The interior paint colors that will be hot next year have a decidedly cool feel to them, with off-whites and certain light pastels moving to the forefront. So says Debbie Zimmer, color expert for the Paint Quality Institute, which issues an annual forecast on the latest color trends.

“After two straight years of dominance by gray wall color – often accompanied by deeply saturated secondary colors like purple, teal or rust – fashionable homeowners will switch gears and brighten things up in 2016,” says Zimmer. “Wall color will be lighter, featuring a lot of cool and calming hues.”

Off-whites will predominate next year, but very pale blues and greens are also expected to be popular. “The lighter, softer color palette – and especially the blue-green hues – will help create a more relaxing environment for busy, hyper-connected homeowners who find more than enough stimulus at work, on the road, and in the other corners of their world,” says Zimmer.

With wall color trending to the subtle side, the color, pattern and texture of home furnishings will take on added importance in décor, relying heavily on fabrics and carpeting to impart visual interest. And against lighter walls, artwork will have extra prominence.

Stylish homeowners who still crave some deep color in their rooms will use accent pieces – pottery, planters, throw pillows and the like -- to punctuate their living space. Some may even use deep paint color sparingly, possibly on architectural elements like built-in cabinets and fireplace mantels.

Brass or gold-colored accessories complete the look for 2016. “Nicely fashioned door knobs, cabinet hardware, faucets and bric-a-brac complement the new color palette beautifully. Incorporating at least a few such items into a room adds character and style without compromising the light feel of the 2016 indoor environment,” says Zimmer.

To learn more about color and home painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at blog.paintquality.com.