Un­der­stand­ing key to mak­ing changes

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate - Leanne Brownoff for Canwest News Ser­vice

Dear Leanne: Ev­ery Jan­uary I look for­ward to read­ing about the new colour trends for the up­com­ing year. But I am never sure how to use them in my home so that they look good with what I have al­ready.

So I gen­er­ally pro­cras­ti­nate ... and by Novem­ber I find my­self in the same sur­round­ings. Help! I want to keep my prom­ise this year, but where do I be­gin?

A: First of all, give your­self a break. I am sure that your home is very comfortable or you would have made the nec­es­sary changes.

Per­haps by un­der­stand­ing how the de­sign trends come about you can de­cide con­fi­dently which ones you may wish to adopt. I get the sense that you feel an un­con­trol­lable pres­sure to take on new home fash­ion styles as they are pre­sented.

I sug­gest you take a step back and eval­u­ate what your space has to of­fer. Make a list of what you re­ally like about what you have. Use ad­jec­tives to de­scribe th­ese rooms, for ex­am­ple: spa­cious, cosy, open, bright.

Now make a list of what you don’t like about your room. Be spe­cific. Again, use ad­jec­tives to help you pin­point where to make im­pact­ful changes. Are fabrics worn, wall colour unin­spir­ing, car­pet dingy?

This list will help to guide you through the process of tak­ing on a big de­sign project and break­ing it down into smaller, more man­age­able tasks. It is ex­cit­ing to read the new lists of home trends for the com­ing year. It gives us a fresh per­spec­tive of the pos­si­bil­i­ties for our own homes.

How­ever, th­ese are only op­tions - they are not di­rec­tives. When it comes to colour trends, th­ese lists are not merely cre­ated on whims and guesses. The colours are se­lected based on what re­searchers feel will pro­vide the great­est mar­ket­ing edge to a prod­uct.

While this may sound cold and ma­nip­u­la­tive, we are the ones driv­ing th­ese trends and not the trends driv­ing us. Groups such as the Color Mar­ket­ing Group and the Pan­tone Color Group are two leaders in the colour fore­cast mar­ket. Typ­i­cally th­ese groups study the so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cli­mate of the world and of­fer colour sug­ges­tions that we will ap­prove of.

His­tor­i­cally, dur­ing re­ces­sion­ary times, trends are more sub­dued and se­ri­ous. Dur­ing boom years, colours are more ex­u­ber­ant and en­er­getic.

In 2010, we are in an in-be­tween colour era. One that is based on cau­tion, mixed with the sense of hope. So to pro­vide us, the con­sumer, with prod­ucts that we will pur­chase and sur­round our­selves with, the mar­kets will of­fer items that will at­tempt to boost our con­fi­dence and con­firm that we have made good de­ci­sions.

As is true ev­ery year, the newly un­veiled hues of­fer selections from ev­ery colour imag­in­able, so there is al­ways some­thing to in­spire every­one. Look for larger-ticket items to be in neu­tral tones, al­low­ing ac­ces­sories to pack the vis­ual punch.

Trend­set­ters are tak­ing a pointer or two from the at­tire of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. Yel­lows and gold tones have al­ready in­flu­enced the paint and fab­ric in­dus­tries and we will likely see such op­ti­mistic colours make their way into the bed­room and bath­rooms again.

Other de­sign trends that will con­tinue to dom­i­nate are those that fo­cus on Mother Earth. Re­new­able re­sources and nat­u­ral prod­ucts will be highly fash­ion­able this year. So ex­pect to see the neu­tral pal­ette tinged with browns, char­coal, greys, blues and vi­o­let.

Al­though the neu­tral tones may be muted, there are rich pal­ettes that are in­spired by eth­nic and tribal in­flu­ences. Th­ese colours will be ex­otic, but they will also prom­ise longevity in the de­sign world.

As I said ear­lier, th­ese new colours of­fer some­thing for every­one. With that in mind, there is a colour pal­ette that pays trib­ute to the grow­ing in­ter­est in Ja­panese an­i­ma­tion, of­fer­ing a colour­ful yet cleaver com­bi­na­tion of hues that are per­fect for a whim­si­cal en­vi­ron­ment. Th­ese are only a few of the trends that will be of­fered in the up­com­ing sea­son.

The im­por­tant thing is to iden­tify what you want your en­vi­ron­ment to do for you. Keep the im­por­tant things and dis­card the su­per­flu­ous. If you need a high-ticket item, such as a sofa, per­haps se­lect from the neu­tral shades in a tone that you can live with and then add strong punches of colour in your ac­ces­sories.

Paint is al­ways a great place to get in­spired. Colour is the first el­e­ment to ever be no­ticed and wall colour def­i­nitely sets the tone of the room.

Canwest photo

Black, red and or­ange make up the Asian-in­spired colour pal­ette for this sim­ple, but dra­matic bath­room vi­gnette.

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