IS THIS POPULAR SHADE OF LIGHT BLUE PERFECT FOR YOU?
Every fall, it’s exciting to see the launch of each brand’s COTY. We’ve heard from Behr (Cracked Pepper), and Sherwin Williams HGTV Home (Persimmon), and I was SUPER anxious to see what Sherwin Williams chose as their go-to shade.
Sherwin Williams Upward is a gorgeous color, don’t get me wrong. It’s 100x better than Redend Point’s appeal and general useability in the average home. Will it be as popular as Evergreen Fog? Heck no (no color has beaten it yet).
But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve its time in the spotlight, so let’s check it out…
WHAT COLOR IS UPWARD? GRAY OR BLUE?
Upward is a beautiful shade of light blue. It’s a calming, chill color, without looking as icy cold as cleaner, fresher blues can. In the fan deck, Upward is tucked between the grayer approach of Sherwin Williams North Star and the more colorful and cleaner Moonmist. It’s like a light, slightly worn approach to your favorite pair of blue jeans.
WHAT ISN’T UPWARD?
- Upward isn’t baby blue; it’s not pastel enough for that
- Upward isn’t a vibrant, bold color; it has too much gray to be that brave
IS UPWARD A WARM OR COOL COLOR?
When it comes to the visual temperature of a color like this, it’s all about perception. Personally, it looks like a cold blue hue. To others, via its undertones, Upwards is a warm shade of blue (which it technically is).
However, no matter how you see it, Upward will look cool blue if you have a north-facing room. Upward is awesome for warm, south-facing rooms and those with western afternoon sunshine.
South and west-facing rooms are WARM, as they receive a yellow-tinged light through their windows (going more orange, and eventually red as the afternoon western sun progresses). A cool paint color like Upward is a great way to add visual balance to a room with a warm exposure.
Here’s Upward in a home office in west-facing light (morning western light)…
If you have a north-facing light or an east-facing room, Upward might look similar to the above photo. BTW, this isn’t a color I helped my client choose – she’d chosen it and didn’t like it (it’s too blue for her beige carpet).
And here it is with the interior lighting on (I would bet the Kelvins are around 2700-3000)…
In the two photos, Upward looks like a brighter blue in natural light, whereas with interior lights on, its gray undertone shows up to the party with tassels on. These are two DRASTICALLY different views of Upward, and show why it’s so important to sample carefully!
WHAT’S UPWARD’S LRV?
Upward has an LRV of 57. This is slightly lower than the average light depth LRV (read about it here), putting Upward a bit closer to the light-medium depths (although it IS still a light depth paint color).
This means Upwards isn’t a cheerful, upbeat shade of blue; it’s a grounding, calming color with a bit more meat on its bones. However, even with its added depth, it isn’t common to see a color in this range on an accent wall, as those tend to be bolder. Although, if you have white walls, and use Upward as an accent for a muted, kind of West-Coast spa-inspired vibe, it could look quite gorgeous.
If you have a dark room, the degree of COLOR in Upward is great, as it can help combat a lower, flatter light. If your room is overly bright, Upward’s slightly lower LRV will help it not wash out too much (whereas lighter colors with less color can lose much of their beauty).
Not sure what LRV is? It could save your paint-lovin’ life – read all about it HERE.
Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting services – let me make it easy for you!
WHAT UNDERTONES DOES UPWARD HAVE?
Not all blues are created equal! Upward is a blue with a violet undertone and a decent, but not overbearing gray. The gray gives Upward a slightly calmer, less cheerful approach, but ALSO adds to its versatility. Bright blue paint colors can be harder to integrate into the average paint palette, whereas a color like Upward, with a gray backdrop, often fits in easier (this is dependent on your home’s particular palette, for sure.)
As for the violet, it’s tricky, as interior finishes often cater to blue-green over blue-violet – it’s not as easy to accommodate in the average home. This isn’t to say it won’t work in YOURS, but make sure its undertones suit your surroundings.
SAMPLING UPWARD WITH PEEL & STICK
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WHAT WHITE TRIM COLOR GOES WITH UPWARD?
Upward is so fun to partner up with varying shades of white for trims and cabinets. In particular, I suggest…
IS UPWARD A GOOD COLOR FOR THE EXTERIOR OF A HOME?
In general, no. While there will be the odd exception, being a lighter blue-violet shade, Upward won’t coordinate with most stones, bricks, and asphalt roofs. The more common choice related to a blue exterior is dark blue or a GRAY with blue undertones – again, they tend to connect better with surrounding finishes.
IS UPWARD A GOOD COLOR FOR KITCHEN CABINETS?
While Upward could be beautiful on kitchen cabinetry or an island, most interior finishes cater toward a more GRAY gray-blue or a blue with a green undertone. If you have marble finishes, SOME marbles could suit Upward. Upward could also work if you have white quartz countertops, white subway tile backsplash, and wood floors, as it wouldn’t need to coordinate with any major undertones.
A darker blue with a wink o’ green is a more popular choice on kitchen cabinets
WHAT COLORS ARE SIMILAR TO UPWARD?
If you want to compare similar colors within Sherwin Williams or find the CLOSEST match in Benjamin Moore, check out…
- Sherwin Williams Sleepy Blue (which is blue-green vs. Upward’s blue-violet)
- Sherwin Williams Icy (less gray, more colorful than Upward)
- Sherwin Williams Lakeside (similar, but smokier/grayer)
- Benjamin More Manor Blue (similar, but grayer than Upward)
- Benjamin Moore Sunrise (similar, but less gray/more colorful)
As for a more popular approach (not to say this is what YOU want), a color like Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue suits more homes, finishes, and furnishings…
WHERE DOES A BLUE LIKE UPWARD LOOK BEST?
Being a lighter shade of blue with a bit more COLOR than not, Upward will have limited uses. Upward is best on a single-room basis. It’s too colorful for multiple joined rooms or a ‘whole home‘ approach. It’s not flexible enough for the average cabinet, island, or vanity, and I don’t expect to see it on ANY front doors or exteriors.
However, if you’re looking for a stunning blue for your powder room, small living room or den, guest bedroom, or office, Upward could hit the spot!
WHICH PAINT COLORS GO WITH UPWARD?
Because of Upward’s degree of color (chroma), it’s a bit fussy when it comes to neutrals. Upward likes neutral partners, such as grays, that are a bit cleaner vs. SUPER muddy or earth-toned colors.
- When choosing a gray to go with Upward, it will prefer the cleaner look of Sherwin Williams Site White over Big Chill or Repose Gray.
- If you want to partner Upward with a shade of beige or tan, focus on beiges like Sherwin Williams Moderate White. Upward won’t like more modern, dusky, or muted beige paint colors.
- Upward loves cream paint colors that have a bit more color to them. Sherwin Williams Crisp Linen and other slightly cleaner shades of cream are beautiful with it.
- Upward generally won’t love grays with green undertones (green-yellow or noticeable green-blue).
- Naturally, Upward looks fab with darker shades of blue – especially those that cater to blue-violet.
Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting – I’d love to help!