Two Experts Weigh in on the Best Way to Use Behr’s Color of the Year in Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Back to Nature, Behr’s signature hue for 2020, offers a fresh take on the neutral trend. We asked two color and design experts how to make the most of this shade in your home.
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It's a certainly a challenge to choose a shade that will be known as Behr's Color of the Year. There are countless small decisions and many difficult questions circling the process, but now that it's over the team that developed this intriguing variation within the hugely popular neutral color category can breathe a sigh of relief.  

In August, the yellowish-green shade known as Back to Nature was given the prestigious 2020 title, as well as a premier spot on shelves at The Home Depot nationwide. The inspiration behind this color was indoor/outdoor living and finding a way to really let homeowners bring the outdoors in, says the Behr team.  

Behr announced its 2020 Color of the Year as Back to Nature in Napa, California last August. The color provides a neutral backdrop that works with a palette of 15 complementary shades. 

"With universal appeal and a worldly value, this organic shade acts as a grounding 'new neutral' that provides the perfect backdrop for peace and tranquility at home," says Erika Woelfel, color expert at Behr. "It's a restorative and revitalizing green." 

Back to Nature serves as the cornerstone of the brand's 2020 Color Trends palette. To supplement this olive-toned color, the team created a collection of 15 complementary shades that are also inspired by the outdoors, which allows Back to Nature to either work as a subtle detail or impactful statement in the home. "It especially works in areas where you're hoping to promote balance," Woelfel adds. 

We asked interior designer and creative director Brady Tolbert and owner of K. Interiors Kate Newman how they would respectively design with Back to Nature in mind. Follow their advice, and you'll have all the tools you need for a bathroom and kitchen that are right on trend. 

Brady Tolbert: Back to Nature in a Bathroom Design

"Don’t be afraid to bring in a little color to your space, it’s one of the easiest ways to transform any room and give it a new look," says Tolbert.

"Green is one of those colors that can read as a neutral when used right," Tolbert says. "This tone is softer and more serene than a deep mossy green, which allows the color to bounce around in light." 

When designing a bathroom with Back to Nature at the forefront, the most important advice Tolbert gives is to practice balance: every other decision should create varying textures and tones, so that this small space doesn't read as one-note. 

"Green can sometimes feel juvenile if it doesn't have something else in the room to give it a more sophisticated vibe," he adds. "I'd bring in some black throughout the space to help modernize it, and employ whites, wood accents, and brass." 

Here's what Tolbert would use to complete a color-driven bathroom: 

Tiling: "These handmade tiles from Anchor Ceramics Tile have just a slight enough variation to bring in some of the warmer tones in a green wall color," he says. 

Fixtures: "The black shade of this Waterworks Wall-Mount Faucet modernizes the green and also makes it more sophisticated," Tolbert notes. 

Mirror: "Flip this Simi Mirror by Lawson Fleming on its side and stretch it all the way across both sinks in a master bath to create one large mirror," he says. 

Lighting: "This graphic Apparatus Lantern Pendant not only brings iron and ceramic into the space but makes the Back to Nature shade feel calm," Tolbert adds. 

Kate Newman: Back to Nature in a Kitchen Design

Newman recommends using Back to Nature in the kitchen to add some whimsy.

Given that a kitchen is often thought of as the hub of a home, Newman likes that this 2020 Color of the Year could appeal to a variety of settings. 

"I can see it working easily in many environments, from coastal to mountain," she says. 

Newman suggests using this hue to make a statement—it'll look best in this larger space as a bold presence. "It needs to stand on its own and be the star of the show," she adds. "Treat this color as a neutral, and if using any other neutrals, opt for whites. This will help create a timeless space, and then you can bring in accent colors in rugs, artwork, and pillows. Navy and salmon would look great."

These are Newman's suggestions for how Back to Nature can create a lasting impression in a kitchen:

Cabinetry: "I would love to use Back to Nature for the cabinets," she says. "I'd create a modern and clean feel with flat-front cabinet doors, and then paint the walls, trim, and ceilings a warm white to complement them." 

Hardware: "I'd use simple polished nickel hardware that is smaller in scale to not be distracting," Newman adds. 

Flooring: "Using wide-width light French oak hardwood, laid in a herringbone pattern, would be a way to add texture to the floors," she continues. 

Countertops: "I would use a quartz with subtle white-on-white tonality and warm veining for the countertops," Newman says. "I'd also use it for the backsplash, to help maintain simplicity." 

Lighting: "Brass would accent this color wonderfully," she notes. 

Related Colorful Reading:

10 Kitchens Dripping With Bold, Vivacious Color

Before & After: A Remodeled Chicago Kitchen Channels the Owners’ Commitment to the Arts

A Classic Midcentury Home in Napa Gets a Kitchen That Complements its History 


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