Shaw Announces 2019 Color of the Year: Whisper

By Baila Floors |


In a break from tradition, Shaw Industries chose a palette for its 2019 Color of the Year. A team of hard and soft surface designers were sent to various regions around the country to explore how emotions and design are impacted by location. What they came back with was a palette of colors—which they call “Whisper”—that speaks to the psyche of design today.

“This palette represents a very dreamlike quality,” said Pam Rainey, vice president of soft surface product development, Shaw Floors. “It’s ethereal. It’s calm. It’s approachable. The five colors we chose are very easy to integrate into the home, and the colors coordinate and integrate very well with both soft and hard surfaces."

The colors—Glacier Ice, Clay, Blush, Mist and Dusty Lilac—are intended to be versatile and work well with whites and grays that are trending in interior design today.

“We’re seeing a big shift this year in what we would commonly refer to as a neutral,” Rainey said. “In the past, if somebody said 'neutral', you probably thought of a white, cream or gray tone. Now, we're seeing a neutral that's really color-infused. It has a soft and a dusty feel to it.”

At a practical level, the Whisper palette will tie together the product introductions Shaw will launch at its 2019 winter markets and convention.

“This palette will also make it easier for retailers to talk about trends,” Rainey said. “In all regions over the last six months, there’s been a huge shift to lighter colors in surfaces."

There are a number of reasons that, she said. First, consumers are exposed to many of the same trends on social media, which is inspiring consistent demand. Second, there is a shift in private spaces going lighter.

“It's not like consumers are putting carpet throughout their entire home anymore—we’re seeing they've probably got a mix of hard surface in the public areas, and then as you get into the private spaces, we’re seeing them using more carpet, which is trending going lighter.”

On a philosophical level, the palette also represents some cultural shifts in society today: female empowerment and an increased reliance on technology.

“Many of us crave some softness and comfort in our homes today—something that’s not quite so hard-edged as technology. Whisper is a palette of softness.”

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