Color trends this year are bursting with life and excitement and a liberal dab of sophistication. As an interior design culture, we are experiencing a new surge of determined optimism, regardless of the woes broadcast across the airwaves. Yet, we are a wiser culture than we have been in the past—wise as to the reality of how precarious safety and security really is. Still, in face of fears, we want to live and to feel and to experience the good things of life including beauty and loveliness on a daily, personal basis.
We are wiser in caring for and protecting a fragile environment.
We are wiser in our acceptance of all skin tones, and we are wiser
in selecting colors that feel right personally and make us feel
at home. That color enlivens interior environments is seen in these
on trend directions:
• Stark Opulence
• Outdoor-Indoor Natural Living
• Global Fusion
• No More Neutrals
This trend is the contrasting of light values with saturated rich,
dark tones in a stark yet richly satisfying combination. One is
tempted to label this trend Manhattan Minimalist, but it’s
too lush; its edges too soft and the infusion of real color is definitely
not Mid-Century Modern High Rise. At home with the Techie Generation,
this trend is highbrow and luxurious, but lacking the fussiness
of tapestries and damask. Rather, velvet and graphic or variations
of plain weave fabrics are both architectural and sensual.
Deep hues are contrasted with light hues—whites and off-whites
with a gray tint, perhaps blue-influenced, perhaps pinkish brown,
becoming light taupe. In materials other than paint, these light
values are augmented with mirrors, glass and shiny metallic accents
such as chrome-plated steel.
On the deep side, fashion has returned to purple in deep, dense
shades with visual drama. Splashes of hot pink intermingle beautifully
with these serious hues. Their role is to introduce a sensual contrast.
Plum has black undertones, yet is vibrant and indulgent. Likewise,
coral shades are dull and sophisticated but infused with a real
saturation of color. Off- black shades are decidedly purple-influenced
or deep brown-black with purple undertones. Forecasters indicate
this turn to very dark off-blacks may signal a black homecoming
in the future.
This trend may be labeled “Über Luxury” a German
word meaning “over the top” or excessively luxurious.
It may also be described as a masculine look created by a power-savvy
woman in touch with her feminine core and found it to be both glamorous
and sleek. This look is not reserved for only the high-ticket customer—it’s
good design at any level. Keep in mind that good simple design is
more difficult to accomplish than complex, so thoughtful planning
is an inherent part of this process of Stark Opulence.
OUTDOOR-INDOOR NATURAL LIVING
Many homeowners today are happy with the look and feel of their
homes. Furnishings and decorations are just the way they want them.
Many are now looking out their back windows and saying something
like, “I would like my patio or deck to become really beautiful,
an outdoor living room.” Thus the planning begins—a
new place for enthused decorating—possibly a quiet, serene
recluse, or a spot where invitees gather for satisfying food and
friendship in hospitable settings. Finding their way to yard sales
are picnic tables, coolers and even gas grills. Replacing them are
built-in seating, handsome deck furniture and fade-proof solution-dyed
textiles. Also built-in are fabulous outdoor kitchens with cooking
surfaces to rival the finest kitchens.
The most important elements in the new outdoor rooms, however, are
the lively colors. Garden-fresh and full of contrast and surprise,
colors utilize mocha brown and indigo as background hues with deep
determined orange and bright turquoise and jade and deep auburn
brown as striped accent colors.
The other great news is that these colors are equally at home outdoors
and indoors. They cross the window sill and the threshold to become
transitional colors, bringing the outdoors into casual, livable
spaces. Bronze and copper tones, stone and wood, wicker, rattan
and bamboo, striped fabrics and floral and botanical prints coexist
happily with recycled materials and columns and French doors.
It’s no secret the globe is shrinking—not due to plate
tectonics but through travel and exposures of its constituents to
exotic and places far from home. We have traveled the Earth and
found interest in intrigue from India to Morocco, from Asia to Africa,
from Indonesia to Russia. As a near frenzied traveling society,
we are seemingly possessed by a mysterious drive to find the perfect
get-away, only to realize that when we return home, that get-away
opportunity has been patiently waiting for us all along. It only
requires our creating it.
Thus, Global Fusion comes full circle in creating home as the Great
Escape. Like the Victorian travelers of more than 100 years ago,
we are also mixing cultures, but in a very simple and exotic way.
Rather than Clutter Decorating, we are enjoying simple Focal Point
decorating—less is truly more when color enters the mix.
Based on a sumptuous brown pallet, these escapist colors are confident
and committed in shade as well as confidence. As a chocolate-possessed
culture, we use dark chocolate shades not as a beginning point,
but as an accent. In walls of saturated gold (think deep pear tones
and topaz) we find the setting sun of India right in our own living
rooms. The deep wood tones have a blackened touch painted or stained.
Accents of confident coral and dark jungle green that is moving
Patterns are intricate, authentic or inspired by complex tribal
artwork, old paisleys combined with exotic floral and water motifs.
The result? An alive experience that suggests the equatorial sun
from your favorite destination whether Tuscany, Serengeti or a Moroccan
bazaar. Mother-of-pearly inlay in dark woods suggest iridescence
as a contrast to matte backgrounds.
NO MORE NEUTRALS
Perhaps the most interesting trend movement is away from the traditional
family of neutrals toward a browned palette. The browning of America
has become the browning of color toward profound and sumptuously
browned hues for living. The family of browns is flexible from light,
soft beiges to warm and inviting mid-tone browns that contrast beautifully
with lighter architectural detail, to the rich depth of dark woods
that suggest investment quality and price.
Browns have become the new neutrals—cinnamon, Turkish coffee,
bronzed skin tones, tortoiseshell, mocha to name a few—just
the beginning of a wealth of hues that suggest fabulous richness
and depth .
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of
design at Brigham Young University. She has authored several books
including Win- dow Treatments, Understanding Fabrics and Interiors:
An Introduction, 3rd Ed. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies
& Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education