Welcome to the fourth of a series of short articles about color: Learning about color, choosing colors, living with color, and color around the world. This month: A new year, new color trends ahead…

Reinventing Color and Style – The major trends:

2008 saw a major emphasis on “Green” (color and design), and this year it continues as we are more thoughtful than ever about what we are buying and the impact our choices will make on the world around us. Eco-awareness is a resounding theme, and the key words are the “re” words: re-cycle / re-use / re-purpose. Simultaneously there is the need to re-lax, re-wind, re-new, and re-furbish! The following palette concepts address the major color and style trends for the home. Of course, no one will re-do everything every year, but if you need a little lift, a change, or a bit of new “life,” these are the directions color will be taking in 2009, as expressed in themes or concepts.

Wine Country
“Wine Country” connotes an easy, casual way of life… think California’s Napa Valley or the magical vineyards of Europe– charming and inviting; a place to enjoy the connections to the earth and the goodness it yields. Rustic in feel, yet refined, the colors are re-imagined pastoral tones of taupe, olive and grapevine greens, lavender grays and sky blues combined with lusty wine reds.

Another subtitle for this group could be “designer boutique meets flea market find” as it revisits shabby chic – but more chic than shabby! Honesty speaks of a very real attempt at recycling by creating treasure out of someone else’s “trash.” Discarded ceramics and glass become artful mosaics and re-used or natural fibers are colored with eco-friendly vegetal and /or plant dyes. Included in the mixes are unbleached whites, tender greens, clouded corals, toasty warm tans and cool gray unexpectedly punctuated by a velvet-red rose.

Discerning Tastes
Here we continue the popular theme of “modernity marries tradition.” While it does take a discerning eye to appreciate and coordinate what at one time was considered contradictory style, there is now more confidence and interest in the eclectic mixes. There is also a greater importance given to the preservation of traditional styles as they can be resurrected with new finishes, colors and textures. Classic crystal white, antique white, caviar black, red mahogany, champagne beige, metallic silver and gold are the base of this elegant group, while a warm sensuous orchid adds an exotic effect.

Reverberating with the theme, “Back in the day….” Reveries is a nostalgic look at dreamy deco as pictured in old films: A bit indulgent, glamorous and suggestively smooth applications. On the other hand, it is not so serious that there is no space for whimsy! While many of the colors are historically accurate (dusty mauves and misty roses), this palette is revamped with exciting new combinations that are inspired by fashion forward colors. These shades are flowering lilac and fragrant lavender, iris blue, rosy mauve and vibrant purples… unexpectedly and dramatically juxtaposed against rich russet brown.

Trek through Nepal, cruise the Aegean, scale the heights of Machu Pichu – traveling to exotic destinations continue to fascinate. The acquisition of artifacts, crafts, imagery and artworks spur the imagination and re-tells the tale of a wonderful journey. Dusky tones of rose, Dijon yellows and deepened taupe mix with mineral and Mediterranean blues and misty grays. All shades are dramatically embellished by rich gold and scarlet red.

Solar Energy
Capturing the dynamic power inherent in the sun, and depicting the rays of color that have come to symbolize an alternative to fossil fuels, the variations pf mandarin and flame oranges of 2008 remain strong for the future – along with radiating gold and green-based yellows reinforcing this vitality and energy. A mulled purplish wine, fuchsia-red and electric blue add an interesting dimension t o the mix, while an ashy gray provides a calming neutral influence to this volatile mix.

Breathe Easy
Everyday concerns… not the least of which is environmental, plead for the need to find a place of respite and relaxation – to unwind and rewind! Cool tones invoke thoughts of breathing easily and tranquility, a constant reminder of the clean, clear blues found in a cloudless sky sparkling over a blue-green body of water. While pure bright white and variations of the blue theme, including a deep ocean and Provence blues permeate this palette, a deep and thoughtful garden green and a somewhat muted vegetal yellow-green and the introduction of blue-violet adds a more meditative mood.

Literally defined as “a state of bringing somebody or something to life and activity,” this palette is also inspired by the Japanese art of anime. Far from reality, it is rooted in cartooning and is immensely popular worldwide for young people and artists alike. This cleverly art form combines so-called clashing colors that bring a new appreciation to the vitality and creativity of truly unique color combinations. Although there are many more possibilities for unlikely mixes, this group includes ebullient reds, vibrant blues, mint or chartreuse positioned next to light apricot, quiet green and deepened berries.

Overall, GREEN is still all around us and not just a trend, but the new shades of green include the blues = water, emerald, turquoise, and the yellows = khaki and the various olive “oils.” The blues with violet undertones will be gaining strength in the next few years, and the reds will be getting deeper and darker within the wine variations.

Future topics of interest:
Color symbolism – White / Black / Yellow / Orange /Red /Violet /Blue /Green
Color Associations
Psychology / Therapy of color
Color and Art
Color around the world

Cynthia Peacock is a professional Interior Designer (member of the American Society of Interior designers, ASID) and Principal of her own design firm, PEACOCK Interior Design, LLC. Cynthia has worked on a wide variety of outstanding projects (residences, offices, hotels, ships) in her 16 year career as an Interior Designer, and finds that color is the constant challenge, joy, and reward. If you are color-challenged, and need gentle guidance, Cynthia may be contacted cynthia@peacock-interiordesign.com