We work two to three years in advance, knowing that as members of the association our conclusions must anticipate the desires of tomorrow's consumers and will exert great influence on American production and businesses worldwide.
Evolution, Not Revolution
This year the committee agreed an evolution of color is occurring, rather than a revolution. Nature and environmental influences remain strong, but the need to simplify our lives continues to be the most dominant factor. As we all seek respite from the hectic pace of our daily lifestyles, color simplicity becomes most desirable -- gentle, pleasant mid-tones are chosen to soothe rather than to shock.
There is a new balance between cools and warms, with the warm side of the palette -- sun-touched yellows, reds and oranges -- still dominating. These hues range from pale cream to deep saffron, blush pink to cherry red. Reds will influence blues, which show the biggest escalation, and are overtaking greens in popularity. Toward the other side of the palette, silver tints and yellowed blues and greens have an iridescent glow.
Naturals and Neutrals
Naturals will remain strong, becoming more colored and mingling with burnished metallic hues. The most popular neutrals will be colored beiges -- pale to very saturated -- as well as creamy tones and celadon to sage. Gray, a color that reached obsolescence a few years ago, is now recycled in new tints; colored grays are on the horizon as neutrals.
In the same way that peach became a neutral in the 1980s, new colorations will be considered neutrals that heretofore were not. Many hues will be used as neutrals due to the softened, veiled quality of the color, including purples and blues.
You can't go wrong with accent colors -- they can be even just a dot of color, little bits and pieces. Accent colors are where people express their individual preferences; they are vehicles for transporting the mood of a room.
Color selection here is as infinite as the many moods that can be conveyed. If someone is decorating a garden room, they might choose bright, floral accents; if they're decorating a formal drawing room, they might choose deep, rich golds.
As the color/design consultant to Hunter Douglas Window Fashions for all its product lines, window coverings are a special bailiwick of mine. While whites are the leading preference in window treatments, the soft, buttery colors are giving them a run for their money. I expect the palette to expand around these colorations, while at the same time there will be more saturated tones that are rich rather than harsh. There also are interesting off-hues known as "broken" tones, which are nuanced colors that are harder to name. Café au lait is one example.
Reflecting these trends, Hunter Douglas has made some recent, significant additions to its color offerings.
New hues for Silhouette® window shadings -- which also have added two textured vane fabrics as an option -- include light, creamy colors such as Wedding Cake, woody beiges like Alluring Beige, as well as deeper warm peach, terra cotta and rose tones. Two colored grays are featured in the new palettes as well, along with a denim-like blue and a clean, mid-tone green.
Vignette[TM] window shadings now are available in colors that run the spectrum from the off-white Linen Sachet to the soft beige Pecan Praline to the deeply saturated Red Currant.
The Manhattan Collection[TM] of Duette® honeycomb shades features a unique range of soft, natural tones from the gold-tinged Lamplight to the gentle mauve Painted Brick to the gray Cobblestone, as well as sophisticated pastels and neutrals.
Applause® honeycomb shades have added two rich colorations to the palette, a cobalt blue and a hunter green.
The new Country Woods Classics[TM] Collection features Copper, Honey and other rich, sun-kissed colorations in its palette. The muted Pacific Rose from the original offering is now a bright Raspberry, the dusty Pacific Green an unmistakable green Leaf, and the faint Pacific Blue a confident Ocean Blue.
In aluminum blinds a new matte-textured SoftSuede[TM] finish available on Lightlines[TM] and two-inch macro-blinds as well as Decor mini-blinds gives an interesting sanded effect to color. A selection palette includes 20 contemporary tones; among the offerings, as selection of creams, a subtle Citrus Gold and a strong Red Berry burgundy.
Whether it pertains to a highly-engineered custom window treatment or the most mundane household item, the color story is ever-changing and surely among the most affordable pleasures in our daily living.
Barbara Schirmeister, ASID, is a member of the Color Association and an independent color/design consultant for leading manufacturers worldwide.