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December 13, 2022

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Each year, top paint brands and design experts reveal their picks for the color of the year, selecting the shades that best encapsulate the coming months. Their choices, including those of 2023 color of the year, draw on pop culture, fashion, technology, and design from around the world. Typically, these yearly color trends represent something significant going on: considering the power of color to evoke a range of emotions.

Soft Neutrals, Warm Pinks, Deep Blue-Greens and Magenta

Open paint cans with a paint brush dipped in blue paint.
United Soybean Board, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Unlike last year’s near consensus of shades of green as their 2022 color of the year, this time around, each paint brand sees the world differently. Warmth, relaxation, and nature are common themes in many of the selections. Warm neutrals and earth tones can inspire us to slow down in our homes and seek out more comfort and peace in our daily lives. On the other side of the spectrum, bold, sunny shades and bright colors beg us to incorporate more joy into our routines. And considering the quintessential indoor/outdoor lifestyle we covet here in Santa Barbara, the 2023 color trends will certainly be embraced here.

Why is color so important in a home?

Color is an emotional element, especially when it comes to your home. Santa Barbara homeowners should be aware that the color they choose for both their interior and exterior paint can create a profound influence on their space and the people in it, playing a vitally important role in the world in which they live. Color can cause a variety of reactions, sway thinking, change actions, and affect your heart rate, blood pressure and even your breathing.

Generally, color is divided into two categories: warm and cool tones. Warm tones, like red, orange, and yellow can energize a space and its occupants. Cool tones such as blue, green, and purple generally create quiet, relaxing atmospheres. Whatever you choose, just remember to use color to your advantage to create an inviting, productive space.

When painting your Santa Barbara home’s interior, an excellent tip is to use lighter colors in the ceiling and go darker as you go down to the floors. That simple trick creates depth while making every room look welcoming. Keeping things color-coded will help you bring into existence a style that will last.

But color doesn’t only count when it comes to paint. Your furniture has a lot to do with a room’s atmosphere. Whatever look you’re trying to achieve, just concentrate on combining a contrast in hues while balancing colors. Keep in mind the 6:3:1 ratio -- the major and most dominating color takes center stage to set the mood (6), balanced with darker or lighter colors (3), with smaller aspects (1) emphasizing the lines and shapes of your architecture.

Experts Choose Their 2023 Color of the Year

Here is a list of what the major color trendsetters say to look out for in the coming year:

Close-up of a vibrant magenta rose bloom
Photo by Ozark Drones on Unsplash

Pantone Color Institute
Pantone, the company responsible for creating the universal language of color, chose Viva Magenta as the color of the year. This bold, pinkish red is "inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

To decorate your home with this saturated shade, add the bold, confident color on furnishings in an otherwise neutral room. Some of the shades that go perfectly with this hue include soft blues, greens, and beiges. Viva Magenta is definitely a bold choice, but when used in the right way, this color choice can really make a statement.

This year, the designers at Glidden chose the jewel tone Vining Ivy, a blend of blue and green creating a tranquil backdrop. "[Vining Ivy] is energizing yet grounding, and it works in literally any space," said Ashley McCollum, Glidden color expert, in a press release. "Its versatility takes the guesswork out of design, leaving consumers with more time to indulge in the things that matter most to them."

The experts at Sherwin-Williams selected a blend of blush and beige this year. Redend Point is a grounding shade that features subtle pink undertones to warm up walls to bring comfort and joy to interior spaces.

"People have been drawn to nature-inspired and earthy tones the past couple years, and this is something that will continue into 2023 and beyond," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "Greens, blues, and browns can make any space feel safe, calming, and grounded yet still energized."

color samples in a sample book
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Behr Paint
Make a statement with Behr’s 2023 color of the year pick: Blank Canvas. This creamy shade of white goes with practically everything. The warm neutral color promotes relaxation while encouraging creativity.

"Blank Canvas effortlessly offers a clean and inviting blank slate that allows individuality and creativity to flow freely. This white easily harmonizes with a wide range of hues, including neutrals, earth tones, and pastels for a charming and cozy appeal," said Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr, in a press release.

