Color Trends and Forecasts from Lori Sawaya

February 23, 2006

Color Consultant Lori Sawaya (http://www.colorstrategies.net) sent me an email with her views on the latest trends in color and how colors in our palette fit in. I’ll share below:

“Yellows – Yellow will be less golden, but not too clear. Soft, warm, creamy, cheery & optimistic. Buttercup, Buttercream, Honeysuckle, Sunshine, Limone and Citrine are standouts.

Whites/Off Whites – Soft and natural. Think about the highlights of color on tumbled stones. My picks are Gustavian Grey, Rainbow Fog, Classic Cream, Snow, and White Opal

Blue – Blue remains a constant in the American interior. It can easily bring an identifiable European flavor as well. There is truly something for everyone in this hue as the range is quite broad. Sea & sky blues to deep, rich, jewel-toned, global inspired blues. I pulled out one of your old colors, Cornflower, because I think its vibrancy plays into the multi-cultural color appeal that is popular right now. Here are the rest. Slate, Seaglass, Dusk, Azure, Wedgewood, Summer Sky.

Blue-Violet – Pink has to scoot over and make room for purple. Luxurious, soothing and restful periwinkle, lavenders and violets are everywhere. I’ve seen them paired with the 2005 carry-over chocolate brown as well as gray which is gaining some ground this year. Colors in the blue-violet range also compliment the popular platinum and nickel finishes that are still a favorite choice in faucets and hardware. Lilac Mist is mature and knocked backed and I was able to find several colors that are deep and rich — again playing into the desire for global and exotic flavors of color. Evening Sky (a non-stock color), Eggplant (older color), Amethyst, Lilac, Violet, Lavender Mist, Alexandra Blue, Lilac Mist all fit the bill.

Blue-Green – Inspired by travel once again, I found several colors in your palette that echo the Mediterranean and other coastal regions. Teal, Aquamarine, and Turquoise are bold and make a statement. Oasis and Seafoam offer lighter, softer options. Brown is maintaining its popularity and the blue-greens are taking just as much of the spotlight with brown as pale blue did last year. I would love to see a few more aquas and grayed teals added.

Green – May be one of the most perfect wall colors. You have to love the natural, nurturing aspects green can bring to a room. This year greens are fresh and lively. Not as muddied as in years past. Achieving “fresh and lively” without an acidic or citrus-like slant in a wall color is very challenging. Tulip leaves, Peridot, Spring Green, Chartreuse and Apple Green are wonderful options.

Red – Always a classic and never “out”. For 2006 red is less brown. Truer, bluer reds like Berry Red are front and center. Orange was very popular in 2005, and has kind of eased back and joined forces with red. That global pull is strong and red-oranges echo everything ethnic. In addition to Berry Red, colors like Pumpkin Spice, Tuscan Sun, Rust, Carnelian, and Ruby will be at the forefront.

Pink – Pink isn’t center stage as it was last year, but it has carried over and experienced a few changes. This year’s pink is more sophisticated, calming and soothing — a more mature pink. I see it being used in bedrooms and baths where the retreat and spa inspired feeling has been so sought after. Cameo has a definite place for those who are looking for a cozier twist on the typical spa colors of blues and greens.

Orange – Vibrant and prevalent in last year’s color palette has changed a bit for this year. The bolder side of orange has kind of teamed up with red. The softer side of orange offers a more subtle palette as well as plenty of fun and energy in colors like Caribe, Shrimp, Apricot, Light Terracotta and Peach.

Brown – Remains steadfast. Its earthy, natural references were welcomed into homes in a big way last year and I don’t see it leaving any time soon. Brown is here to stay in dark colors like espresso and java bean all the way up to the lighter, more neutral versions of brown — especially those with a rosy undertone — will be popular wall colors. Full spectrum browns worth a look are Milk Chocolate, Mocha, Chestnut, Sunset Rose, Terracotta Sand, Cafe Au Lait.

Neutrals – Last year the ultimate quest was for a neutral with NO undertones. Everyone wanted to find a “true tan” for his or her home. This year, I think the undertones will be celebrated and nondescript neutrals will take the safe seat in the back. Gray is gaining ground and does not have to be dead and lifeless as long as it is a full spectrum gray. I have pulled the following chips up to the front, Putty, Greige, Parchment, Sand, Beige, Mushroom, Silt, Driftwood, Stone and Chelsea Gray (non-stock color).”

Debbie Langston also emailed me telling me I was ahead of my time when it comes to creating what I call “chameleon paint colors”! She sent me a link to an article on CNN’s website forecasting decorating trends. And wouldn’t you know it, I just checked my webstats to see that I’ve had several hits from people searching “chameleon paint colors”!


I guess I’ll have to create some more aqua-blues that are chameleon-like!

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