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Who Decides Top Colour Trends?

By 09/07/2021September 13th, 202215 Comments

Ever wonder where colour trends come from? Who decides what colour is trending and what isn’t? You might be surprised to learn it isn’t colour forecasters like me.

I recently mentioned that I had recorded a video on TikTok that reported that ‘Grey is Out’. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it here.

This news is not NEW at all to my readers, I know.

But to my shock and surprise, it’s still new to the general public. Know someone who is still decorating with grey?

People were really upset with my declaration that grey is already out. 

The video went totally viral and currently has 1.7 million views to date, with over 8400 comments. 😳

And here were the top 3 comments that were constantly posted over and over.

  1. Who are YOU to tell us grey is OUT??
  2. I LOVE grey, I’ll always love grey, and you can pry my grey planks from my cold dead hands.
  3. All you colour forecasters, design professionals and manufacturers LOVE to tell us what’s out so we can throw it all out and buy what’s NEXT

Who Decides Colour Trends?

I decided a video would explain it best. For 14 minutes, you will feel like you’re in one of my live workshops.

Who decides what’s in or what’s out anyway?

Hint: It’s NOT the colour forecasting people. In fact, you might be surprised to hear how it works.

Did you learn something about colour trends?

I would love to hear what you think. Comment below!

Want to learn even more?

Register here.

It’s the only way to get a Killam Colour System kit delivered to your door

Remember, we will mail you a Killam Colour System kit with the NEW colour wheel, a paint fan deck and several other helpful resources for this hands-on training.  

Specify Colour with Confidence Wow Box

Register here.

Related posts:

I Don’t Follow the Trends!! Is this You?

Is Grey Only for Happy People?

4 Ways to Decorate Around Your Charcoal Sofa

How to Decorate with Grey and How NOT to

Ask Maria: What if I Don’t Like the Grey Plank Flooring that’s Everywhere?

How to Transform a Charcoal Sofa with Colour; Before & After

The Minimalist Guide to Decorating with Charcoal

How NOT to Choose Paint Colours; But Everybody Does It

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  • KTH says:

    Maria, you are the ‘so dope’ of the decorating world. Truly genius. I never thought about the mass-consumer as colour influencer before – but if we’re all showing up with the same impulses from one side of the globe to the other, what’s the pull to the trendy new colour? Economic cycle, gloom vs optimism? Fascinating.

  • JMO says:

    This video is so funny, enjoyed it. When will the Ritz need to be renovated…. When it’s threadbare… 🤣🤣🤣

  • Lisa says:

    Great video Maria! Congrats on going viral. I’m over seeing HGTV decorators do all grey. I can’t tell if it’s a lack of diversity on the network or the designers lack of insight into trends.

  • Kitty says:

    Yes. A million yes’s. Thank you.

  • Holly says:

    Maria, I notice that you don’t have any comments on this post and it perplexed me. I get paid to ask questions for a living. Like you, people ask me questions and I give them an answer and then they get mad at me because they don’t like what I have to say. I even got huffy when you said, “Grey is OUT!”

    So… I wanted to ask a question (ok, so I never ask just ONE question) and maybe offer a suggestion:

    1) Why do you give gray paint color suggestions in your e-books if gray is out? Which leads to the next question…

    2) I’ve read some of your blog posts about how gray can be classic and timeless if done right. Leading to…

    3) Can you do a post about “Gray Done Right Is Classic And Timeless” because people are clearly Lit. Up. (and also because I like all the gorgeous photo examples of classic and timeless that you show on your blog.)

    I don’t know about others, but I highly suspect that people just want to work with what they have and don’t have the time or money to update to the newest trend so we want to incorporate elements that don’t say new cabinets, old floor, while not having 3 trends going on at once in their household. I’m re-reading my words and starting to think this is a no-win situation lol!

    There are people like me who’ve had golden oak wood-stained trim, windows and doors for 30 years and had to go with a warm version of white paint on their walls for so long that they don’t want to paint their wall art gallery white or any shade of gray or greige.

