by Tammy Adamson-McMullen
Blue may top the home-fashion charts in 2014, but it isn't the only splash on the palette. Purples and reds also are making a huge showing and will help to liven up yesterday's neutral decors.
"After four economically difficult years, people are starting to let out their collective breath and are ready for new beginnings, which is translating into a movement toward fresh and creative colors," reports Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand manager for DULUX paint. "As a result, we'll see novel shades and unexpected combinations of colors in the year ahead in all areas of home décor."
Why are more lively colors emerging? While optimism about the economy is partly to credit, there may be another factor as well. Barbara Schirmeister, color and design consultant for Hunter Douglas and a member of the Color Association of the United States, suggests that the palette is being influenced by a vibrant youth culture.
"We're experiencing a 'youth quake' of sorts," Schirmeister says, noting that younger consumers are shaking things up with brighter colors and aren't afraid to use them. "They're more concerned about staying up-to-date in their homes than they are about product longevity, and therefore they turn over products more frequently than their parents."
Given this shake-up, Schirmeister was reluctant to name a No. 1 color. Yellow? Plum? Orchid? Fuchsia? Take your pick, she says, since they're all possibilities.
Regardless of the primary color, Schirmeister says home decors will feature some unexpected color combinations this year, as "home fashionistas" strive for one-of-a-kind decorating statements. As she says, "This is akin to the social media craze where everyone has their own expression."
Unexpected color will play out in all sorts of home furnishings, including paint. According to Mylène Gévry, Sico brand director, 2014 will see the trend of bold accent walls taken one step further with geometric patterning. Sico has named this trend "Modern Mosaic," a theme that combines lively brights drawn from the full color spectrum.
As Gévry explains, Modern Mosaic is characterized by geometric patterning—from zig-zag and diamond to checker and chevron designs—and the integration, pixilation and arrangement of multiple shapes in brilliant hues from different color families. Robust reds, sunshine yellows, bold blues and free-spirited pinks and teals will group together as part of this multi-colored, patterned grouping that pays tribute to handmade art. (Think string, yarn, beading, weaving and embroidery.)
Purples and Reds
One big surprise in the 2014 palette is the advent of purple. The Pantone Color Institute has placed Radiant Orchid as the No. 1 color of the year, but many purple permutations are popping up in all sorts of home fashion products and include both red- and blue-infused shades.
Which purple consumers choose will depend on the mood they want to create. "(Purples) with reddened undertones are vibrant and daring, while blue-tinged violets are soft, diluted and retreating," describes Tustin-Fuchs, noting that popular DULUX paint purple choices for the year are Deep Aubergine (13RR 06/179) and Picton (10RB 36/082.)
Another emerging purple is iris. While the color can be heavily influenced by blue or pink, the rising color is more on the purple side, explains Erika Woelfel, director of color marketing for Behr. Behr offers a variety of iris shades in its paint collections, from Veranda Iris (blue undertones) to Iris Pink, with Victorian Iris and Iris Petal weighing in on the purple side.
You can expect to see more purples as the year wears on for one simple reason: Consumers are asking for them.
Jennifer McConnell, vice president of design for Pearson Furnishings, reports that her company has added purple out of sheer demand.
"Purple has always been a very hard color for Americans to embrace in interiors. However, we are getting a lot of requests for purples, and Pearson will be adding some to their line," she says. "I see deeper, warm purples as well as lavenders becoming popular. Even forms of oxblood and maroons are gathering momentum."
And what about true red, that most vibrant of colors? Red is edging toward the front of the palette and, like blue, works well with existing color schemes. By 2015, red might have gained enough momentum to edge out the blue shades that currently are popular.
"While classic red has taken a back seat in recent years, a revived, warmer version of this shade has come on the scene quite suddenly," reports Gina Shaw, vice president of new product development for York Wallcoverings.
"On the fashion runways, it's a lighter look with some orange undertones that still reads 'red.' The hue also works well in a warm, neutral color scheme," Shaw says. "It's a fresh take on the timeless red, and we predict that this time next year, we'll be seeing a lot more of this shade."
Within the red family, orange-kissed shades are another surprise and can be found in new paint colors, fabric patterns and even small kitchen appliances.
According to Lee Menichella, president of Chella Textiles, orange is showing up in a range of hues, from tropical Papaya to Persimmon. "A lot of times it's paired with a dark brown, like Chella's Ash Bark and Coco fabrics," he reports.
On the decline, however, is another tropical color, Kiwi, which was a big seller for Chella in the summer of 2012. At that time, "Everyone wanted it as their pop of color on pillows or chaise lounges outside," he says. However, last summer, the tide began to turn. "Everyone wanted blue and aqua," he adds, "and that has stayed through fall and now into winter."
Peggy Van Allen, color marketing expert with Colorfuel, also pointed to the decline of citrus greens as well as yellows. "There is always a place for them in the palette," she says, "but in smaller doses right now."
However, color experts in general were reluctant to say that any color is truly out. As always, what matters in your own home is what you think.
Editor's Note: Part I of the color story can be found here.