Color trends for 2018

By Jerry Rabushka,



Choice, Or Not. You Choose

Think of color choice in terms of grocery shopping. Some stores give you tons of brands, sizes, and flavors so you can get “exactly” what you need. But with so many variations of bread, olives, or pasta, who knows if you’ll get “exactly” the right thing or you’ll come home to a chorus of “that’s not what I meant?” Some stores, usually lower priced grocers, have one brand of everything, two if you’re lucky. You want olives, take this brand in this size because that’s what there is.

So while paint companies offer lots and lots of colors (as well they should), many of them are also narrowing it down for customers right at the starting gate. Obviously some customers will want to start with 3,000 colors, but others will sit more comfortably with 30. Unlike groceries, you don’t need to go cheap to get your choice of choices. But just like groceries, they’ll want colors that won’t “go bad” all too soon.



Refined Pigments for Refined Customers

Emmett Fiore, senior color strategist at Fine Paints of Europe, tells us that the company’s new Color Concierge is designed, destined, and determined to take the stress out of color choice. Like that helpful staff member at an upscale hotel, the concierge can direct customers towards the time of (or in this case, the color of) their life. “Color Concierge is a new palette of 120 perfectly balanced shades that come to life on your walls,” he said. “Time and time again, these shades have delighted our customers and looked gorgeous.”

Color choice is more than just picking a chip off a rack, he reminded us. Along with the rack, everyone and everything has to weigh in. Friends, family, spouses, kids (“I hate that color!”) social media, TV, you name it, all has do’s and don’ts of color. If you do a don’t, then what?


“With Color Concierge, you can relax, knowing that any of these shades will create an environment you’ll love,” Fiore said. “As a collection, these harmonious hues flow seamlessly from room to room and pair beautifully with a wide variety of other colors.” Because of that, he added, your customers will enjoy painting (or hiring it out) and not be nervous the whole time that the color won’t work.

Let’s say they like it. Awesome! Amazing! Dance like you scored a touchdown at the Super Bowl. “When all goes well, choosing colors is one of life’s most tangible, gratifying experiences,” Fiore noted. “Because we use ultra-refined pigments, Fine Paints colors shine and hold their vibrancy for generations. To build a contemporary palette with universal appeal and finesse, we consulted with experts, both in-house and industry-wide. Though tried and true, our core collection sparkles with elegance, serenity, mystery, and even a touch of whimsy.”

Color makes a difference, he acknowledged. “That’s why we’ve assembled this group of colors: to enhance wellbeing. The Color Concierge palette will help homeowners make confident color choices that last!”

Thanks to Fine Paints, we found out that the moon isn’t made of green cheese, it’s made of Silk. From this same collection, Silky Moonlight (RAL 9016) shines day and night as the company’s Color of the Year. “It’s a mesmerizing serene white with a contemporary vibe,” they describe. Customers who choose it might just be over the moon, with or without a jumping cow.




A Shift in the Atmosphere

Diamond Vogel picked four Color of the Year candidates, then asked its customers to choose a winner. Atmospheric Pressure (0587) came to the gala in a stunning light blue and won top honors. Use it inside, outside, as an accent—if it’s a color of the year you can imagine it’s a good fit both as a main color and as part of a larger scheme.

“Atmospheric Pressure couples easily with popular styles including mid-century, coastal, industrial chic, and modern farmhouse,” says the company’s markeing manager Sandy Agar-Studelska. “It is a shift from the popular grays, but it still speaks to our search for soft, ethereal color that is easy to use in open concept interiors,” she describes. “It can be paired with popular grays, charcoals, and blacks that have been a mainstay in accessories and furniture.”

For exterior settings, she recommends homeowners use the color as a front door accent, delivering feelings of calm and abundance that extend to their guests.
If this isn’t quite what your customers are looking for, you can always steer them to the runners up, as they are also trending colors for 2018.


The Great Beyond

What’s great about the Beyond is that it’s right here in the form of Pratt and Lambert’s 2018 color forecast, which draws inspiration from today’s cultural influences across fashion, technology, travel, art and home décor. The palettes in this system are designed to help your customers get there—beyond, that is—beyond where they’ve taken color before. Most folks will appreciate that; imagine sending them home with a color they love rather than a color they settle on.

But “beyond” is an assessment that can have as many meanings as your grocer has olives. How does P&L define it? “It’s the overarching story of our four trend palettes. Each trend story has a theme of searching beyond what we currently know in our everyday,” said Senior Designer Ashley Banbury. “In Diverge we are seeking new worlds to colonize. In Boundless we are looking to create our own story and identity. In Synthesize we are seeking ways to improve our everyday lives for community and ourselves. Finally, in Intention we are trying to seek reprieve from our everyday life to create a more happy and healthy lifestyle.”

How does that help you? Learn these trends and what they represent, then in conversation with the customer, ask questions about the space they are painting and the feeling they want to evoke, Banbury suggests. It could be they want a specific feeling in a space and want your help finding the color to achieve it. “Using our trend information and brochure can help you direct your customer to freshen up any space!” she said. “Each one of the color palettes has a supporting trend story and design esthetic. A color card is designed to help guide the customer to the right color palette for them, with the help of photos and short palette description.” If you have an understanding of each palette and the design style that it evokes, she said, you can help guide a customer towards success.

The word—well, two to be exact—from P&L is “color story,” the idea is that each customer has their own story to tell, and these palettes can help fill the pages. Again, “What are you trying to say” in your space, rather than “what color do you want” might just be the question to encourage them to look Beyond.



At Peace with Blue

If color choice is still stressing a customer out, they can calm down with Heron, Pratt & Lambert’s Color of the Year. “In our search for serenity in today’s dynamic and often hectic world, we found Heron (27-18), our 2018 Color of the Year. It offers calm, tranquility and adaptability, allowing it to transform an ordinary space into a sanctuary that truly showcases the power of color,” said Banbury.

Found within Intention, Heron offers the calming effect that is sought out in daily life. It is a versatile blue that provides creative individuals, from interior designers to architects and design-savvy homeowners, an opportunity to create tranquil spaces in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary. In functional spaces like living rooms, this statement blue gives a subtle visual impact with an aura of relaxation. It inspires unplugging and spending more quality time with family and friends.

Heron mixes well with crisp whites, soft grays and metallics and can be paired with materials such as whitewashed wood, burlap, concrete, terracotta and glazed pottery to further inspire relaxed living spaces. People will tell you they want to “slow down,” right after they check all their social media because something might have happened five minutes ago that they missed. But let’s say they look up from their pads and phones…Heron might help them move towards a bit more peace, Banbury noted. “We have become a society that is constantly plugged in. With laptops, Wi-Fi and cell phones we don’t clock out of our 9-5 jobs anymore,” she said. “People are seeking a way to have a digital detox, creating a serene quiet environment within their home balances the calm from the everyday chaos. Incorporating calm colors that can be found in nature­—that are reminiscent of the sea and sky—are great ways to create your own personal retreat in your home.”

One more question we had for a Ashley: how do you decide how many color trends? Seems like more often that not it’s four, but, she tells us, that’s not really the case. “The number of trend palettes may change from year to year; it’s about giving an overall view of global trends representing the trend stories that our customers can relate to. The trend stories are always building off one another; it’s about telling an ever-evolving story from year to year.”

Pratt & Lambert’s Palettes

Intention inspires us to live with a mindset that is thoughtful and restful. Less is more in Intention, as homeowners decorate spaces that evoke memories of past experiences. Interiors are calm, decluttered and tranquil with soft and airy hues of gray and pink. The colors of this palette can be used to create spaces that bring tranquility and relaxation. This trend is where we find Heron, Pratt & Lambert’s 2018 Color of the Year.

Diverge takes inspiration from the exploration of new worlds. Minimalistic colors and clean lines merge for a simple yet impactful design and interiors are modest—often featuring neutral colors. These neutrals are not always light in level, but can be deep and enveloping. The Diverge color palette features gray-greens that represent rare earth metals that are reflective of celestial violets. Neutrals like dune and smoke also play well in this otherworldly palette.

Boundless offers limitless possibilities, as it is a palette that provides consumers the opportunity to author their own design stories. Driven by uncategorized and authentic storytelling, the Boundless palette is energetic and colorful, merging neutrals with unexpected pops of color. This trend showcases bright hues like true red, cherry and orange that stands out against neutrals like greige and cream.

Synthesize brings color to represent the humanized version of technology. This story features vivid colors used to re-energize natural patterns allowing colors to blend, blur and bleed into one another. Interiors combine punches of color with patterns and texture. This palette includes hues inspired by fields of green and gold, violets, teals and brilliant reds that stand out against gunmetal and steel blues.


Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

Dunn-Edwards’ color of the year takes us back to 19th century France, and since we can’t time travel yet, we’ll be happy to paint up history on our walls and keep our plumbing and electricity. “Known throughout French history as l’heure verte, ‘The Green Hour’ is described as the 5-o’clock hour or twilight, when bistros and cafés were filled with patrons, and absinthe was the drink of choice,” the company narrates. “Absinthe grew in popularity in the 1840s when French troops were served the drink. By the 1860s, it was so popular in French cafes, bistros and cabarets that it became known as The Green Hour. While the drink color is a more vivid green, Dunn-Edwards’ version evokes the time and era.”

Sara McLean, color expert and stylist for Dunn-Edwards, shared several observations on where color is going in 2018:

Pinks continue to push forward and are now acting as neutrals. With the paradigm shift to pink as a gender-neutral option, it adds another color into the neutrals family to produce an even wider range of design choices. Pink’s popularity also puts hue variations—such as mauve and rose, as well as a deep, warm red or Bordeaux hue—into the spotlight.

• With Pantone’s recent announcement highlighting Ultra Violet as its 2018 Color of the Year, purple is solidly confirmed as a trend highlight this year. Midtone lavender will be increasing its presence in product lines throughout the year.

• Cobalt leads the charge for blues. This strong statement of color adds punch to décor and highlights a mini-trend. Add a bright red and vivid Gen Z yellow, plus black and white, to complete this palette. In other areas of blue, denim blues and warm blues trend up.

• Green in deep values is prevalent this year, elevating its status as a key color. With a nod to our 2018 Color of the Year, The Green Hour, the evolution of greens from the aforementioned deep values to brighter greens like Kelly green and warmer greens such as olive, cements its trend status this year.

• Oranges and tans are trending in terracotta and clay ranges, with a subtle, pink undertone as a nod to the pink trend. The downshifting of orange values to browner and pinker tones reflects the increased interest in American West and Southwest color and design. Clay is being paired up with warm blues and cobalt.



Color on Fire

Is there such a thing as picking the wrong color? Well yes, but it all depends how you define “wrong.” Wrong to who? We like to talk about people who pick colors to satisfy their Aunt Martha who comes over once a year at Mayfest, or people who paint for the next homeowners, who are so worried about selling their home they forget to live in it. You can help customers enjoy their lives, but if they still have trouble picking a color, knowing what paint companies name as a color of the year can certainly make them feel comfortable that someone agrees with their choice.

PPG went with what some people might see as “against the grain” by naming Black Flame as its 2018 king. But given current trends in color, home décor, and society in general, it’s not as bizarre as all that. It’s a great place to start, and its crowning by PPG has certainly made black an easier sell. “Bringing a color to the surface from the more than 1,000 colors in the PPG Paints palette always generates interest and favorability,” said Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. It wasn’t like they pull the color out of a hat. It’s at least a year-long discussion, and the announcement is a can’t miss event for the PPG color staff!

“Everything from tile, granite, textures, and woods influence color selections,” said Schlotter. “At PPG, as we select the color of the year, we look closely at the materials industries to make sure our color of the year and other color trends will resonate with professionals and consumers. This year’s selection has certainly been confirmed. Black home décor is also enhancing the color’s popularity and increasing wall color coordination.”



This also speaks to a heightened interest in darker colors across the board, and again, for customers afraid of the dark, if this isn’t a stamp of approval, we’re not sure what higher authority we can appeal to. “While some are still nervous to use dark paint colors, more and more we are seeing dark colors used as an accent to add an element of drama or elegance to their décor,” Schlotter observed. “For instance, dark colors like Black Flame look beautiful on window frames or door trim. I always encourage customers to try it—they are often surprised how pleased they are with the results.”

Black Flame was announced in Summer 2017, so Schlotter has had plenty of time to gauge the success as well as see how it works as some unusual accents. “One of the most interesting places we have seen it is on interior doors,” she said. “These can be closet or room doors or a door that leads to the exterior of the home, with a different color on the outside of the door. The interior door has become the new accent wall and Black Flame provides notice and weight.”

You can take it outside as well, for a dramatic yet natural feel. “Another trending place to feature this color is the exterior body of the home; it is super modern and classic at the same time. Also, in some settings, blackened hues help to quiet the house against a backdrop that is filled with trees and nature.”

Back inside, she adds, many homeowners paint up Black Flame as an accent in their bedroom on the wall behind their beds. “It is a truly gorgeous concept. Dark-colored bathrooms are also gaining popularity,” she noted. Color, overall, is growing up. “Over the last couple of years, we have seen more mature hues, including grays and colored naturals, used in nurseries. Now, we see even more modern, gender-neutral colors being included, which pairs well with trendy, black nursery bedding.”

Summing it up, this is a color that, believe it or not, even Aunt Martha, and even the next homeonwers, might enjoy. “Yes, Black Flame is a meditative, private color, but is also a neutral. Customers enjoy the classic appeal it brings to their home, while still offering the solace they need and crave.” If she likes it, Aunt Martha must just show up that much more often!


Choose Wisely

They still can’t decide? PPG’s Dee Schlotter offered the following are suggestions to help make the process simpler and help your customers get better results:

• Prior to selecting a paint color, it is important to first select new or consider existing flooring, fabrics and window treatments. Once these elements are considered, a complementary tone can be selected from the other colors in the room or home’s palette. Customers can consider several paint swatches that will coordinate or complement the colors within décor items.

• Rather than holding small paint swatches up against a wall, hold them next to furniture, flooring and window treatments for a visual of how the paint will appear in the space against these elements. Customers can order free 8″ x 8″ sample sheets in any PPG Paints color at

• Once they’ve narrowed down the color selection, they should paint a 2′ by 2′ swatch on the walls to see the colors against different lighting throughout the day and evening.



Wow, Red!

Red. Wow, because red’s often been kind of controversial—wait, no kind of about it—and on a lot of people’s “not” lists. In just a couple years, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year has gone from Simple White to Caliente (AF-290), a vibrant, charismatic shade of red. Nothing wimpy or dithering here! “Strong, radiant and full of energy, Caliente is total confidence. It is pleasing, passionate, and makes people feel special, like a red carpet treatment,” said Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore director of strategic design intelligence. “Whether used as one note or on four walls, the spirted personality of red turns heads, signaling surprise and adventure. They can’t help but follow its bold strokes.”



Caliente leads the way of the 23 colors in the company’s Color Trends 2018, which includes a full spectrum of reds that can be paired with a carefully selected range of whites, neutrals, and complimentary bold hues.

Like most companies, Benjamin Moore isn’t dictating what people should use as much as reporting on what’s going on. In the “we want your job” department, the selection of the color of the year took a team of seven color and design experts to 30 cities across 12 countries, traveling nearly 100,000 miles. They attended industry shows and captured and studied over 42,000 photos that illustrated points of inspiration from arts, design, architecture, pop culture, fashion, furnishing, and more. From all of this, they found an emergence of red hues. “These embody the change, strength, confidence and vitality that permeates culture movements around the world.” Share the Color Trends 2018 color card with customers and show them the impact of red in creating statement-making environments that are warm, enveloping, and full of personality. Red is more than just “side of a barn!”



California Trending—Q&A with Daniele Martin at California Paints (ICP Construction) on colors for 2018.

Does California Paints have a color of the year?
California Paints does not have a color of the year, but we offer 30 curated trend colors, which are available for view on our digital fandeck at


Do you have any new color tools for your dealers?
California Paints offers an assortment of color tools to help consumers, architects and designers make their color selections, including fandecks, color albums, and architect kits. Our new digital fandeck, also gives users the ability to view hundreds of colors from all California Paints’ palettes, including the Historic and 20th Century color collections, in different room scenes.


How can dealers help customers make the most of their color selection?
Choosing a color that fits with the customer’s personality and taste is key. Some customers might also find that painting an accent wall will appeal more to their personal taste, versus having a whole room done. However, we find that, as with any color selection process, it is important to help the customer understand that colors look different in different rooms and at different times of the day, so getting test samples prior to painting a room is very helpful step. California Paints quart samples are available at most authorized dealers and are a great tool for this kind of project.

What are some colors trends and pairings to look for in 2018?
Blues and warm grays are still very popular and are being carried over from 2017’s palettes into 2018; however, grays will be gravitating more towards warmer tones, with hits of red. These combinations include California Paints Inspirations Star-Studded (0620) Place of Dust (0539) and Sparrow (0554). Remember that many people feel the need to look for an escape from the chaos that surrounds them. With that in mind, colors that evoke balance will dictate the direction for 2018. Calming blueish greens, like North Beach Blue (0485), will become more solidified in the market.


  Filed under: Feature
  Comments: None

The Faux We Need

By mirandalipton,

Better Living Through Decorative Finishes

by Miranda Lipton and Jerry Rabushka

A faux finisher once ended a seminar by saying “You’re selling a product that nobody needs,” the point being that you need a bang-up marketing approach to be successful. But maybe we do need it—these days we can all use some decorative coatings on our walls and in our lives! Still, you might need to do some extra convincing to get some customers to go “beyond the conventional pail” and try these finishes as an accent or even over a whole room.

We consulted two suppliers: Golden Paintworks (makers of LifeStyle Finishes) and Old Fashioned Milk Paint, about their experience with faux finishes and the strategies they use to increase awareness of these products. As something that is often seen as an addition to a paint job rather than a necessity, companies must create opportunities for customers to realize just how much these products add to their finished look.

Dana Rice from Golden Paintworks utilizes social media to get the word out. She discussed how beneficial it can be to hook up your customers with the company’s social media pages. This offers a way to link customers to some “How To Apply” videos, which Rice feels is a must with faux products. She also finds it important to hold informative seminars for homeowners and contractors, since despite all that social media has to offer, an in-store display might just be the tipping point when deciding on a purchase. “When it comes to the full visual and tactile experience of falling in love with a product that reflects your own personal Lifestyle, nothing beats a fantastic store display,” she said.

You can also help your clients tap into the customization frenzy, as more and more people are looking to personalize their living space with both color and texture. A customer raised on a diet of off-white might love to hear about some new options! Rice suggests some questions that may steer them towards your LifeStyle Finishes display:

• Are you aware that you can personalize your living space to reflect your lifestyle?

• Would you be interested in bringing the beauty of nature’s textures into your home or perhaps doing something a little more individualized or elegant?

• Which ones do you like? Lifestyle Finishes are easy to apply—choosing from the 16 options is the hard part!



Need Milk?

Anne Thibeau, president at Old Fashioned Milk Paint, uses social media in a different way. “Posting photos of projects on social media platforms is a good way to show how the finish will look on different surfaces,” said Thibeau. “Milk paint is distinctive in that it can be used to make something look old and worn with very little effort—usually less steps are involved than with other paints since milk paint can easily give a surface a time worn, old world look.” For customers who are into shabby chic, farmhouse chic, or even historic restoration, this is a great product to take us back to those old chic times. Or not: “It lends itself to a modern, sleek aesthetic as well,” she added.



Again, seeing is believing for your customers. “Sample boards, display signs, and seminars are all great—many dealers who sell the Old Fashioned formula have events where customers bring their own small pieces in to paint,” Thibeau said. “Others may offer occasional demos.” If your store is on social media, see if your customers will upload their accomplishments so others can see the product on a variety of surfaces.

Impress them with product’s ease of use, she recommends, as well as the ability to create new colors by combining the pre-packaged powders either in ratios determined by the company or by experimenting on their own.


Need to Take a Powder?

In addition to the faux aspect of Milk Paint, Thibeau reported how the company differentiates itself from other manufacturers through the way their paints are created. The soft and chalky finish that Milk Paint leaves is a result of the how the product’s dry powder is mixed with water to make the paint. “We are the first to admit that many pro painters may balk at the idea of having to mix up paint before use, but it is quite easy to do with a bucket and a paint paddle on a drill,” she observed. The paint also appeals to a “greener” crowd because of the chemical-free powder that is used as the base, she said.

It’s these differences that can help you sell to consumers who are increasingly looking for a customized experience. “Milk paint is definitely not ‘just paint,’ and mixing a dry powder with water into paint it can be a bit difficult of a concept for some to wrap their heads around,” she acknowledged—but people have been stirring up Kool-Aid and Metamucil for generations, so mixing powder into water is not a novel concept. More and more people are hearing about milk paint, and now part of your mission as a retailer is to show them that it’s not really that hard to mix up. Once they give it a try, they’ll most likely be a convert, said Anne. “Explain that the finish is soft and chalky like the popular chalk style paints on the market, but that this all-natural paint has been around forever and is the original paint with that soft, chalky look.”


Need to Hear More?

As appealing as faux products are, you may be hesitant to add yet another product line to your inventory. Thibeau puts these uneasy feelings to rest. “It’s super easy to become a dealer,” she assured us. She highlighted the low minimums and great technical support that Old Fashioned Milk Paint offers to make these products easy to try out without making a large investment.

Dana Rice assures retailers of a smooth transition into faux products as well. “Lifestyle Finishes can be displayed in a compact profit center with minimal SKUs,” she said. “Every product is tintable, so you don’t have to guess which colors will be fast-movers. We provide tinting and spraying guidelines for you in order to take away the guesswork.”

Plus, adds Rice, it’s a great finish for contractors; your sales pitch to them should emphasize ease of use with great results. “Show them how these easy-to-apply products can differentiate them from their competitors that only apply boring off-white,” she urged. “Contractors can easily learn a skill that will get their phones ringing and referrals flying in.”

Plus, it’s contagious. When one person sees it, the next person wants it! “The latest looks that are ahead of the curve will get your customer’s neighbors (or building visitors in the case of a commercial project) asking where they can get that look for their next project. With products like these, your painters won’t have to compete at the lowest price, they can earn a fair wage for the time they spend on the job.”

Along with the how-to videos, said Rice, the company has seven Material Application Specialists on staff to answer product application questions. And Golden Artist is there to help you get the word out. “To support our dealers, we advertise in trade magazines and participate in national trade shows that are geared towards the professional painters,” she concluded.

See? We need it.

  Filed under: Feature
  Comments: None

Paint Scene—January 2018

By The Paint Dealer,

PPG Renews Sponsorship

PPG has renewed its sponsorship of Independent We Stand, an organization devoted to promoting independent businesses in all industries. Through Independent We Stand marketing campaigns and social media, PPG will work alongside co-sponsor STIHL and associate sponsor Do it Best to increase awareness about the importance and strong economic benefits of buying local.

“It’s because of companies like PPG that we can increase the footprint of the buy local movement and help independent businesses thrive,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of IWS. “With their support, we can offer free resources to thousands of businesses. The more successful these independents are, the more they reinvest and the bigger economic impacts they will have on their communities.”

“PPG is strongly committed to our valued independent dealer partners,” said John Trenta, senior marketing manager, PPG. “We are thrilled to continue our sponsorship of Independent We Stand as we have a joint passion for building relationships with independent retailers to help them grow their businesses and to service their customers.”

Independent We Stand’s website provides several options for consumers to find and support independent businesses. Businesses can join at different levels for a variety of services; you can also register your business to make it easier for consumers to find you and stop in.


HERO appoints Tony Blatchford

I.C.T.C. Holdings Corp. (HERO Products Group) has appointed Tony Blatchford as Canadian Sales Manager. Tony’s industry experience comes from his long-time association with one of Canada’s largest paint companies and more recently with one of the world’s largest paint companies as a member of the senior leadership team for its Canadian division.

“Tony’s experience working for two significant paint companies will give HERO a new perspective and understanding towards the planning and implementation of programs that will enhance HERO’s position in the marketplace.,” said Steve Balmer, President and COO of I.C.T.C. Tony can be reached at


Blue Future

Increasing automation in the construction industry could displace or replace as much as 49% of the America’s blue-collar construction workforce (2.7 million workers) and eliminate nearly 500,000 non-construction jobs by 2057, according to a new study by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Advancements in technology have already dramatically re-shaped American manufacturing and eliminated millions of blue-collar, middle-class jobs,” said study co-author and Project for Middle Class Renewal Director, Dr. Robert Bruno.

MEPI and U of I researchers highlight a decades-long decline of blue-collar labor as a total share of construction costs and the growing share of capital—which includes machinery, equipment, and other technologies— to show that the industry is well positioned to move towards increased automation. “Whether through the use of robotics, virtual reality, or other technological innovations, automation has been increasing productivity, reducing costs, and improving quality,” said study co-author Jill Manzo. “With capital growing, the industry struggling with skilled labor shortages, and our nation facing growing infrastructure needs, it is fair to conclude that the pace of automation is likely to accelerate in the decades to come.

”The study also notes that between 2010 and 2017, 2.6 million workers who moved from construction into other jobs saw their wages drop an average of 32%. It concludes that if this pattern held for all blue-collar construction workers potentially at risk of being displaced by automation by 2057, it would mean an annual loss of $41 billion in labor income (in today’s dollars) and the elimination of as many as 500,000 nonconstruction jobs.

To address the challenges posed by future automation of the construction industry, MEPI and U of I researchers propose a set of policy recommendations aimed at ensuring new workers are trained to meet the industry’s future labor force needs, and to help re-train current workers who could be displaced in the future.


Dealer Events

Lancaster Buying Show
Feb. 16-18, Kissimmee, FL
Gaylord Palms Resort

PACOA Dealer Markets
March 3-4, September 8-9, New York Queens College—Fizgerald Gymnasium

  Filed under: Departments, Paint Scene
  Comments: None

Mark My Words—January, 2018

By Mark Lipton,


Contributing Writer

Piling On: It All Comes Out in the Wash

“It’s safer to have 20 customers owing you $100,000 than one who owes you $2,000,000.”

My daughter was home from college for the holidays. I could tell because there were piles of stuff all over our house that were not there two days before! Multiple piles of laundry; piles of shoes (everywhere!); piles of notes, books, and study guides; and of course the pile of stuff that could not be categorized into one of the existing piles. I don’t mind the laundry, but do we need so many piles?

It’s not a bad idea to have a conversation about consolidating with a teen. But it’s somewhat akin to telling your dog to save his treats for when he’s hungrier than he is now: he hears the instructions and seems to be paying attention, but he’s not going to do it! Consolidation is not just for the piles in my house, it also affects our lives as independent paint retailers. Over the last few decades, most industries in the U.S. have grown more efficient through consolidation, and the paint industry is no exception. I am not referring to the consolidation in manufacturers,, though that has certainly happened. The pile I’m sorting through today is the consolidation of independent paint retailers.

As little as a decade ago, if you threw a dead cat at an ALLPRO meeting, it would likely land on a one- or two-store independent paint retailer. Single stores or small-localized chains were the norm and the biggest had ten or so, with just a few in that realm. Dealers with that many stores almost always had them in one small geographic or trading area.

Now we have mega-dealers all over the United States and they continue to grow in store count. Independents with 20 or more stores are commonplace and exist in many of the major markets around the country. Many of these dealers stretch over multiple states or hundreds of miles, a phenomenon which would have been hard to imagine decades ago. There are significant benefits to some of this consolidation, but it should not be embraced without some thought for the troubling downside of this trend.

It’s easy to see how this started. Manufacturers concern themselves with market share and trends and need to take action to defend their brands. By going to regional consolidators (as these uber-dealers are called in the boardrooms), it allows manufacturers to find one person with parallel interests rather than trying to bring together a room-full of independents with disparate interests. Even more challenging for manufacturers are markets where few independents exist and then trying to create a room-full of like-minded independents. It’s easier, and you could argue more efficient, to build and execute one growth plan rather than many. But then are they really independents?

Here’s the problem: markets where there used to be 20 single-store dealers now have one dealer with 20 stores. While that dealer has gained some efficiency over the single store and small chains, there are risks that the manufacturers are ignoring. Credit risk is not necessarily tops on that list, but it’s up there! Large companies look at their outstanding accounts receivable as a portfolio. It’s much safer to have 20 customers each owing you $100,000 than it is to have one who owes you $2,000,000. Additionally is the risk of having all your sales eggs in one basket! This is the area where I think manufacturers are most exposed.

Sales performance will struggle at some point in the absence of competition and some of that competition should come from other independents. As a group, we drive each other to do our best. There are certainly some “skaters” in our ranks, but in markets where independents are strong, there are always a handful of strong businessmen and women succeeding in growing their market share. I would gladly take 20 entrepreneurs working to keep my brand strong over one general manager with 20 stores!

I am not advocating we go back to the days where markets have countless numbers of single store dealers, many of whom are barely making it. For the channel to prosper, we need dealers who are successful. Long-term though, a multitude of small chains with well-developed leadership is by far the better outcome for all than the path we are on. Programs designed to help a dealer bring his single store success formula from one store to five will yield more dividends and significantly more diversity for those that profit from us, than a program to help a 30 store chain grow to 40!

Mark Lipton is the 4th generation owner of Tremont Paint in New York City as well as a consultant to the coatings industry.

  Filed under: Departments, Mark My Words
  Comments: None

Prime Coat—January, 2018

By Hans Mugler,


Couldn’t Do It Without YOU

With 2017 safely in the books and the calendar flipped over to 2018, it’s easy to look towards the future of this industry with excitement. Many companies in the paint & sundries segment have had stellar years, while some have struggled a bit. Acquisitions have not slowed as more and more large manufacturers absorb, buy out, merge and acquire more of the smaller manufacturers out there. Great new products abound for our industry, and we will continue to show you as many as we can because they could have a big impact on your bottom line, selling products that you can’t get at the big boxes.

Time for some “Thank You’s.” I want to personally thank each of our advertising partners, large, medium, and small, for their commitments this year and their continued support. These folks you see every month in our pages help to pay our bills and keep these magazines coming out to you monthly. They are happy for the opportunity to reach you independents, who for many are the lifeblood of their business. Whether they are selling a $1 item or a $10,000 piece of equipment, their products are designed to make painting a better experience, and when you are selling these high-quality products that can’t be found at the boxes, you are separating your stores from the competition and making your stores a destination for all those looking for a few quality items to finish off their honey-do’s.

I also want to thank all you readers, those of you who read us cover-to-cover monthly, and those who choose to read us online. You ARE the reason we do this in the first place! My dad, Chris Mugler, knew he wanted to, like you, differentiate himself from the competition. He felt the need to supply a magazine that would be helpful to independents—one that contained best business practices of other quality independents, showcased quality products that would give you an edge over your competitors, and was directed to you—not the big boxes, not flooring stores, not interior designers, and not stores selling window treatments…he wanted to do whatever he could to help the independent paint & sundries dealer, and we continue to do that as we head into our 27th year in publication.

Lastly, I want to thank my outstanding staff. Jerry Rabushka, my associate publisher and editor, remains the most qualified voice in our industry. He is a strong proponent of the independent, a strong believer in promoting the best business practices and products, and one of the most talented and creative people I know! Kathy Tongay-Carr never ceases to amaze me with her creative layout designs throughout the magazines, and the cover designs that standout among all the other magazines in our industry.

Our newest writers, Josh Bohm and Miranda Lipton, have taken to the industry with very little difficulty. Josh holds down another job while taking on writing assignments, and Miranda continues to write for us as she studies and continues to make good grades at THE Ohio State University. Sue Oden has been a sales rep for us for more than seven years now. She loves the industry and loves dealing with her clients. She’s a single mom with four kids, one of which has special needs, and her days are long and hard, but she continues to be a ray of sunshine for all of us here. Shirley Schomaker is in her second tour of duty with us. I scratch my head sometimes wondering where we would be without her. She keeps our production schedule clean, maintains the subscribers list for both magazines, does our billing, and never ever complains about the occasional odd jobs I ask her to do around the office.

To our advertisers, to our readers, and to my staff, thank you so much for all you do. I wish each and every one of you an excellent and prosperous 2018!

  Filed under: Departments, Lead, Primecoat
  Comments: None

The Paint Dealer’s 2018 Product Spotlight

By The Paint Dealer,

What better way to end this year and start the next than with a buffet of new products? We’ve been about new products since our inception in 1992 and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Say Happy New Year to your customers—and your shelves—with new products, new packaging, and new formulas! (Information supplied by the manufacturers.)


Graffiti Can’t Hibernate
Blue Bear® Porous Surface Graffiti Remover from Franmar safely removes unwanted graffiti, marker, and other “tags” from porous surfaces. Maintain original appearances without the need for repainting. It is VOC compliant, has virtually no odor, and is made with 100% American Grown Soybeans.


Give Rust a Rest
Richards Rust Shield QD 1700 is a high solids interior/exterior quick dry enamel with the following benefits: 1-2 hour recoat, corrosion resistance, built for production, rust preventative, rich gloss finish, and availability in a variety of bases and colors.


