What’s new with hue? Whether you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe or your decorating scheme, new colors have complex roots. Color forecasters take a long look at the world around us, analyzing and predicting which colors will most fit our state of mind in the new year.
“Color trends occur more slowly in home furnishings, shifting only slightly from year to year,” says Kris Woodcock, VP of Merchandising for Ashley Furniture. “Consumers also have long-standing favorite colors for home, making fresh, new combinations of colors as important as any one single hue. And since choosing a sofa color is riskier than picking a scarf color; our new colors are researched to ensure they’ll be appealing over the long haul.”
Consumer color tastes are getting more sophisticated. Even neutral hues are moving beyond beige, gray and taupe to hues with complex undertones. Check out the newest color trends, as well as some best-selling hues expected to stay strong through 2012:
• Linen. Word has it that linen is here to stay, getting stronger at every furniture and apparel market in Europe and North America alike. The trend to linen as a color is being driven by all things casually elegant – conjuring up nostalgic French laundry style, fabrics from a Belgian chateau or homes in southern France. Linen as color or texture is luxurious and unaffectedly natural. As a hue, linen recalls its namesake’s most popular shade; a warm cream color that feels nostalgic and organic, whether mixed with soft floral patterns and stripes, or left perfectly alone. Look for linens in combination with nailheads and lighter woods in reclaimed, raw or heavily grained textures.
• Citrus & Kiwi. With global warming, farm-to-table cuisine and a healthier environment all hot-button topics, green has stayed at the forefront of both our eco-conscience and our home’s decor. It seems Mother Nature’s favorite hue refuses to disappear off the color trend radar. Fresh, yellow-infused greens are getting the most attention; they exude spring, youth, optimism and good health. But expect to see a widening range of green hues in 2012, including subtle shifts in the blue direction. No doubt darker greens will emerge again, but for now, lighter greens feel right for the times. We like kiwi and citrus as furniture hues. Both of these fashion-forward hues add an airy quality to an interior, especially when applied to tailored shapes. They also bring nature indoors and, as nature’s neutral, work with just about any accent color — from brown and blue to cream, silver, eggplant, tangerine and more.
• Russet. Orange has yet to regain its 1960s status, when rust-colored sofas perfectly complemented harvest gold shag rugs and avocado-colored appliances. But oranges are heating up again, especially in deep, spicy versions. Tangerine Tango, in fact, was Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year. And banish the belief that orange is better as an accent color. A quiet russet color is a stunning alternative to the ever-popular red sofa. With plenty of depth, it’s ideal for home décor; both irresistibly inviting and instantly able to warm a room. Pair with other fall-inspired colors for accents.
• Steel. A few things are driving the gray trend today, including chic car finishes and all those steel-colored technical gadgets in our lives. But gray has come into its own as a remarkably chameleon-like color; able to be urban or rural and cool or warm, depending on its undertones and texture. Gray can be cool, professional, objective and uncomplicated, the color of corner offices and city concrete. It can also be warm and natural and mature, the color of weathered beach boards and a life well lived. For 2012, look for a vast range of grays from light to dark and cool to warm. Look for hues that move well beyond simple mixes of black and white to sophisticated versions with complex undertones. For home, we’re excited about steel, a bluish gray that’s chic and modern, especially when mixed with white or brown accents.
• Eggplant. Purple is one of today’s hottest hues. Much evolved from its connection to royalty, teens and sentimental old ladies, it hasn’t lost any of its rare, pretty or nostalgic qualities. Some believe this riveting hue is ideal for today’s political, social and economic conditions; reflecting both a high level of emotional intensity and a desire to be unique. Hues inspired by dusk, berries, vineyards and vegetables will permeate palettes in 2012. We’ll also see a trend to purple as a “neutral” color, with eggplant a perfect example. Slightly grayed down and deepened, it’s a remarkably versatile hue for home décor. For a fresh, but livable look, pair it with a mix of white, sage and Concord grape hues.