gold line svg


Four shocking colors from the 90’s that you’ll want in your home right now


Hold on to your Dr. Martens, put Oasis on repeat, and grab your flip phone folks. The 90’s have taken hold of fashion (socks with birkenstocks, anyone?), and it’s leaking pretty quickly into the home and some of it is looking really good. Fashion leads color trends, we all know that. But, sometimes they hit and sometimes they don’t (Marsala-gate, 2015, which we tried ourselves here.. cough cough tablecloth). Usually it takes at least a season if not a year for it to catch up in the home realm and sometimes they never do (Radiant Orchid which was a pretty annoying looking purple). This year I’m going to be writing a lot more on these trends and how to actually use them in the home in a more timeless way.

But first I wanted to talk about the four winter colors that I’m absolutely loving right now. These four colors are in, they are your friend, get used to them.

Color Trends 2016_Greens_Shades of Green

1. Muted greens: Fine, I know that is more broad than a simple color, but most darker shades of green are super in: olive, hunter, pine, jade and then sage and moss green are also getting equal attention. I can’t get enough of all of these pretty shades. Dare I say that green is the new blue? Shame on you, Emily (cut to the president of ‘The coalition of blue for all Americans’ calling my agent and firing me on the spot as their spokesperson). These greens are more muted, less saturated. Emerald, aqua or anything too primary are taking a backseat. This season its more neutral and soft, like Meryl Streep.

Color Trends 2016_Dusty Rose_1

2. Rose: While blush is still wildly in fashion, its taking a more sophisticated, muted turn this year in the home. It’s still pink but with a lot of brown in it, making it softer, less saturated, and more calm. I’m very excited about using this color this year all over that baby room (more to come soon).

Color Trends 2016_Dusty Blue_2



3. Dusty blues: Don’t call it ‘cornflower’ for fear of scaring our moms, even though it can border on that, too. Either way, it’s a grown-up pastel that has more gray in it than it does on the runway, and its looking mighty happy and sophisticated in the home these days.


4. Beige: Wait, WHAT? We say ‘taupe’ and ‘ivory’ and even ‘greige’ like it’s no big deal, as if we are somehow above beige now, but it’s all a shade of beige, isn’t it? This year all those creamy neutrals are being mixed together and leaving us in a neutral, yet modern heaven with beige being a strong player. Stark white was the trend for years, but no longer. While I need to certainly get more into this, a quick tip is to mix it with more modern colors. If you go the beige, brown, cream look you are dangerously close to 90’s suburbia. Mix with black, white, ink navy, blush pinks and modern finishes (brass or copper) to make sure that it stays firmly in 2016.

Color Trends 2016_Beige

***image sources: feature, 1. green,  2. rose, 3. dusty blue, 4. beige

Are you into the 90’s color trend? Marsala didn’t stick but I seriously think these will, do you agree?

Fin Mark


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

Comments are closed.
newest oldest most voted
Notify of


Hannah B

I disagree x1000! Those muted greens and dusty blues make me want to grab a book and hot chocolate and snuggle in for the winter. To each his own. I say yum! 🙂

All of them are so luscious, and so calming….

OK, so I’m looking for new bedding and I found the most beautiful beige pillow covers yesterday that threw me into an existential crisis about WHY DO I LIKE BEIGE AM I 90 YEARS OLD?? Thank you for dragging me out of it with this post. I’m feeling back to my millennial self.

That dusty blue, I’m in love!


So today beige is all good; on Wednesday you were naysaying on the Swiss Coffee color in the shelter… isn’t that beige? What am I misunderstanding here?

Hey Laurabeth – there are a million different tones of beige (warm, cool etc) and light plays a big role in how any color is perceived. Also, architectural details and other elements in a room can dramatically affect beige, especially when it coming to flooring like hardwood or carpet. The Swiss Coffee color clearly was not working in the shelter space, and without having seen it in person, I trust Emily’s designer judgement!

Aww I have a swim suit in radiant orchid I love! Maybe it’s only horrible for interiors?

Excited about the blush tones and dusty blues. My friend painted an accent wall in her living a mid-tone slate last year and I have so been wanting to copy her!


