COLUMNSGenericHome Guru

A Realtor Assesses 2019’s ‘Colors of the Year’

We are part of The Trust Project
Bill Primavera
Bill Primavera

By Bill Primavera

“How would you feel about living with a room painted black?” my wife asked me after reading about the possibility in a Sunday lifestyles section last weekend.

“Well, if I should decide I want a torture chamber environment, that might be nice,” I responded.

Actually, I don’t know why I wasn’t more open to consider alternative choices for the walls of my living environment, considering that the first time I made my own choice for my bedroom color, when I was a tender 17-year-old, I chose a bright blood red. When my parents sought to sell the house and buyer prospects would come to visit, we frequently heard the response “wow!” when that room was viewed.

In checking the annual announcements of the paint colors of the year chosen by the paint companies, I found that Behr announced Living Coral, a bright coral shade, as its 2019 Color of the Year. The company describes that color as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.” Life affirming? My God, who could ever suspect that wall color could have such an impact, literally affirming our existence.

It’s interesting to note that Behr’s color last year was Ultra Violet, a deep purple hue that I can’t imagine in any room I’d want to live in. Maybe a blue – reputedly the favorite color of most Americans – would make the cut, but Ultra Violet? In a living room painted that color, I think I would be constantly distracted. But that’s just me, I’m sure.

As a realtor who normally recommends either neutral or low-key colors for interiors and exteriors when preparing to sell a home, I once questioned the choice of a senior couple in my hometown who had their home painted bright violet. When I met them, however, I found them to be the most sprightly and youthful seniors I had ever met. Let them have their fun, I thought. There’s always time to consider a more conservative choice when the house is listed for sale.

Sherwin-Williams chose its 2019 Color of the Year as Cavern Clay, basically in the same color grouping as Behr’s choice, but described in a more down-to-earth manner. “A warm terracotta color with ancient, elemental roots, a nod to midcentury modern style, but with the soul of the American Southwest, which together creates the desert modern aesthetic.”

Checking out both colors, I’m convinced that either would be a little intense for me to live with on a daily basis in any room of my house, with the possible exception of the bathroom, which at least would limit its influence to a smaller space. I’ve always been more neutral in my wall choices, specifically various shades of off- white. This was probably influenced by the choices I was given when I rented my first apartments, both of which were in new construction. The choice given by the builder was simply white or off-white, a creamy version.

Landlords are no dummies about wall color. I remember that both leases specified that I could repaint my rooms any color I wanted, but prior to ending the lease, I would have to restore the walls to the original colors of white or off-white. I pretty much have lived with those colors, certainly in my hallways and living rooms, for the rest of my life.

While I don’t intend to sell my home anytime soon, I have chosen a grayish-white for my entire living environment, living room/dining room and both bedrooms, simply because it expands my living space. That was my objective when I downsized from a 4,000-square-foot colonial to an 1,800-square-foot condo.

Some years ago, I wrote a kind of spooky article about how a spiritual adviser suggested that I paint my bedroom teal – apparently the bedroom dictates my success in life – to achieve even greater success. I followed her advice, although I never would have chosen that blue-green color on my own.

Whether or not it achieved its promise of offering me greater power and success, I can’t say. Who can know whether or not my choice of bright red when I was 17 could have done me better? After all, look what it did for Nancy Reagan.

Bill Primavera, while a publicist and journalist, is also a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. ( To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.