May 2007 Issue
Give your surroundings a lift with fresh colors.
This season's hot hues are all over the color wheel - organic and bright, mellow and bold. Moody may be the only way to describe the palette. For Ohioans considering ways to spruce up their homes with a fresh coat of paint, the diverse collection invites experimentation. Colors cater to the traditionalist and the trendsetter.
"Just about anything goes," says Peggy Van Allen, color marketing and design manager for Sherwin Williams, Diversified Brands. "Some people like to say this year is oranges or blues, but I think there are different needs for various colors depending on what you are doing with them."
Blues certainly are more prominent this year, but they take on a different personality than in the past, the Cleveland-based color expert points out. Meanwhile, we revisit the garden and infuse nature into our spaces with greens that are more down to earth than good, old Hunter.
Every season, the color wheel morphs a bit; colors are more saturated or subdued, tweaked so that they taste different to the eye. "Color forecasts don't dictate what the hot colors are, they report what's out there, what's coming," Van Allen explains. "And colors do cycle. One year a color may be stronger, the next year it may soften or get grayer. People like to see change and newer looks."
For example, this year's teal is a "more adult version," says Andrea Sims, a designer with Spectrum Design Services in Cleveland. On the hot end, oranges are getting lots of play, as are rich earthen browns and sophisticated brights.
But who decides these trends, anyway?
"Definitely fashion," Sims confirms. "Over time, fashion and interior design are growing even closer together. You see fashion designers doing fabric lines, paint colors and furniture."
Also, we associate environmental factors with color. Fashion, entertainment, socioeconomic trends, sustainability and technology are driving forces in interior design, Sims says.
Though many times, our connection between color and global concerns or pop culture is subconscious. "With the upcoming Olympics being in China, you might be more aware of colors you see in that culture, and then you'll start to see more of them," Van Allen suggests.
Here, Ohio Magazine showcases the color palette for 2007 with practical tips from designers to help incorporate fresh flavors into the home.
inspired, conscientious green
Green is neutral, natural and a logical partner for organic fabrics like cotton, linen and wool. With attention focused on sustainable "green" design, we are more attuned to the impact of our lifestyles on the earth. There is a push to find alternatives, reduce waste, think efficient. Meanwhile, incorporating sustainable products, such as bamboo flooring, is easier than ever as these materials become more readily available to consumers.
"As far as a color, greens are always popular," Van Allen says. But today's greens are yellow-based, ranging from subdued neutrals that gently wash walls to bright, pop-goes-the-lime.
At home: Green is a great neutral for walls, but if you're uncertain, start with a softer shade. "There are sages that are bright and bold, and sages that are more muted," says Cheryl Tretinik, designer/owner of Fine Line Designs in Chagrin Falls.
Layer greens to add dimension to a room by choosing several varieties. Save "risky" greens for temporary accessories like pillows, and introduce natural accents such as plants.
earth on fire
Sunrise orange and southwest terra cotta represent a fresh take on the old 1970s rust color that permeated kitchens and fabrics. A spicy, more sophisticated orange is hot this season. This orange also leaks into the red category, influencing its tone, Tretinik notices. She is painting more terra cotta walls these days and stepping away from classic red, which is always a popular choice in Ohio, she says.
"Some of the reds you will see are more brick-red," Tretinik points out.
Meanwhile, blazon earth tones are centered by shades of the mountain: complex variations of taupe that define it as much more than a neutral.
At home: Whether terra cotta is used as a wall color or in tile and fabrics, the rich color plays well with liquid blues, other earth tones, the yellow family and always-popular red.
Try an accent wall in a neutral room. Or, paint the entire room in this color, which is quite compatible with a range of colors, Tretinik says.
Teal is everywhere, and often paired with decadent chocolate brown. But this year, the saturated hue has softened a bit. "Teal came in a few years ago and it will last a few more years," Sims says.
"Dusty" is how Tretinik describes the updated shade. Meanwhile, teal joins a population of blues with interesting undertones: blue-purple, blue-gray, blue-periwinkle, misty gray-blue and classic navy blue.
Regarding navy, Van Allen describes its place on the updated color palette as a "retro twist on the nautical colors." Orange and leaf-green meet navy and mahogany. "Think of a 1950s-style boat with stained wood," Van Allen relates.
At home: Walls are a quick change, and one way to update a space on a budget.
Choose one of the season's blues for a powder room or in a dining area. "If you have a room that is ready to be painted, start there," Van Allen advises. "Then carry that same color into another room with accessories such as rugs or pillows."
Periwinkle works well on kitchen walls, she adds, describing a space with white cabinets and accessories in soft purple-toned plaids and stripes. "We brought in some black and white to take the sweetness out of it," Van Allen notes.
floral without frou-frou
A Victorian tea garden look goes modern, loses the fussiness and trades the clutter for simple patterns and pearlescent pinks and peaches. "The colors are pastels, but they are not sweet pinks and purples," Van Allen says. "They are more complex colors."
Accompanying the chic feminine palette are patterns on walls and in textiles. "Pillows, wallpapers, beddings - patterns are in everything right now," Van Allen notices.
Women make more purchase decisions in the home today, and they are the fastest-growing population of home buyers. "They don't have to decorate for the whole family," Van Allen points out.
"The tea garden look is an offshoot of the spa trend where you are seeing more people creating retreats in their homes," she notes.
At home: If flowers aren't your fancy, introduce a softer palette with luxurious fabrics, or lean toward pearly shades of pink and peach offset by a bold gray. Adding stripes or grays and darker colors will ground a palette of pink and peach to "tone down the floral side of it," Van Allen says.
Sims suggests a striping effect to incorporate a new color on a wall. Paint vertical or horizontal stripes 6 to 8 inches wide over a neutral color. "That way, the surface looks like a wall covering," she says, noting that this approach is effective on a single accent wall.
Prepster colors in a polo-shirt rainbow of colors are waking up walls, but the hues are less whimsical and more grown up. Sims says because the colors are deeper, they don't have the teeny-bopper feel of past brights.
"The palette is just fun," Van Allen says simply.
The colors pair well with shirt-collar white. Crisp, clean but not too stuffy, this is the most surprising color group this season, Van Allen says.
At Home: When working bright colors into a home, sample the hue in a bedroom. Brights cheer up nurseries and children's rooms - and grown-up bedrooms, too. Treat one of these spaces as a color lab.
"After doing one room and seeing how much fun it can be to put a lot of color on the wall, people tend to get over their fear [of color] and try it in other areas of the house," Van Allen says.