The dusty blues are amazing!! I really love the gray paints that you recommend (aloof and gray owl) but I might be ready to go to the next level with these. Do you think these would mix well in a home that has mostly gray running throughout…??

The house I lived in when I was in middle school was painted the muted green color in the second photo and it was gorgeous! It was a very fancy house built in the 1960s and it just WORKED. I never stopped loving the color, even if I haven’t used it myself! I’m digging the rose too. I AM definitely getting tired of all grey everything in regards to neutrals, but I’m not quite ready to jump back on the beige bandwagon (although it’s not like there are a lot of other neutrals to choose from).


Hey Emily,

I just came across a Dough Boy on Craigslist that is lovely, but I am having a hard time thinking about what purpose it could serve in my currently empty studio. Have you ever styled/refinished one of these beauties? Maybe it could be a coffee table or some sort of sideboard? Side table? Thanks lady!


May I ask what a ‘dough boy’ is and/or means? All I could picture are the army hats from WW I. Thanks. PS I googled it and still clueless……..

Emily K

I think it’s a piece of furniture with 4 legs and a hinged top. In the olden days one would proof dough in it I think though just general storage like sewing supplies is also a function. I’ve seen them all different sizes from sideboard height to side table and coffee table heights. So I guess styling it depends on the piece.


I love rocking my Marsala booties and leather skirt. But I never got it into my home design. I think I must be the only person on the planet that doesn’t like blue in my home. I have always gone with greens. When I first heard about the blue and dusty rose combo I had flashbacks to my childhood when my mom tole painted with her friends and had dried flower arrangements everywhere in those colors. Not a look I want to go back to. The images you featured show those colors in a new sophisticated way. Thank you for showing us how to do it right.


Pretty please do a follow up post with your favorite paint colors in these shades…


Agree! I am going to paint store today to try to find a similar green for my bathroom.


Ooooh, I’m on trend for once in my life!?
I recently purchased a dusty blue area rug ( to replace the Romper Room nightmare that previously occupied our living room. I LOVE the new rug but I’m having a tough time pulling the rest of the room together. The above interiors are beautiful but also very restrained. Is there a way to incorporate these muted colors and create an overall room feel that is airy, happy, and fun?

Jane B.

NO. Not beige again yet. It is still way too soon. I’m not believing that one is back! There’s no way.


I totally thought the same. How can ‘builder beige’ all of the sudden be the new sophisticated color when it is still painted all over every newly built home’s surface, both inside and outside, along with beige carpet, beige rock work, and tile? Blech… I do love the other colors though, especially the rose and dusty blues.


This sounds like my 2 year old townhouse that my husband does not want me to change anything on since it’s still so new!


really love the first two – muted greens and rose. also looking forward to a post on specific paint colors!

I was just about to go get some navy paint samples for the walls in our bedroom, but now that I see the dusty blues… any ideas on what paint color these are?

Yes, I need the paint color of the first dusty blue photo!


Love the color in the first picture (bedroom)! I hate beige with a passion!

Oh no; I’m having an existential crisis over here. We are closing on our new house in two weeks and I had my bright white picked out to paint over the off white and beige walls in order to start us off with a blank canvas. Now I’m wondering if I need to cancel the painters. Eeek, I would love to see more examples Emily!


Dusty blue & muted greens for sure; boring beige and puke-y pink – heck no! 🙂


Over Christmas, my husband and I painted our fireplace bump out (the dry wall surrounding the mantle) a hunter green. We loved it so much that we painted our half bath the same color. Lots of compliments so far! I’m in for this 90s trend.

French vocabulary police here. Just to clarify: “rose” = pink. Not pastel pink, not muted pink, just plain pink, in all its glorious range, same as in English. So, when you’re saying that pink is in trend right now, it’s not a specific shade.

The (gorgeous) shade of pink you’re talking about is called “vieux rose” (old rose). It’s fantastic and I love it beyond reason. In velvet, on a Louis XVI settee, and I’m in decor heaven (also, my bank account would be empty, which is why I don’t have any settee at home).

