Color Forecast: Sunny & Cool

Guest Blogger Mary Cook is the president and founder of Mary Cook Associates, Inc., an award-winning interior design firm specializing in providing full scale interior architecture and design services to a wide range of clients, with projects including multi-million dollar renovations, landmark restorations, adaptive reuse, and new construction. Over the past 20+ years, the company has grown to acquire national presence, implementing and managing hundreds of design projects across the United States.


For more than two decades, color palettes favored the warmer side. Neutrals were largely dominated by warm golds, and even the complimenting accents from the jewel tone family were earthy in nature.  For most of those two decades I would say, “Pick your favorite color and add mud – that’s what in.”

Each fall as we prepare the season’s palette lineup, I kick things off with an extensive review of all the new trends in fabrics and textiles.  Last week as I walked through the showrooms at the Chicago Merchandise Mart, I headed right for the “what’s new” tags and combed through hundreds of the newest printed, woven, raffia, and textured fabrics.

The array of amazingly intricate detail on so many of the fabrics was simply stunning; the level of detail usually reserved for the finest, most expensive fabrics are now mainstream on many of the lines.  The stitching, pleating, quilting, and beading details can be quite beautiful. One of my favorite detail discoveries from my trip to the Mart is a popular new printing /weaving process that results in a “watermarking” on the ground of the fabric. It’s details like this that add the crucial elements of luxury, texture and dimension to an interior.

Most refreshing to me was finding that a majority of the fabrics had a wonderful natural feel to them, with linens, cottons, silks, and raffias dominating the pack.  Fitting this trend, the color palettes also had a very soothing and relaxed feel to them. Beautiful cool hues with names like sky, sea, indigo, mineral, and lapis caught my eye, and complementing neutrals like mink, toast, linen, saddle, and dawn are poised to become the new look going into late 2012 and further. This airy look is a far cry from the heavy, muddy tones of the past!

After combing through racks of these soothing, fresh feeling fabrics, I turned to talk to the showroom manager. He was standing right in front of a rack of the best sellers from the early 2000’s, and to my surprise, my mood immediately fell in reaction to those darker, heavier fabrics. A quick glance back at the racks of new colors and textures, and I found myself soothed and smiling once again. I have a good feeling that the cool gray neutrals, the clear bright accent colors, and those lovely natural textures will be taking the front seat and staying for some time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *