Selling Skills: Utilizing Your Color Expertise as a Selling Point

//Selling Skills: Utilizing Your Color Expertise as a Selling Point

Selling Skills: Utilizing Your Color Expertise as a Selling Point

By Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager, architectural coatings

Independent retailers and their teams can be excellent resources for both professional and DIY customers by answering specific questions and recommending particular products. Retailers can also offer an added service to their customers by understanding current and future color trends in order to provide support to those who are often overwhelmed by the color selection process.

Learning about color and design trends can be beneficial to your business, making it easier for your customers to select the right paint color for their projects and ultimately lead to a sale for you. Not sure where to start? Let’s begin with a brief overview of upcoming color trends for 2020. 

Color Trends in Recent Years

We’re seeing colors shift to be a bit brighter from where we’ve been recently, but the hues are still balanced with some muted tones. Millennial Pink and blush colors will continue to trend in the coming year, but will mature a bit. Though Millennial Pink hues exploded in popularity over the past few years, this range of pinks continues to trend due to their classic aesthetic that promotes calmness and a softness that helps consumers escape “digital noise.” These muted hues can fit perfectly into almost every room, adding an air of elegance and relaxation to any space. Complementary to any skin tone, these colors also prove to be an ideal choice for a bathroom or closet. 

In addition, earthy colors, such as saffron and turmeric, will be showcased prominently in the upcoming year. Perfect on a front door, as an accent wall in a bedroom or in a dining room, these hues can provide a rich, striking look. Often too bold for use on all four walls, these colors should be used sparingly. Warm oranges and yellows are also appearing more prominently in various textiles, furniture and home decor items, which pair perfectly with cobalt and navy blue to create bold and lively spaces.

With consumers experiencing digital overload, there is an increasing need for real-life connection, and we are beginning to see several shades of blue bubble to the surface to help fill the void, as blue conveys trust and stability. PPG paint brand’s 2020 Color of the Year, Chinese Porcelain, is a deep, shaded, orchid blue that instills calmness, reduces anxiety and encourages sleep. This soothing blue imparts slowness, encouraging consumers to practice mindfulness and be more present in their lives while also offering the spirit of hopefulness—a precious commodity in a restless world.  

Chinese Porcelain is a rich and traditional hue that provides an agreeable backdrop for vivacious colors to pop. It also can act as a feature color in a bedroom with crisp white bedding and crown molding to provide a sharp contrast. In the living room space, the hue can be layered with additional blues in tufted and velvet furniture or paired with trending metallic finishes like Hushed Copper from the PPG METALLIC TONES™ collection.

Tips for Color Selection

Here are my favorite tips for retailers to use to help their customers choose the perfect hues for homes, businesses, multifamily spaces and more. 

  • Use industry resources. Paint providers can offer another level of expertise to their customers by drawing from the latest industry trends reports like the PPG PAINTS™ 2020 Global Color Trends palette. PPG compiles various tools and brochures that are developed from industry-leading global color insights. Intended to make the color selection process easier, PPG offers trends palettes such as the Multi-Family Color Trends palette and Generational Color Trend palettes. These easy-to-navigate resources ensure that retailers can help their customers choose colors that are on trend, while tailoring to their specific audience and space.
  • Understand the flow of color. When assisting your customer with color selection, keep in mind that colors should flow as you go from space to space. You can help them begin by selecting their ideal hue for the largest and most centrally located space, most likely the living room or building lobby, and coordinate additional colors from there.
  • Make the process fun. The PPG Paints Color Game is another tool that enables your customers to discover exactly which color collection best suits their style. Through a short series of questions, the tool examines the color schemes that are most attractive to an individual, the decor elements that make them feel comfortable within a space, and the sentiments they value most, among other qualifiers. The answers to these questions will determine what five-color collection best represents their decor preferences. Once the perfect colors are chosen, your customers can digitally (and easily) paint their space in a variety of colors using the PPG Paints virtual room painter tool. Retailers can encourage customers to upload personal photos, browse designer color collections and explore popular colors by visiting to use the tool.

By partnering with a global color authority like PPG, independent retailers can ensure they’re delivering the most up-to-date, accessible color trends for both professional and DIY customers. Many aspects of the renovation and construction process are complicated; why not make selecting color easy?

Dee Schlotter, PPG’s senior color marketing manager, architectural coatings, has worked for PPG for more than 25 years and manages the development of color platforms, systems and tools for brands such as PPG PAINTS™ and GLIDDEN®paints. She conducts national presentations to architects, designers and consumers in the hotel, retail, new home construction and residential markets. She is a member of the PPG Global Color Styling Team that researches and forecasts colors for the architectural, automotive, aerospace, industrial and consumer products markets. She is a member of ASID, IIDA and NKBA. 

PPG’s architectural coatings business in the U.S. and Canada is an industry leader in residential and commercial coatings, delivering the latest technologies and operational advancements through its strong portfolio of brands. It manufactures and sells interior and exterior paints, stains, caulks, repair products, adhesives and sealants for homeowners and professionals. Its distribution network includes more than 15,000 touchpoints through company-owned stores, independent retailer locations and all major home improvement centers across the U.S. and Canada. Visit for more information.