Stucco Sticker
Stucco Masking Tape from Intertape Polymer Group is a durable, moisture resistant polyethelyne-backed tape with a rubber-based pressure-sensitive adhesive that bonds well to most surfaces. It is designed to offer a high degree of conformability without excessive stretch. It is great for many construction projects including seaming poly, flooring underlayument, and surface protection.



Sanders Shaping Up
Festool introduces three new, “hybrid” sander models: the delta-shaped DTSC 400, the 5″ ETSC 125, and the rectangular RTSC 400. Each model provides the same functionality of its corded counterpart but with hybrid power options and can be used cordless or corded. The sanders are balanced with a unique ergonomic battery for optimum performance and handling that provides up to 30 minutes of runtime at full power.


Listen Here!
The 3M™ WorkTunes™ Connect Wireless Hearing Protector helps provide hearing protection that paint crews need for days spent indoors around drills, nail guns and oscillating tools. It keeps users connected with its integrated Bluetooth® wireless technology, allows them to make and take phone calls on-the-job, and adds an element of fun to the work day with its high fidelity speakers that stream users’ entertainment of choice. This new hearing protector is easy to use, with a simple single-button interface, and Audio Assist for easy setup.


Livin’ the Lifestyle
Golden Paintworks’ Lifestyle Finishes™ bring the beauty of nature inside with a line of texture products that offer a wide variety of applications and effects. From the appearance of pale, smooth plaster to coarse, sandy rock, a diversity of looks is available by using these materials straight from the can or adding tints and glazes for an even greater range. From subtle to dramatic, elegant to rustic, the product line expands your offering with a small footprint of tintable, easy-to-apply, 100% acrylic products. Give customers the trending looks they see in magazines and on social media!


Just Not the Same
Thanks to Intex DIY, paint rags will never be the same again! Newly repackaged, PFC™ (Precision-Fiber™ Cloth) rags are sold by piece count, not by weight, and are designed for consistency from rag to rag, bag to bag, and box to box. Made in the USA, better quality than new or recycled cloth rags—you’ll find your rag business picking up! Ideal for staining as well.


High Capacity
Stanley high capacity polyester roller covers are designed to perform well with all paints and stains. Rollers are manufactured with high density shed-resistant fabric which holds a large amount of paint and releases it evenly for a super fast finish. A sturdy solvent resistant core provides easy cleaning and reuse.


Sun, Reformulated
PPG Paints Sun-Proof® exterior latex house & trim paint, a trusted product in the PPG portfolio since 1900, has been reformulated with improved characteristics. It is formulated to deliver outstanding dirt-resistance properties, making it easy to rinse away surface dirt and grime with soap and water. Additionally, the product’s flash rust resistance ensures that rust from items such as nail heads won’t bleed through the surface. VOC levels are less than 50 grams per liter, making the product VOC-compliant in all regulated areas.


Staple Scraper
The wall scraper has been a staple in every painter’s tool box for over 60 years. Warner has brought its ProGrip ergonomic technology to this product to provide the same comfortable grip professionals expect of quality tools in this category. The new release incorporates the ergonomic handle and a new blade protector for improved safety and blade protection during storage and transport.


A Century of 75
Benjamin Moore’s Century is a new dimension in paint formulated specifically for high-end designers. The convergence of science and craftsmanship in Century produced the industry’s first-ever Soft Touch Matte finish to enrich a curated collection of 75 brand new colors. The formulation is so intricately balanced, Century is only made in small batches that are pre-mixed and sealed. It offers an unrivaled depth and richness that transforms rooms—and the entire color experience.


Mouse in the House
BLACK+DECKER’s first-ever cordless sander—the new Black+Decker™ 20V MAX Lithium Ion Mouse® Sander offers the power, performance, and maneuverability needed to give projects an ultra-smooth finish. Its 12,000 OPM speed allows for quick debris removal. Its high-performance dust collection system ensures workspaces stay clean. Compact & ergonomic design provides control and accessibility in tight spaces; detail finger attachment helps sand in hard-to-reach spaces.


Paint From Across the Pond
This British-made high-end paint is coming to America! “Our unique range of paint and wood finishes deliver something very special,” says the company. “That’s why we’re the first choice for the most exacting residences and the most visually stunning film and theatre sets. Over the years, we have perfected the art of making paint with unique recipes, superior ingredients and an unwavering dedication to quality.” email:


Light in Your Pocket
The 200 Lumen Pocket Light (11179) is a powerful light ideal for inspections and fitting in tight places. It feature a tremendous amount of light in a convenient aluminum pen body with a rotating clip and powerful magnetic base. Available in a 12 unit counter display ideal for driving point of purchase sales opportunities.


You’re in Lux!
Faux Effects’ “New” StucoLux Shimmer™ has all the great qualities of original StucoLux with a subtle shimmer/sparkle…simply gorgeous! StucoLux Shimmer is a decorative, easy polishing mineral-based Venetian plaster. A creamy, smooth material, it glides on easily across most substrates. It has very good interior and exterior durability and provides beautiful undulations of color depth in the final finish.

  Filed under: Feature
  Comments: None

Paint Scene—December 2017

By The Paint Dealer,

sponsored by


Hardware Store Wins National Award

Each year, the small business movement Independent We Stand helps consumers recognize the top small business in the country—businesses whose owners go out of their way to give back to their communities—with the Independent Small Business of the Year award (or Indie Award). The 2017 recipient is Massachusetts company Carr Hardware.

Family owned and operated since 1928, the company was founded by Sam Carr and purchased by the Raser family in 1962. Marshall Raser and his son Bart still handle business operations. With more than 100 total employees, each location offers its customers years of specialty experience. Carr Hardware will receive prizes with a combined value of more than $50,000 and has committed to donating its $5,000 cash award to a park revitalization project in Pittsfield, MA, home to the store’s main branch. The staff at the four Berkshires locations in Massachusetts and two in Northern Connecticut take pride in servicing the needs of their neighbors.

Employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities and have served on volunteer fire departments and coached local sports teams. Most recently, through product and cash donations, Carr Hardware provided its customers with a platform to support hurricane relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. The store itself is involved with many local civic organizations.




Good for the Goose

Over a half a century ago, a large airplane hangar in West Los Angeles housed the notorious Spruce Goose aircraft, Howard Hughes’ massive wooden flying boat that was airborne for only one short flight. Now, that historic hangar is being refurbished and protected using products by TEX•COTE®, a nationwide manufacturer of infrared heat reflective architectural coatings.

The former Spruce Goose hangar, built by aircraft innovator Hughes in 1945 in Playa Vista, California, is being renovated for use as office space. The project’s architects were looking for an infrared heat reflective coating and a dark color that will last on the building and not fade, as well as provide energy savings. They chose Tex•Cote’s Reflect-Tec®, which will be applied to over 160,000 square feet of this historic metal building in a dark, rich color called Black Bean.

Reflect-Tec is a field-applied Kynar resin system using infrared technology. It will be used to coat all the exterior metal surfaces including many of the original galvanized steel and aluminum surfaces from the 1940s.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules, nicknamed the Spruce Goose, is now on public display at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

  Filed under: Departments, Paint Scene
  Comments: None

Color of the Month—Black, 2017

By Contributing Writer,


Just Enough Drama

by Miranda Lipton

I learned very quickly in my freshman year of college that there are a few things that you can simply never have enough of: school spirit swag, sleep, and of course, the staple to every wardrobe, all things black. Irrelevant of the situations that I found myself in, I always seemed to need more black clothing! It makes sense. As a timeless color that can be dressed up or down, embellished with funky accessories or just be elegantly simple on its own, who wouldn’t need more black? From working on this article, it seems that my friends and I are not alone in our thinking. Black is trending in many more places than college campuses. Who knew?


Color in Black and White


PPG keyed in on the importance of black by selecting Black Flame (PPG1043-7) as its 2018 Color of the Year. PPG’s Senior Color Marketing Manager, Dee Schlotter, calls it a statement-making black, infused with an undertone of the deepest indigo. “The blend of two colors makes it incredibly versatile—it can be used on a statement wall, with a matte finish on a ceiling, with high gloss on a naturally-lit staircase, on the wall behind a flat screen, on cabinets, on interior and exterior doors, and in many more places,” she related.

It seems that black in combination with white is rooted even deeper than the Oreo cookie. It is a popular choice amongst some of our color experts because of the balance that it creates in any environment. “White and cream are classically combined with shades of black, providing a dramatic contrast. It is important to contrast it with these colors to bring some life into a space,” said Ashley Banbury, Senior Designer for Pratt & Lambert.

Benjamin Moore Color & Design Expert, Hannah Yeo, adds a twist to this combination: “The ever popular black and white combination layers well with graphic elements. Bring in bold strokes of geometric lines and pops of other colors to complete the contemporary look,” she advised.

For a different look, she suggested combining blacks with natural elements such as wood, slate and stone. “The rustic wood tone adds warmth, while matte black absorbs the light, creating a surprisingly restful quality. Those who seek more drama are using higher sheen,” said Yeo.


Too Much IS Enough


A common concern associated with black is the possibility of adding “too much drama” to the space. Color experts place a heavy emphasis on the lighting of the room when considering it. This one of the three key factors that Mary Lawlor, Manager of Color Marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints, looks for when considering the use of black. She has three questions you can propose to customers who are considering black—even if it’s your idea: Can the space you’re using it in support the drama, are you using it in a task-centric location like a kitchen or office, and if so, is there adequate lighting in the space?



According to Banbury, black with an undertone of another color will be most popular in 2018. “Brown that is almost black, such as Pratt & Lambert’s Obsidian (33-17), and Confidentia (29-17), are so close to black you will have to take a second look,” she said. “We have gone through a ‘cool’ phase in paint colors and now you are going to see colors warm these blacks back up. Adding some red, yellow and indigo adds warmth to this traditional color.”


Pratt and Lambert



The Door to Darkness

A reoccurring theme surrounding black is its potential to easily highlight or dramatize an aspect of a room. Lawlor described how. “Adding black on framing can energize a minimalistic environment. It’s a great way to add a touch of drama without undertaking a major design project,” she said. (See photo on page 11.)

Since black is so bold, Yeo suggests utilizing it in an entryway to make a memorable first-impression: “Whether it’s a formal foyer or an accent wall in a mudroom, dress it to your style,” she said. “Use contrasting lighter colors in the adjoining rooms to balance the darkness as you walk from room to room.”

Schlotter refers to black as instant sophistication. “Adding a black hue to an otherwise neutral space is an effortless way to impart a modern touch to a place that would otherwise require a more time-consuming addition,” she said.

Depending on the way it is used, she continued, it can show to great effect both inside and out. “Homeowners can boost their curb appeal with black shutters. Pair it with subtle yellow siding to convey a warm and welcoming atmosphere to guests, or with white-washed brick for a clean, modern look. Inside, black also works perfectly in a powder room,” Schlotter added. “Pair black walls and trim with matte black or burnished gold faucets for a classic statement. It goes with everything and takes the guesswork out of decorating.”

It is good to know there are others out there who share my love for this timeless color. And, while my dad’s care packages never fail to have their fill of Ohio State apparel and energy drinks…Dad: did you get the subtle hint? I need more black!

  Filed under: Color of the Month, Feature
  Comments: None