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Color trends: Light, dark and everything in-between

On frosty days, local interior designer Mark Taylor dreams of decorating a sun room. It would be big and bright – and very uplifting.

“I would love to use yellow right now because I’m already sick of winter. I would love to do a sun room with oranges, yellows and greens to remind us that spring is coming,” he said.

When asked what colors she would choose when decorating a room of her choice in this new year, interior designer Erin Kent said she knows exactly what she would do. “I would do a bright fuchsia office. I would combine it with some black and white so it’s bright and inspiring,” said Kent, of Erin Kent Interiors.

The topic of color pops up in January. The holiday decorations are down. It’s cold outside and sometimes bleak. People are spending more time indoors which means they have more time to critique their decor. And let’s not forget all those color predictions that surface each year.

By now you may have heard that Pantone has released its 2018 color of the year – Ultra Violet, which replaces Greenery, the 2017 choice. It’s also an annual tradition for paint companies to highlight several new palettes (collections of colors that work well together) and crown one hue its color of the year.

Sherwin-Williams, for example, puts three palettes in the spotlight for 2018: Sincerity (sand, complex grays and “hazy botanicals”), Affinity (peacock blue, fuchsia, brown) and tech-inspired Connectivity (orange, violets, digital greens and high-definition yellow).

Does this mean everyone is supposed to grab a roller and start repainting all the rooms in their home? Of course not. But if you’re looking for ideas, this could be a start.

“Each paint company names a color but often they’re not related to each other. They’re all over the board. This goes to show you, really, that there is no one color that is right or wrong. People relate to colors in different ways. That’s why it’s nice that there is such an array of colors to pick from. It’s such a personal choice,” Kent said.

A few of this year’s selections:

• Sherwin-Williams named Oceanside its 2018 color of the year. Included in its new Affinity palette, Oceanside is described as “a collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green.” The company notes that the marine-inspired color “can create a welcoming statement as a lively color for a front door. Its green-meets-blue tone can also boost creative thinking and clarity of thought in a home office, or invite meditation and introspection into a bedroom or reading nook.”

• Benjamin Moore went bold. Its color of the year – Caliente – is a dramatic red. “Whether used as one note or on four walls, the spirited personality of red turns heads signaling surprise and adventure. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes,” said Ellen O’Neill, the company’s director of strategic design intelligence.

Caliente, a dramatic red, is Benjamin Moore's color of the year. (Photo courtesy Benjamin Moore)

• Glidden went dark. Very dark. Its color of the year is Deep Onyx. “Using a black paint color on your walls or in your decor may feel intimidating at first, but it’s actually one of the easiest colors to use to create the low-key, easygoing style that’s trending for 2018,” said Misty Yeomans, PPG color marketing manager, Glidden paints, in a release.

“Black can be overlooked as a neutral color, but it works well on an accent wall or as an alternative to white paint on doors, trim and cabinets. The sense of ease and authenticity it brings to a home can’t be denied. Just like a little black dress, Deep Onyx is a classic, timeless staple.”

Deep Onyx has some company. Olympic’s color of the year is Black Magic. PPG Paints chose Black Flame.

“I love black. I did a black accent wall in my bedroom at the Decorators’ Show House (in 2015). I thought that was pretty risky because people either love it or hate it,” said Kent.

“I have used black in so many of my designs. I personally love it – anything from a black-and-white powder room – which can be stunning – to smaller black accents in everyday living spaces,” she said. Accents could include black vases, black-and-white artwork or a lacquered piece of furniture.

Glidden's Deep Onyx.  (Photo courtesy Glidden)

Not that those who prefer something on the blue-green side should be disappointed. In addition to Sherwin-Williams’ Oceanside, Behr’s color of the year is In The Moment – “a restorative coalescence of blue, gray and green.” Pratt & Lambert went for a tranquil blue called Heron.

Taylor said he is seeing many “not-quite-blue, not-quite green” colors. “They’re fresh looking and appeal to many people,” he said.

Behr's In The Moment paint color. (Photo courtesy Behr)

Then there’s Pantone’s color of the year selection: Ultra Violet.

In explaining how colors are chosen, Pantone describes on its website how the selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis: “To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socioeconomic conditions.” New technologies and other factors also come into play.

These days many people want more color in their homes, but it can make them nervous, Taylor said.

His advice: Start small.

“I always say ‘If you’re not ready to take that big jump, then begin with an accent wall or something else that will get you started,’ ” he said.

Who knows? Maybe that color will remind you of one from the past that you never thought you would use again.

How does that happen?

“Your style changes, number one, and you can almost re-envision it another way now. That’s really how things circle around. The same thing from the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s – combined with some of today’s elements – can feel fresh and new again,” Kent said.


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