This story was written by Doris A. Pearlman, founder of Possibilities for Design, Inc., a nationally recognized, award winning, interior design and merchandising firm based in Denver, Colorado. The firm specializes in market driven interior space merchandising and trend setting designs.
Few investments offer a greater return than color, and the clues are clear on the best home hues for 2014.
From where I stand—here, at the corner of upscale interior design and model-home merchandising—the answer has everything to do with evolution. And, given our recent discussions, many of my fellow color prognosticators fully agree.
Instead of striking tonal shifts, the shared sentiment goes, expect to see some familiar favorites updated. Freshened. Energized. And with sufficient distinction to speak clearly when called upon to define an environment.
Twelve at the Top
Historically, the color palette for interiors and home furnishings has drawn heavily from, and followed a few steps behind, that of personal fashion and accessories. That trend continues in this year’s delectable dozen:
- 50 Shades of Gray. Novel, isn’t it, how one color name can find expression in such a wide array of options? Expect the diversity in this new crop of grays to dispel any idea of gray’s being too cold for comfort.
- Beige at its best. This perennial neutral is back, carrying golden undertones for warmth and richness. A cardinal rule of model-home merchandising using color is to avoid beige with gray undertones. The combination can make a space grieve.
- Sipping champagne. Think platinum with enough effervescence to merit its own celebration. While decidedly sophisticated, champagne plays well with the darker woods returning to favor.
- The wow of white. Do not be surprised to see larger expanses of white than you have in the past. Far from creating a blank canvas, this not-for-the-timid approach creates a powerful statement while balancing the unanticipated accent. Because quality is particularly evident in white and monochromatic interiors, this is a choice best reserved for more expensive homes.
- Cobalt connects. Color studies for the past decade have concluded that blue is the global favorite. But, until now, it’s not been a top-seller in merchandising. We’re willing to go out on that proverbial limb and suggest cobalt is about to change all that. Think vibrant, jewel-toned to jaw-dropping.
- Emerald city. Given its presence in both earth-tone and elegant settings, it is no wonder this green was Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year. This year, we see emerald evolving into teal—a perfect blend with equal versatility.
- Purple empowers. The color of royalty reigns, again, in 2014. In this incarnation, however, anticipate seeing it full spectrum—from smoky wisteria and sensuous aubergine to the most vivid violets.
- Rrrrrraspberry! When purple and red meet at the juice bar, this pick is the order of the day. It’s a vibrant statement solo, and one you’ll see nuanced into the several shades of pink returning to the spotlight.
- Smoky paprika. Flip through a current fashion magazine and you’ll find dashes of rich, red-orange paprika in abundance. We see this as the what’s-next alternative to last year’s citron. Like that lemon/lime beauty, this tone cuts through visual clutter for exciting interior presence.
- The textural edge. Before you say, “But texture isn’t color,” hear me out. If the objective is to create distinction, dimension, and drama, this is your ace. It can be played to complement or accent virtually any architectural feature or furnishing style.
- Iridescence. Light-catching, lustrous tones instill interior magic. But equally valuable in our color-choosing context is their ability to transform deeper, brighter tones into their near pastel counterparts.
- Mindful metallics. We’ve seen brass, pewter, aluminum, steel, silver, and gold shine in past seasons. Moving forward, expect to see these in their richer, more muted shades…such as the increasingly popular oiled bronze. We’re expecting enameled surfaces to gain new followings, as well. For clues there, visit the websites of design-leading bath fixture firms. (See Kohler.com, Toll Brothers’ vendor partner.)
I noted earlier that the color palette for interior design follows closely behind that of wearable fashion. So if we term our entering-2014 perspective as one of evolution, we can title the next phase one of equilibrium. For that, indeed, is what respected color advisors are envisioning.
Equilibrium, by definition, is “…a state in which opposing forces or actions are balanced so that one is not stronger or greater than the other…a state of emotional balance or calmness.” (MerriamWebster.com). Think beyond either/or…either a quiet pastel or a stand-out bright…into and/also. Brilliant tones balanced with softer shades.
These look-leaders cite as their inspiration the global travels now a part of the mainstream experience and the all-together-now beauty of flower gardens. Which is precisely what you’re already seeing in the new generation of prints enlivening wardrobes. While many echo the tiny icon repeat patterns of the stable 1950s and the spirited 1970s, these carry a new elegance and confidence.
I see some fun frontiers for interiors!
Here’s to a colorful, creative 2014.
For more interior inspiration, please visit our Toll Brothers Pinterest page.