I really love the green shades, and I’d be really interested in making builder’s beige work. While I don’t really like it in home decor, some of us are stuck with it in our rentals and can’t repaint (or won’t, since we aren’t staying long). What can we do to make it look good and current ?


I second how to make builder neutrals work! I need advice!

Yeah, but in English, I believe “Rose” does, in fact, refer to a pretty specific shade of pink. I guess sometimes we might call it “Dusty Rose”? But I think most people see them as being interchangeable.

I love discovering how languages borrow words from other languages and slightly change them ! English is not my native tongue, and I certainly didn’t mean to correct anyone. It was a “just so you know” comment, nothing more.

“Dusty rose”… I don’t like that, I don’t want to dust anymore than I have with kids and cats… ^^ but it’s such a wonderful color !


the aesthetic is WILDLY DIFFERENT though.

No country clutter or wooden ducks — like the kitchen I grew up in 😉

Stacey W.

No beige, never beige. Beige is the stripper with dead eyes.

Do you honestly believe a beige room can exist that isn’t lifeless, dirty, and boring? Blech.

No way – every color relies on context to some degree. Do you think the beige room example above is lifeless, dirty, or boring? Careful not to knock any one isolated design element too hard… you may have to eat your words in a few years.


?? agree with Samantha. Let’s not judge taste and cleanliness based on one’s color choices. (I love the photos!)


I followed the link at the bottom (TY) and see the Farrow&Ball paint but what color is the blue bedroom? It just says “light blue”.


My whole house is beige and I was seriously considering painting all the walls white this year. Thanks for this post Emily !

Susie Q.

The last photo IS very 1994 Design School. Actually, I was at DAAP at that time–check out a photo of the Aronoff Center. Yep. I still feel like, “Been there. Done that.”

Susie Q.

I googled it again. It’s the building designed by Eisenman, not the performing arts center.

I really like the muted greens and blues. I’m convinced that, in fashion and interiors, all you have to do to predict the Next Big Thing is conjure up in your mind the grossest, most passé fads you possibly can (brown, beige, front pleats), and then wait a year or two. Et voila! There it is again. I have major respect for the creative impetus of designers involved in this process, but sometimes it’s enough to make you cynical.

I love that dusty blue!



You can pry my aqua from my cold, dead hands. I’ve had aqua in the dining room for more than 10 years and it still makes me smile every time I see it.

I’m not sure some of these are newly back; some never seem to have gone at all. (There is SO MUCH BEIGE on various HGTV shows.) I say do what you like and don’t worry too much about the trends.


Yes to all of this!


Iäm having a hard time with the pine green, just makes me think of Microsoft in the 90’s. But I’m usually a bit behind trends, I say yuck first and then a year later, warm up to it…

The forest green = yes please!

The rose color makes me think of Thornbirds. “Ashes of roses” was her fave color in it, no? It’s a tricky color, it can go “80’s pink bathroom” real quick.

And you know what’s AWESOME?
Forest green WITH a dysty rose pink!

(Like in Em’s nursery – you’re so ahead of the curve…)


Is this one of the first posts written by someone else per your message at the beginning of the year? I like the content, but it doesn’t sound like your voice at all. Just wondering!

Adriana Barton

Woot! For once I’m on trend! See my living room transformation from deep gold to creamy walls, rosy rug and aqua-velvet sofa:


Any chance you have source for those chairs in the last photo? Love ’em, and I’m on the hunt for new kitchen chairs.


This kind of reminds me of fashion. If you wore it the first time it was “in” you really don’t want to wear it when it comes around again.
For me, it’s the equivalent of the ’70’s…
But if you’re young and hip, knock yourself out!


PattyBlaettler I love your comment. This is exactly how I feel.
I like the blues and greens you have pictures and certain beiges can look nice but I’m having a hard time with the pinks. It reminds way too much of my childhood home, with all the hunter green and mauve home interior pictures and flowers draped all over the walls. Not to mention our loveseat and recliners. I don’t want a repeat of that. Ever! 🙂


Yes, exactly. I was in West Elm the other day and fell hard for their metal arm chairs in dusty rose picturing it with my mostly grey/taupe interior paired with today’s metals and iridescent fabrics. It wasn’t until I realized I’d just recreated my first apartment circa 1984 (minus the metal accents) that I thought better of it. And while this “new” palette is much more muted and sophisticated it’s still a little frightening to those of us who were around for the last go round.

