Color is what makes your heart sing and what makes you feel secure and happy in your home.

Good morning, it is so good to be back on a lovely Saturday! Recently, it was suggested I discuss color trends, including current color trends, how to incorporate new color trends into your home without starting from scratch and, finally, how often color trends change. Wow, that is a very full request! So, I guess you best refill your morning drink and let’s uncover some of the mysteries of color!
To take the third question first: Recognized experts in the field decide color trends and release them to the public at the beginning of each year. Experts include Jackie Jordan of Sherwin-Williams and Pantone. In fact, Pantone holds secret meetings twice a year with a variety of color specialists to decide the “color of year” for the following year. These colors are published and made available to the fashion world, florists and other companies interested in guiding consumers’ color choices. It is all very calculated. For now, let’s see whether this year’s predictions were correct. I assure you that this January I’ll do this column again, with new hues to ponder.
For 2013, gray is reaching a strong position. It’s still a “strict” color like black, but not as authoritative as black at its purest level. Rather than pair black with more brilliant colors this year, however, those in the decision-making world have added grays, smoke, mist and shadowy colors to lend a softer backdrop for the stronger colors to rise from. Take a look around you, and you will indeed see an abundance of gray in this season’s color palette. Joining grays you will see some dusty taupes and charcoaled blues. Essentially, any color that is not black and has the sense of smoke or ash is very much in vogue at present. To work this into your home, consider a wonderful dove gray sofa with smoldering charcoal decorative pillows, and then add the darling of the year—emerald green—for a real show stopper. Or perhaps paint an entryway piece in emerald green for that "hello" of color.
The color of the year-emerald green represents both luxury, like the precious stone, and a sense of relaxation as well. Imagine a forest with its canopy of leafed-out trees…you can almost smell the color. Plus, the color experts no doubt wanted to reflect the green theory of living—being kind and good to our world is part of who we are on this planet right now. And who in Kansas does not relate to the Emerald City of Oz? For the emerald touch, maybe consider adding some Fiesta dinnerware into your cabinets in lemongrass or shamrock. These are perfect for crisp white linens to end summer and too divine for Christmas Eve dinner. When you are out and about this weekend, see for yourself the abundance of green in clothing as well as interiors furnishings.
This year, neutrals were a bit on the soft and chalky side. Think of the inside of a seashell, the Kansas sky when the blue is at its palest and fluffy clouds with variations of white and pale gray. In homespun items, look to yarns that are natural and the color of ripened wheat or sparrow eggs, or a farmhouse with peeling paint, with exposed raw wood and the lovely patina of the few remaining shutters or screen door. These are the neutrals of 2013. So how does one introduce this soft, almost transparent, color to your home without holding Augusta’s largest garage sale? Try finding a painting of a dreamy Kansas afternoon sky, frame a piece of art you already own in weathered wood, fling a cotton throw in flax over a chair, or add a wonderful colored glass vase in pale amber from a place like T.J. Maxx or Bed Bath & Beyond. It is the tiny touches that allow you to freshen with ease and not be committed to a particular color.
To step the palette up just a bit are the stronger pastels you might see in decorated cupcakes and retro wallpapers. Remember the 1950s kitchens with laminate counters featuring the boomerang design in charcoal on turquoise? We’re also seeing the return of mauve, rosy pinks, violet, clay and a soft greened gold. These colors from the past are made new once again. Then there’s the bright, don’t-you-dare-miss-me hues! These include the neons, like the marquee at the Augusta Theater, or the vests of the highway crew. I think one color that is certainly here to stay is acid green while Smurf blue, geranium red, turquoise from the islands and bright clear raspberry remain in the mix. These brights all need a clarifier in the form of a smoky gray or charcoal to layer with.
Keep in mind that not all forecast colors can or will find a place in your home. You might, on occasion, opt to just set a marvelous table with flowers, candles and perhaps pasties in the colors of the year. Maybe even start an annual get-together with friends featuring a tablescape dedicated to the colors you love from the recent forecast. To reinforce the theme, have place cards done with paint chips of this year’s focus colors. This makes for a great way to temporarily enjoy colors that may not end up living in your home. Colors are a part of life that make us happy, so use them in creative and entertaining ways.
So, there you have it: a simple and concise way to understand color forecasting. Some of these hues already live in your home, and some would never even make it into the driveway! But it is always a lot of fun to see why and how the “popular” colors begin. But at the end of the day, color is what makes your heart sing and what makes you feel secure and happy in your home. So take the color forecasting for what it is for a good share of you—interesting.
Let me leave you with some wise and somewhat funny words:
“I owe my color sense to crayons.” —Angelo Rafael Donghia, The New York Times
This week appreciate the colors that make you look twice! See you for coffee next week.