Sherwin-Williams’ 2019 Color of the Year taps into old-world, free-spirited thinking

by Brian Sodoma

Old and new worlds are coming together with Sherwin-Williams’ 2019 Color of the Year. Cavern Clay is described as ‘a warm terra-cotta with ancient elemental roots,’ inspired by some old-world sentiments. But the color also has the flexibility to incorporate into modern design and color schemes, according to color expert Sue Wadden, the company’s director of color marketing.

“Cavern Clay is an easy way to bring the warmth of the outdoors in,” Wadden adds. “Envision beaches, canyons and deserts, and sun-washed late-summer afternoons—all of this embodied in one color.”


Cavern Clay is part of Sherwin-Williams’ ‘Wanderer ‘color journal collection, revealed earlier in the year in the paint manufacturer’s 2019 Colormix Color Forecast. The Wanderer collection is inspired by “free-spirited wanderers and old-world storytellers,” according to a June Sherwin-Williams press release.

“2019 will be a renaissance of the 1970s—with a twist. In the coming year, we will embrace our pioneering spirits and artisan ingenuity,” adds Wadden, who further describes Cavern Clay as a color that “embodies renewal, simplicity and free-spirited, bohemian flair.” It’s “one part cowboy, one part Scandinavian style that produces a luxurious result.”


Cavern Clay pairs with other Wanderer colors like Moth Wing, a brownish-gray, and the deep-brown Dark Clove. And it works well as a backdrop in kitchens and dining rooms, and also has a place in modern commercial spaces, Wadden adds.

“Spaces like boutique hotels, restaurants and even offices are making an effort to create photo-friendly areas that are Instagrammable,” Wadden emphasizes. “Cavern Clay is an ideal color for flattering and design-forward aesthetics—it plays well with many types of lighting and brings this visual of the expansive and free outside world to interiors, resulting in [the feeling of] open and versatile public spaces.”

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