Sherwin-Williams 2019 Color of the Year
Is Straight Out of 1972

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Clearly the world is not done with mid-century style, we’re just graduating a decade or so. Sherwin-Williams announced yesterday their 2019 color of the year is Cavern Clay, an earthy, reddish color that’s a little bit Southwestern desert, a little bit Wonder Years. And if you grew up in the Southeast, you’ll recognize it as the exact color of your feet after playing outside in the dirt.

“We believe 2019 will be a renaissance of the 1970s—with a twist,” says Sherwin-Wiliams director of color marketing Sue Wadden. “In the coming year, we will embrace our pioneering spirits and artisan ingenuity. Cavern Clay embodies renewal, simplicity, and free-spirited, bohemian flair.


Last year’s color of the year was Oceanside, a rich, jewel-toned shade that oozed luxury and opulence. Cavern Clay is far more understated, more casual, but also easily elevated with careful pairings.

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

Cavern Clay styling and color matching tips

  • With earthy colors like Cavern Clay, avoid pairing with stark white, whose contrast will give earthy tones a neon quality. Instead, go with neutrals that are just off-white or reminiscent of white sand. The good thing is, this color is going to be very friendly with most dusty neutrals.
  • You can make Cavern Clay very casual with simple color pairings and fibers like linen or wool, or you could take it classic Williamsburg with traditional furniture and plenty of wood accents.
  • Go earthy monochrome with oranges and browns. And keep in mind that this color will look bloody brilliant with gold accents.
  • If you love bright colors, try introducing a pop of jewel tone like sapphire or ruby.
  • Pairing yellows is going to be a tough one. If you love yellows, go with buttery rather than bright, and the closer to tabby cat orange, the better.

More earthy tones for your home

If you’re loving these rusty brown and pumpkin spice shades, also check out Vänt’s Velvet Rust Wall Panels, which are as much a decorative statement as they are a functional soundproofing device.

Wood tones can also be wonderfully rich in clay shades. Check out these classic bentwood dining chairs from West Elm in a perfect rusty brown.

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