PhotoDark, moody touches might be the trend in appliances this year, but when it comes to interior paint, experts say lighter tones are the trend to watch in 2016.

“Deep, saturated shades have been popular for years,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute, “But the palette that’s in vogue right now is just the opposite.”

Zimmer says interior designers and colorists are favoring off-whites and other tones that just “tease the eye with traces of color.” But to get the look, experts aren’t just reaching for the gallon of white paint.

The new lighter hues aren’t simply pure white, yellow, or green. According to Zimmer, they’re the product of color layering. To achieve a more sophisticated look, she says, experts are “often marrying three or more different hues to create soft color that is often hard to put a name to.”

Audition your paint

Because of this color layering, many of the shades are susceptible to changing under different lighting and at different times of the day. What might appear pale green under the natural light of daytime might look yellow under incandescent light.

Due to the chameleon-like nature of these airy, multifaceted tones, Zimmer recommends taking them on a test drive before getting out the drop cloth and rollers. Before fully committing to the color, apply a hearty swipe of the paint to several walls.

Try living with them for a day or two to ensure that you love the new tint under every lighting condition. If the color doesn’t match your expectation, it’s much easier to cover up a sample stroke than an entire room.

And should you wind up with a collection of not-quite-right shades following the color-auditioning process, there are many projects that can benefit from your leftover paint. Check out these ten uses for leftover paint.

Psychological benefits

According to Zimmer, the trend to tints is part of the ebb and flow that occurs in the paint industry every five years or so. It's been all about the gray in recent years, but now, lighter hues are getting their time in the spotlight.

In getting on board with this new look, you’ll see benefits beyond just aesthetic. Enrobing your room in lighter-colored paint not only makes the space feel more open and spacious, it can have psychological benefits as well.

Busy homeowners will feel the calming, spirit-lifting effects of brighter surroundings. And soft tints derived from certain color families — green and blue, for example — have a restful quality that can be restorative after a stressful day, says Zimmer.

You might especially appreciate a lighter space during the winter. It might get darker earlier than you’d like outside, but inside, it’ll be light and bright.  

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