It seems like there are “trends” in color for interiors. Where do these come from?
Color trends come from so many different places –
fashion certainly plays a role, but right now we are
seeing palettes that are inspired by nature. Color
and pattern are all around us – we just need to train
ourselves to really “see” it. Think of a zebra – the
wonderful contrast of black and white in a bold
pattern. This is a wonderful trend we are seeing –
black and white used with one bold accent color.
You can use this in a subtle way, or you can go
bolder with it. The living room photo at right shows
a marvelous image from Baker Furniture – a mostly
black and white space with just a punch of red in
the lampshade, pillow and chair cushion. The use
of the red really illustrates the power of color.
Imagine that sofa without the red pillow and the
lamp without the red shade. It just doesn’t work
without all those elements working together.
Another accent color would have worked just as
well here – pick your favorite!
We can use that idea in a bolder way – see the
photo below. The clean look of solid black and white seating mixed with the bold black and white
patterned chair and pillows provide the base, and then we see the use of bright green on the recessed
section of the wall, the ottoman and accent table. Black framed prints are hung in a grid pattern,
adding just the right touch over the sofa. This look never gets old!
What are some other color trends
you are seeing?
Neutrals are also really important.
Think of smooth stones at the edge
of the water. They are similar in
color, but each has its own texture,
and the way they are grouped
creates a pattern of its own. Take a
look at this Henredon photo at right.
This is a great example of using
subtle tone on tone neutral color and
mixing the textures. I count five
different patterns, plus several
neutral shades. Then we have the
patterns created by the table frame
and the carving on the chair. The
fluffy throw has still another texture
and pattern is created by the large
painting. The little black lamp
provides a nice punctuation point
that finishes everything off. When
you use neutrals, you have to mix up the textures. Otherwise you will have the most boring room in the
It seems like many people struggle with which colors and treatments to use for their walls.
Yes! First, look up. The ceiling offers a great opportunity to make a space special. It is the largest
unbroken plane in any room. You could add some pattern by coffering a ceiling – it creates instant
architecture in a room. Or, if you like, color could be applied to match the walls (creating a “cocoon”)
or you might stencil a pattern on the ceiling using a different scale than patterns in the room. Colors for
the walls and ceilings should be chosen last. Paint is available in any and all shades, and can be
blended to exactly match some other element in the room.
Wallpaper is making a comeback, too, but we are using it in new ways. Instead of applying the paper
to the whole room, how about framing out a section on closet doors with picture molding and applying
the paper to just the framed section? It is a great finishing touch for plain doors. A bold stripe can be
applied horizontally – just in a defined area, like a butler’s pantry or mud room. Everyone has one of
those small spaces that could benefit from a surprise of color or pattern. It is fun to see glimpses of
those areas from the next room. It can make your home really special.