I love the muted tones! Rose pink and dusty blue are two of my favorite colors, so I am over the moon to see they are “in” this year. The green is a nice addition, too.

Beige, however, only works in really specific circumstances. And I don’t really consider beige the same as cream or ivory. Those colors have a more yellow undertone, instead of brown or green. I look forward to seeing a longer post on it!

Yes please on the muted greens and dusty blues! We’ll be painting our basement soon, and may have to go with one of these!

-Mackenzie @ http://smithfamilyrenovations

How right you are — my living room is the color of the first photo on your post, and the home office I painted just this week is identical to the photo underneath the Rose write-up. They’re swanky and bold and completely not fussy when surrounded with organic and eclectic elements. Loving them!

Beige? That’s harder to swallow for me, at least on the walls. We live in the land of EVERY SINGLE HOME just now being convinced to come off those contractor beige walls. I can’t imagine actually electing the color. Ha!


So do tell – what color is that in the first photo?


I’m a firm believer that any color can work in nearly any situation, if done right. But there will always be design trends and they help us find our favorites. As always, will be fun to watch!


No to beige!!!!! I hate the fact that almost every house built from the late 1990’s on has beige or taupe walls. Or when gorgeous older houses get flipped and they end up with beige walls and brown granite countertops!! Ugh!!! And they call them “designer colors.” Double Ugh!!


Too soon, Em. Too soon.

(For most spaces anyway)


Any intel on the green room paint color? Must. Have. Pleeeaaasssse?


It has taken me years to believe that I can use my favorite colors, blue and green, here in Seattle where it is often grey by going saturated. I love some of these looks but think that several of them would just look like prison here in Seattle most of the time. I am also surprised at how much I like some of these new pinks [the ones that don’t look like silly putty] but if you tell anyone I will have to kill you 😉

Connie Maddox

Love them all except the beige! Especially love the blush and blue!


dusty blue is my favorite color, recovered a chair in velvet dusty blue over the summer, happy to see it represented here. and that rose tone is great too, paired together they become a moodier rose quartz and serenity

ps. ikea has a collection of dusty blue mugs right now! just got a few yesterday


Hey, I’m on trend for once! We’re about to paint our new kitchen a muted green very close to Sage (and the runner up was a dusty blue).


Oh I really like the colors in the first 2 pics. I would love that in my bedroom. Can’t wait to see what colors you suggest.

I am hopelessly in love with everything in the white-to-brown spectrum… Thanks for tips for keeping my color combos fresh!!! I really like the photo with all the greens.

Chenell Tannure

I am going to say it…I love white walls and I am not ashamed of it!!!!

All of these are beautiful and fine in the right context, but I change things around A LOT and I love the flexibility my Ultra Pure White walls give me. I am also a fan of black walls, for the same reason.

Again, these are all beautiful. But my walls at home will always be white, black or concrete or wood clad or something else totally NOT “right now” and totally “right, always.”


Love this article!

I love dusty blue, always have. I love all greens, even muted ones.

Thank goodness someone actually said what (almost) everyone thought about Radiant Orchid.

I would disagree that ivory is a shade of beige.

I love, love, love gray – my house has gray walls, and my office building just got an interior facelift and they chose gray for practically every surface. I hope gray never goes out of style like beige did.

Love the dusty blues too. One of my favorites is Benjamin Moore’s Winter Lake 2129-50. We used it on a kitchen wall and it added such depth to the room.


I find color so very personal and I can honestly say that I do not regret painting miles of woodwork and many walls in my home Extra White (SW). The clean and bright look makes me sooo incredibly happy. It calms my brain and allows me to use color in other ways that aren’t so permanent. I can’t imagine going back to off-white ever again. It’s all about how it makes you feel. No one is right, no one is wrong. That’s the beauty of color.

Go To Top