Study reveals pros with color expertise are in demand

by Brian Sodoma

verkauft  1Do you know which interior colors millennials and baby boomers prefer? Are you aware of your region’s color preferences? If not, you may want to brush up on your color expertise. Why? Because nearly three in five Americans plan to paint an area of their home in the next 12 months and four in five say they would hire a professional to do it—and they’d like some help from a pro who knows a thing or two about color, too.

That’s the sentiment from the “National Painting Week Color Psychology Study,” which was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Sherwin-Williams. Using data from more than 2,200 Americans polled as well as social media postings, the survey sheds light on Americans’ unique color preferences, generational and regional views on color, and other details that could help paint pros learn more about how to better serve their color-curious clientele. Here’s a look at some of the findings:


The study found 58% of Americans agreed that more-vibrant colors should be used in the home, however don’t expect neutral colors to largely be abandoned for dashing hues, according to Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing, Sue Wadden.

“We know that neutrals are popular in interior design, so it was surprising to see that many homeowners agreed more vibrant colors should be used in the home,” she said. “This doesn’t mean neutrals won’t still be important but, rather, that an opportunity exists to encourage customers to try new colors for a current project.”


Green was a popular color, but generations see the color differently. Millennials are more likely than boomers to associate green with energy while baby boomers are more likely to associate it with calmness. Also, 41% of millennials selected black as one of the colors they like most.

“One way to attract new, younger customers can be to differentiate yourself with knowledge of color and color trends,” Wadden also noted. “In fact, millennials welcome extra help when it comes to choosing a color for their space. More than half agreed they would rather get professional help to choose paint colors than professional help when choosing clothing.”

At the same time, overall, 42% of Americans associate the color yellow with happiness, but men are twice as likely as women to associate the color with weakness. The top three emotions Americans in general associate with the color red are excitement, energy and strength.

“It’s a good reminder to consider your audience when planning any painting project,” Wadden added.


The study also found that geography played a role in color preferences, and there were plenty of nuances to the findings, too. For example, social media posts out of the Midwest saw a greater number of mentions of the colors green, pink and red. In the south, blue saw higher activity. Meanwhile, in the West, the study found men were more likely to mention black while women preferred red. And in the South, there’s a higher likelihood to see pink mentioned for exterior areas of the home.

“Most homeowners still pick hues for both interior and exterior that reflect their local surroundings. Green in the Midwest can be reflective of nature, while pink in the south matches exterior home styles,” Wadden added. “When customers are considering new colors for their exterior, remind them to look to the nature around them as one starting point.”

To learn more about how painting professionals can leverage color expertise, watch for articles on the subject:

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