Instead of sticking to one color of the year, Valspar curated a palette of 12 livable paint colors for the coming year that includes soft neutrals and sweet pastels, along with soothing shades of blue and green.

"[They] are usable shades that encourage self-expression and anyone can envision in their space," said Sue Kim, Valspar color marketing manager, in a press release. “Soft shades of pink and purple, including Gentle Violet and Southern Road, add sophisticated yet subtle color to walls, while rich, restorative blues and greens, including Flora and Everglade Deck, pair well with wood tones and brass accents.”

Benjamin Moore
Bright and cheery, Benjamin Moore went bright and cheery this year by selecting a vibrant red-orange hue called Raspberry Blush. Anything but timid, it’s a saturated shade that energizes any room for a lively look.

“People are ready to bring color back into the home, taking a step outside their color comfort zones,” said Andrea Magno, color marketing and development director at Benjamin Moore, in a press release. “Raspberry Blush 2008-30 and the Color Trends 2023 palette empower the use of statement colors that deliver delight and personality while transforming rooms for incredible results."

Terra Rosa by Dunn-Edwards is a blend of brown and burgundy designed to give any room a sweet and cozy feel without being saccharine. The rosy, warm pink hue works as both a grounding neutral and a delicate accent.

“We’re putting health and wellbeing first, making time for escapism and embracing nostalgia ... This translates to design through lush, sophisticated touches with equal parts prettiness and drama," said Sara McLean, color expert and stylist for Dunn-Edwards.

Color Can Make a Big Difference When It Comes Time to Sell

In case you didn’t know, when it comes time to sell your home, the right paint color can make a big difference in your final sale price. Studies show that a $50 can of blue paint can result in a huge return on investment for homeowners, no matter what the color of the year is.

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets: a growing trend in both rooms.”

Go neutral in your kitchen and dining room
Neutral colors give any kitchen and dining room a clean backdrop, allowing Santa Barbara homeowners to let loose by using accenting vivid colors, like any of the green hues mentioned above to transform the space. Neutral paint colors aren’t only a thing you should consider for your walls, in fact cabinets in a variety of neutral tones is one of my favorite trends that never goes out of style and is the perfect way to really personalize any kitchen.

Blue bedrooms
Homes with blue bedrooms sold for $1,856 more on average. There are so many shades to choose from, including some of the green hues mentioned above that contain hints of blue. Not only will it look good and help with the sale, but blue is also associated with feelings of calm which, when picked up by your ganglion cells and relayed to your brain, helps reduce blood pressure and heart rate, all of which help you receive a solid night’s sleep.

Neutral exterior colors
When it comes to a home’s exterior, neutral-toned properties sold for $3,496 more than comparable homes painted in a different color. And while you’re painting your exterior a neutral color, why not go green for your front door? Green is one of the best-selling front door colors. Traditionally, this paint color indicates prosperity and wealth, but its natural appeal means you’re also serene and peaceful. One caveat, though: don’t go too neutral on your front door or it may appear bland. Go vibrant instead.

Paint your living room in rich, bold neutrals
When done right, neutral living rooms can help a home sell for $1,809 more on average. And what goes better with bronze than a natural green?

Accent Walls
Any room can benefit from an accent wall. It can establish a focal point in your space, so the wall you choose is important. If you have a fireplace, built-in bookshelves, or some other feature you want to spotlight, pick one of the 2023 color trends for your accent wall to draw eyes, and those of potential buyers straight to it.

When it comes to the 2023 color of the year choices, one or more of the the neutral hues listed above are a perfect for your home’s interior or exterior design. And if you’re considering listing your home, keep in mind one of the most important steps is to freshen your property for a sale. If that’s you, please contact me. As a leading Montecito Realtor and resident for many years, I have valuable insight into the current local real estate market. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a new home, chances are you’ll want to consider having that one painted as well.

In fact, I might have the home of your dreams in my portfolio of current listings. Just give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at In the meantime, go bold and neutral in 2023!

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Client Reviews

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch