Forget builder-white paint in an eggshell finish. Paint-supplier trend spotters are offering inspired color schemes for 2007. “Trend cards are leading indicators of where color is moving,” says Mary Rice, vice president of marketing — paint, color, and interactive for Behr. Each year, paint companies develop a palette that's designed to say, ‘Here are colors that are the most popular, that are staying in vogue, and that you'll see in related goods like fabrics and accessories.”

Not all room colors must come from paint. Include tones from wood, metal, upholstery, and  elsewhere in your palette.
Not all room colors must come from paint. Include tones from wood, metal, upholstery, and elsewhere in your palette.

Manufacturers generally organize paint color trends into collections, making identifying complementary colors easy. For 2007, Sherwin-Williams offers “Understated Elegance” as a fresh look at neutrals, including colors such as krypton, harmonic tan, and ivoire. “Instead of ‘antique white,' this collection features more midtones that look great on the wall and are showing up in investment pieces,” says senior designer Becky Ralich Spak.

Benjamin Moore's Natural Terrain collection also comprises several midtones including moccasin, scenic drive, and potters clay. The earthy palette complements a variety of wood tones.

Rice says Behr is seeing a range of greens, such as asparagus, remain popular this year. “Green tends to transition from the apple and yellow shades,” she says. “Now we're seeing them move a bit bluer.”

“In addition to being soothing, green is the color range the human eye can see most broadly, which helps account for its popularity.”

Other trends include rich reds and golds inspired by exotic cultures, colorful shades with a retro vibe, and the always classy pairing of black and white.