Brights return to the color palette

Recession-era color trends—reflecting a need for comfort, familiarity, and order in a disorderly world—are picking up punctuations of stronger hues.


Sherwin-Williams sees a similarly multifaceted future for color palettes through 2012, driven by a desire for self-expression rather than status. "Over the past few years color direction has been a mix of softer shades and vibrant and ethnic-inspired palettes," Jordan says. Moving forward, she adds, "self-expression is taking on several strong characteristics," as illustrated by the four color collections Sherwin-Williams developed for 2012:

 

Purely Refined—an elegant interpretation of classic hues based on understated neutrals and pared-down blues, lilacs, greens, and grays.

Bold Invention—a selection of vivid, high-energy greens, turquoises, blues, and reds balanced with neutrals inspired by urban streets and 3D animations.

Restless Nomad—an adventurous, multicultural palette blending dusky darks with vibrant pinks and reds; earthen tones and food-influenced colors.

 

Gentle Medley—a grounded yet airy collection of earthy neutral tans, freshwater blues, mint greens, copper, pastel chartreuse, and accents of safari green and brown.

 

Although no one is certain what condition the economy will be in by 2012, Benjamin Moore's color forecast predicts a continued dependence on grounded tones based on a desire for the familiar, which will form a foundation for richer, brighter accents. An overarching theme of preservation will drive the palette in 2012, according to Doty Horn, the company's director of color and design.

 

"It's about preserving what we already have and doing more with [it] rather than doing more with more," Horn says. "Color preferences will remain pretty stable on the organic side through 2012. People still want to ground themselves because they're still trying to figure out where their place is, physically and emotionally."

 

Informing Benjamin Moore's preservation-infused palette for 2012 are four elements:

 

Heritage—rooted in the past, respectful of history with a versatile color spectrum of dark, earthy hues and rich, saturated jewel tones.


Process—an exploration blending biological elements with high technology in a collection of modern neutrals, eco-inspired greens, and urban inspired brights.

 
Protection—a juxtaposition of the soft and the hard with feminine undertones, based around black, steel gray, crimson, and plum with pearly luster and metallic finishes.

 

Enlightenment—looking to the future and a reawakening with misty, shadowy, and light-infused colors alongside luminous finishes, contrasted by intense, blue-inflected hues.

 

Classic colors take center stage in Sherwin-Williams' Purely Refined palette, lending understated sophistication and elegance to rooms.

 

While brighter and more saturated hues are emerging in color palettes, the focus for the next few years will be on rethinking and repurposing existing home features through small updates, rather than starting over from scratch, the experts predict. Homeowners and designers are more likely to work stronger colors into homes as accents, applying them to a single wall or architectural details, or through furnishings and accessories.
 
By Stephani L. Miller. This article first appeared in CUSTOM HOME 2010 magazine.