    I decided to paint my open concept kitchen, dining, and living room Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. Why? Because I learned from your e-books to match my hard finishes to my granite (Gasp! I chose granite for my new kitchen!) to match my hard finishes and it’s a black base with very subtle gray and pearl flecks. Using your color system, I determined that the black undertone of my granite is a green gray, so my paint color was easy to find. Why didn’t I go with a greige like Gray Mist? Well, I almost did, but we had a version of white in here for the past 20 years and we are just plain sick of white!

    Pondering my own experience, (I’ve had the Tuscan tend in my home since 2003 because it worked with all the warm wood tones in my home) I think people are in different phases of trends regarding decorating and paint color choices and we just want to work with what we have and achieve some version of classic and timeless, which is why we read your blog. I love your e-books and suggest to anyone reading this who doesn’t have the time or money to do Maria’s online workshops to get the e-books. They were a world of help to me.

    Maria, no matter how mad I get at you about frikken’ gray being out I will still read you blog. 🙂


    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Holly, This is a great question, So first, I’ve been specifying mostly the palest shades of grey (greige which is almost white anyway) since the grey trend started. AND there’s nothing wrong with grey walls against a colourful cornflower blue sofa anyway. It’s the OVERUSE of grey that is OUT, OUT, OUT. It’s EVERYTHING GREY. That’s what’s OUT. And I have written several posts on how to work with grey, this one specifically answers your question about the right way to decorate with grey:
      Agreeable grey is a great choice for a house filled with honey oak trim! I’m sure it looks beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with it!
      Thanks for your comment! Maria

      • Holly says:

        Maria, my reply to your comment ended up in the main thread, but thanks for answering my question and clearing that up. I definitely don’t have everything gray in my home so I’m good! I can breathe now! PS I’ve been thinking about painting my wood trim for the past few years and when I purchased your e-books this past Spring I knew exactly what to do. Thank you! 🙂

  • Diana says:

    Maria this was soooo good! I really appreciate your expertise and confidence! Thank you for making this video and helping put into words all the thoughts running through my head. Also, it definitely felt like I was back at your workshop and brought back happy memories!

  • Marilyn says:

    It all makes sense to me! Great explanations!

  • Holly says:

    Thanks for clearing up that it’s the overuse use of gray that’s out, Maria! Phew! I felt a little sick when I saw this post because we just painted our open concept kitchen, dining, living room Agreeable Gray over the holiday weekend. The rest of my bedrooms and bathrooms will be painted light shades of blue and blue green. I did, however update all my honey oak window trim, door and molding throughout our house by painting them BM Oxford White to Match my new shaker kitchen cabinets. Warm wood trim , especially on windows, limits the color palette and don’t I know it! It’s taken me years to muster up the gumption to go through the process of painting everything. Let me tell you that was no small task! The newly painted trim along with my new medium brown LVP flooring I’m sure will work wonders in updating my home. It seems I missed the whole gray trend in the first place because everything in my home was entrenched in Tuscan lol! Holly

  • Rebecca says:

    You’re a genius! I love listening to you and am so grateful that you willingly share color and decorating expertise.

  • Maureen says:

    Colour brings joy and so do you,Maria Killam. You are helpful and so, so funny. I hope those people who took your video very viral come back for joy. Thank you for all you do.

  • Margaret says:

    Bangs? In or out?

    I liked yours long or short.

  • Cyndia says:

    Hi Maria- just today I was trying to explain all this to a woman in one of my online groups. She had a busy granite countertop in browns and creams and was debating whether the backsplash she had chosen would work. (It was a multi toned narrow glass tile.) I recommended a cream porcelain subway instead and the collective gasps of shock and dismay among other members was a bit laughable. I mean, there were some who agreed, but for the most part people were all about the busier the better. And then those who were all “gray tile!” I just put it out there but it’s up to others to pick it up.

  • Homr Mobi says:

    The main ones are the Pantone Color Institute, AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Center (Dulux), and four or five influential style agencies. In addition, several of the largest paint manufacturers also choose their main colours of the year.

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