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Trends in Color and Paint

Trends in Color and Paint

A relatively unknown fact is that Architect Frank Lloyd Wright frequently designed clothes to coordinate with the colors, patterns and style of his clients’ homes. (Hmmm…What a surprise this would be to the guest, after one too many martinis, to realize that he has been discussing the origin of man with the kitchen wall.) It also has been claimed that one way to determine a client’s color preferences is to simply look beyond the skeleton’s in the closet to the colors on the hangars. This concept begs me to to wonder why I haven’t been inclined to paint my home as well as those of any of my clients in a range of matte to to high gloss enamel black or, as another option, white with Ralph Lauren’s faux denim. (So, let’s presume that if this method really worked the profession of residential interior design would quickly become obsolete.) But there is one final method worthy of mentioning, since it has has reclaimed itself as the trendy answer and is found in the ancient art of Feng Shui. Here you can achieve appropriate color and good karma simultaneously with ultimate modern efficiency.

Letting the cynic in me subside, I am not proposing to entirely cast aside these methods, ancient and modern, but would like to also consider other guidelines which will take into account the natural lighting conditions, color effects, and recent color trends as another solution to selecting paint.


Natural Lighting: Clearly, more light brightens and accentuates while less creates shadows and dulls color. However, one color on a wall could be entirely different on another due to natural lighting conditions that also shift and effect color values throughout the day. The direction of each room will also need to be considered since northern exposure rooms receive more cool blue casts while southern exposures receive warmer reds and yellows. Although many color guidelines advise against using the same cast of color this will be, in the final analysis, a personal choice. (De gustibus, non est disputandum.) Blues in eastern facing exposures can also be brilliant and comfortable due to the natural cool effects of light. Fire red on a southern exposure wall can also create high impact appropriate for a particular room that demands a dramatic effect. So, whether or not you use a cooler color to tone down a southern exposure or a warmer color to support it will rely ultimately upon the effect you are trying to achieve.

Color Intensity: Another challenge is how to imagine the effect that one inch paint sample will have across the entire room. If your room receives a lot of natural light consider toning down the intensity by lightening or neutralizing it. Otherwise the effect could be too extreme for comfort.Color Trends: Color impacts everything from cars to make-up to upholstery, clothes and well, just name it. Understanding these trends will help determine when to put an out-dated color to rest and provide newly improved alternatives. At this time the darker neutrals have replaced the lighter ones, especially darker taupes. Also new to the map are slate and charcoal grays as a savvy alternative to taupe and a subdued version of the impossible black. Camel is and will remain the classic and sophisticated neutral that works with every color. All three options work beautifully with bolder trendy accent colors in the red, orange, turquoise and avocado range. Let’s turn to effects of color and some of many recommendations provided by Benjamin Moore.

Psychological Effects of Color:

While color impacts our mood and behavior, it also reflects our personality and desires. First, consider what effect you trying to achieve. Many answers can be achieved initially by simply describing how you would like to perceive your room. Below are a few of the symbolic associations attached to color with a few trendy color recommendations by Benjamin Moore.

Red: Love and heat. Aggressive and bold. Courageous. A good luck and fame color in Feng Shui. It both attracts attention and creates excitement, while being expressive, rejuvenating, and passionate. Try Benjamin Moore: Fuchsine 1343 or Coral Essence 2007-40.

Pink: Feminity, softness, sensitivity, faithfulness. Try Benjamin Moore: Victorianna 1263 for subtler pink.

Orange: A bold and high energy color of nature. It is the out-going color: friendly, cheerful, and happy. It creates order without being overly-controlling. It can also decrease irritability. Try Benjamin Moore: Tangerine Zing 132, Tangerine Fusion 083, or Peach Brandy 112.

Yellow: Great color to promote study. It is cheerful, optimistic and stimulates memory and mental clarity. However, like the sun, only minimum exposure required. This is a difficult color for the eye to process. Try Benjamin Moore: Firefly 299 or Malton 1073.Green: Life and nature. A powerful and popular color that is easy on the eyes. It is a color of relaxation and comfort, balance and harmony. Darker green represents ambition and prosperity, envy, rejuvenation, moderation, concentration, and security. Try Benjamin Moore: Glacier Lake 867, Four Leaf Clover 573, or Trailing Vines 1505.

Blue: Tranquil and inspiring like the clear blue sky. Like water, it is refreshing and renewing. Symbolic of trust and longevity, also associated with leisure, authority and strength. Light blue reflects patience and dark blue, impulsivity. Try Benjamin Moore: Waterfall 2050-50, Tropical Teal 734, Blue Jean 2062-50 or Ash Blue 2057-40.

Purple: The color of royalty. It contains romance, imagination, passion, and spirituality and encourages wisdom, reverence, inspiration, and quietness. This is the color of elegance and mystery. Color of the season is Benjamin Moore: Frozen in Time 1448.

Black: Noncommittal. Color of sophistication, elegance, dignity, and power, while reflecting aloofness and mystery.

White: Perfect balance and color with hidden values. Indicates purity, sterility, sharpness, and spirituality. It encompasses the entire color spectrum. Tone it down with Benjamin Moore: Super White 02.

Gray: Both black and white, it lacks in assertiveness, but compensates by revealing intelligence and a sense of discipline, and self-reliance. Try Benjamin Moore: Ashland Slate 1608.

Brown: Conveys warmth and comfort, genuineness, solidarity, and masculinity. Try Benjamin Moore El Cajon Clay 1260 or neutral top pick Grege Avenue 991.

Certainly the home is true reflection of ourselves, our beliefs and aspirations, so take care, choose wisely and know thyself!