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2020 Colors of the Year: Starting the New Decade with Confidence

Posted on the 12/12/2019 by Karndean Designflooring

The major paint and color influencers have announced their 2020 colors of the year – and for the most part we’ll be swimming in a sea of blues! Blue hues are generally known to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere, a reflection of the impact that wellness has had in interior design. Let’s explore these leading colors and our recommended Karndean color pairings.

Sherwin Williams: Naval


The theme of calm, grounded colors begins with Sherwin Williams’ 2020 color, Naval. This “roaring navy” combines the opulence of Art Deco with the “awe-inspiring power of nature” to signify an empowering new year and decade. This is a very relatable shade that can be used across sectors and types of spaces. It can easily be incorporated into your design scheme, either as a neutral backdrop that allows brighter colors to pop or as a focal point of a space.

Because Naval is so universal, there are numerous Karndean Designfloors with which to pair it. Some of our favorites include Salvaged Barnwood, a highly characterful floor with a wide range of brown hues, to amp up the drama. If you’d like a lighter color to brighten and add balance to a space, Vanilla Oak is a minimalistic, clean-lined visual, while Aged Redwood has more rustic charm. If you wish to play up the Art Deco theme or prefer a stone visual, the metallic-like finish and steely charcoal base of Ferra adds a subtle nod to this style.

PPG Paints: Chinese Porcelain

PPG Paints also selected a blue shade, Chinese Porcelain, “a blend of cobalt and moody, ink blue that imparts calmness and restful sleep while also offering the spirit of hopefulness.” This color is meant to offer an escape from our technologically driven culture. 

Chinese Porcelain is quite similar to Naval in regard to how it can be used and the types of projects it can be incorporated into. If Naval isn’t quite the right shade for a project, Chinese Porcelain may be a suitable alternative. You may even use the two colors together within the same palette.


Because this shade of blue is lighter, you can pair it with floors that have yellow and beige tones. Our limestone-inspired Sable tiles provide a neutral base that you can design a space around. If you’re seeking a traditional wood look or one with more rustic character, Reclaimed Chestnut’s golden highlights will draw out the color of Chinese Porcelain. For a more contemporary environment, you could choose a floor with gray undertones, like our Baltic Washed Oak or Shadow Fabric Oak, whose tones drift between gray and beige.

Pantone: Classic Blue

Classic Blue aspires to be more than just a calming influence, but rather a “dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” As a new decade begins in 2020, this color evokes inward reflection and the opportunity to re-center our thoughts.

Given the meaning behind this color, you may wish to use it in a hospitality or healthcare setting for its calming effects or in an office or educational environment to inspire fresh thoughts and to quell work or class-related stress levels. 


Smoked Koa RKP8126

We paired this color with some of our floors that have slightly cool undertones, like Natural Walnut, an overall traditional floor with chocolate brown hues. For projects requiring a contemporary look, Smoked Koa provides a beautiful gray backdrop, while Carbon’s weathered steel visual complements a more industrial aesthetic. For a more playful space, look to Lemon Spotted Gum’s streamlined grain and blonde highlights.

Behr: Back to Nature

If you’re looking to use lighter colors on a project, get “Back to Nature” with an invigorating, yet muted shade of green by Behr. Like the previous colors, this hue reflects our need for nature’s calming influence and sense of balance in life, but in a brighter alternative.


Use this color across sectors, including multi-family, assisted living or retail to liven up the environment and inspire – whether it’s inspiration to start a new day, to heal or to shop. This color can be easily paired with woods that have golden tones, including Stamford or Warm Ash, or you could make it pop by pairing it with our White Painted Pine. You may also choose a complementary gray-brown tile look - we especially like it against Santi Limestone, which has a swirling pattern that can add texture to a space.

Benjamin Moore: First Light

US_COTY_MBFirstLight (1).jpg

Benjamin Moore aims to provide an alternative to white or beige with a “refreshing wash of pink” called First Light. The name itself evokes a connection with nature, reminiscent of a hue you would see in the early morning sky. This shade could easily be incorporated into projects with minimalist or Scandinavian-influenced styles.

If it’s Scandi style you’re after, pair First Light with Glacier Oak or Texas White Ash, which each have simple lines and rosy undertones. For a understated, yet sophisticated stone visual, try our Grey Riven Slate. If you plan to simply use First Light as an accent color and prefer the floor be the focus, our Weathered American Pine will add character to any space.

No matter which 2020 color of the year you chose to incorporate into your home, these colors will calm, center and inspire! Be sure to follow us on social media and share how you’ve used these colors throughout the year!