What makes a new color noteworthy in your eyes?

Last month in my Itawamba Community College interior design class, lots of questions were asked about the newest popular colors and where those trendy colors came from.
Decades ago color trends were dictated by magazines like “Better Homes and Gardens.” We were all spoon-fed the latest colors twice a year, and the announcement of those new Winter Colors and Spring Colors was a big news event. Color trends then, as now, were influenced by what was seen in movies, trotted down fashion runways or observed by savvy world travelers.
But today you don’t have to travel the world to find new and exciting decorating ideas. We’re not limited to 12 issues of “Better Homes and Gardens” yearly; instead, we have at our fingertips 24-hour programs on networks and Web sites alike.
HGTV keeps adding new design shows and special feature presentations such as amp”Homes of Soap Starsamp” and an annual amp”Dream Home Giveaway.” The DIY Network offers shows on decorating aimed at anyone who loves to (or has to) amp”do it yourself.” “Hometime” on PBS provides useful insights into home construction, remodeling and design. And Martha Stewart Living TV provides useful information online including project instructions, hints and resources.
What’s different now (as compared to 50 years ago) is there are so many more recognized color authorities in the world, each actively touting its newest and trendiest color palettes.
Pantone, Color Marketing Group and all the many different paint companies are just a few of the color experts Google ranks among its third of a million listings for “color forecasting companies.”
So, with so many different color palettes to choose from, how can anyone following design trends pick the “in” colors and stay away from the “out” colors? I say forget trends, forget right and wrong and instead, choose to surround yourself with colors that make you look and feel good in their presence, regardless of whether the expert of the moment says the colors you are personally drawn to are hot, in, trendy, fashionable, popular, in vogue or in style.
The basics
If you are interested in moving with the herd mentality, and having your colors dictated to you by authorities, then you would be better off if you stick with these color basics:
Colors that are light in value or bright in chroma will tend to make happy, spontaneous and optimistic dampécors. Colors that are light in value and dulled by gray undertones are calming, stress reducing and tend to expand visual space. Colors that are medium to dark in value and colors that are bright in chroma are richly stimulating, exciting and dramatic. Colors that are medium to dark and dull are serious, profound and somewhat introverted.
But let your eyes look beyond the ho-hum basics and you’ll be drawn into even deeper individual pleasures. If you are lead to red, your dampécors will vibrate with richness, passion and energy. Yellow and gold stimulate warmth and cheerful interiors. Because of their skin flattering color properties, orange and pink interiors shave 10 years off your appearance. Purple wraps interiors in a sense of mystery if it is deep; if light, it lends an ethereal effect. Black gives strength, competence and a sense of mastery to your dampécor, while white adds a sense of peace, cleanliness and clarity.
It’s never one color that is the be-all, end-all answer to the question, “What color is hot right now?” Instead of focusing on one color, intermingle specific colors – the ones you feel good around – throughout your dampécor in combinations of related, complimentary, split-complimentary, triadic color schemes. It’s those artistic and playful combinations of color that give your dampécor its personality and its beauty.
Stephen Thompson is an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers. For questions, comments, or consultations contact Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or e-mail stephen2816@mac.com.

Ginna Parsons

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