natural world – the sea and sky; the grass and trees; the soil. They work naturally together and can bring a bit of the outside in, reminding us of our connection to the world around us, the resilience of nature and the need to protect it. These colors can bring a calm and restorative feel to a space and, balanced with Brave Ground and a mix of natural materials, can help us embrace a simpler way of living.

Echoing the tones of the sea, sky, plants and soil, these earth shades provide a connection to the natural world around us. Bringing the outside in, they are authentic and grounding colors that work naturally together.

Colors for a space that inspires you to make small steps to embrace change, so we can forge a brave new world together.