Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size
JA slide show
Home Fashion Colors Turn Happy

by Tammy Adamson-McMullen

According to color and design experts, brighter, happier colors are moving into the home-fashion palette, mostly as a relief from the stresses of everyday life.

Upcoming colors include reds of all types, from Asian reds to spicy salmon, as well as clear ocean blues, yellow-greens and bright yellows. At the same time, we can expect neutrals to be more colorful, too, with undertones of purple, red, gold and green.

Experts agree that driving these colors is the uncertainty of the times. It's not unusual for consumers living in tumultuous times to find colorful ways to make themselves feel better.

Barbara Schirmeister, color and design consultant for Hunter Douglas and a member of the Color Association of the United States, listed a few other related color drivers. They include: a consumer quest for simplicity and directness, an increasing respect for natural wonders, a decline of formality and an increasing back-to-basics attitude. Unexpected color combinations are emerging as a result, she said, and innovative pairings are on the horizon.

While sometimes brilliant in hue, none of the trending colors is "over the top." Instead, "These are promising and hopeful colors that convey solidarity and not the overtly happy or bold shades people traditionally equate with a positive outlook or good things to come," said Maryellen Mantyla, director of marketing for California Paints. Still, there are some emerging colors that have surprised her, including vibrant yellow-greens and intense electric golds.

Some of the most sophisticated color palettes will pair these brighter colors with complex neutrals. As an example, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said to watch for combinations like Pantone's Butter Rum with vibrant tones of yellow-greens and berry purples‒"not the usual or expected combinations," she said.

What exactly are "complex neutrals?" Kate Smith, a color expert, author, speaker and CEO of Sensational Color, said they're sometimes hard to identify because of the layering of colors. One neutral might appear to be a blue-ish gray, for example, or another a pinkish tan.

The ambiguity works well in today's more colorful decorating schemes.

"The best news may be that the complex neutrals not only hold our eye and our attention but that they 'play well' with other colors. So they make a great base for decorating that gives us flexibility and that holds our interest for many years," Smith said. "These are not the old, boring earth tones of basic beige, brown and tan but beautiful, amazing colors."

Natural colors also are taking on shades of other colors. Purple-cast brown, which already is popular in home décor, is a prime example. The color is so popular, in fact, Benjamin Moore & Co. has named Vintage Wine, a dark earthy shade of purple-brown, one of its top colors.

Popular Choices
Pressed to forecast a No. 1 color combination for next year, Smith said she would choose a pink-based coral combined with a mid-tone teal. "As we move into 2013, the coral will move slightly more orange-based, and the teal will move slightly more blue," she predicted.

Other experts paired blue and white, red and gray and varying blues and greens with gold used as an accent. Many of these colors and color combinations already are popping up in new products on the market‒in textiles, carpets, paints and fashion-forward linens.

Will one single color dominate next year? Many experts named some permutation of blue, from wispy colors to indigo. Blues in all of their glory already can be found in everything from dishes to textiles‒a trend that experts say will continue.

Rachel Skafidas, brand marketing, color and design specialist for Dutch Boy Paints, said bright pops of bright lime green‒a color that Dutch Boy calls "Zany Lime"‒also are popping up in home furnishings and often are used with grayed woods. "We have seen these at many industry shows," she said.

Skafidas added that there also is a deep honey gold, called Retro Gold Shag, making its way into home décor as a brilliant accent.

If some of the colors get a little too bright at times, it may be because individualism is at an all-time high. Consumers are more color-savvy than ever before and not afraid to use colors that make them feel good. As a result, experts note that there are some wild and wacky colors moving into the palette, too.

Among them are colors inspired by the comics. As Eiseman explained, designers are experimenting with design elements from cartoons and injecting them into luggage, handbags, backpacks, room dividers, wall murals, armoires, cabinets, chairs and other products. The ultimate "escapism" colors, comic-book hues include phantom black, sulphuric yellow and fiery red, with inky cyan and a flash of green.

Maybe the happiest palette yet, comic-book colors probably aren't for everyone‒but they're sure to bring a smile. And many experts agree that this is what next year's home decorating colors are all about …




0 #1 Carolyn Fleming 2011-07-14 15:12
I love this trend. Life is short - be happy! (I'd sure be happy if I could score that amazing kitchen.)

Add comment

Security code


The content contained in this website is for informational purposes only. While we strive to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, we make no representations or warranties of any kind about the completeness and correctness of the information or the reliability and performance of the products and services mentioned herein and assume no liability for any loss or damages arising from the use of said information. Your Decorating Resource is an independent venture and not associated with any other organization.