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