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The Fashion & Furniture Color Connection
By Switch Modern
1/22/2016 5:03:00 PM  

Color forecasting is critical to the fashion, home, and interiors industries. Aligning your designs with the prevailing color trends can boost sales dramatically; failing to do so could turn potential customers away, as the products might seem irrelevant.

Twice a year, 10 experts convene at Pantone – the standard-bearer in helping designers select and specify colors – to choose the colors that will dominate runways and home goods in the future. Their inspiration comes from the worlds of street fashion, movies, current events, and more.

Trend forecasting is so much more than just a random selection of beautiful colors. Customers respond in an emotional way to relaxing hues and natural tones, perhaps as a way to escape from the chaotic, “plugged-in” lives we live. In an era where customers are sharing their favorite products on so many different platforms, it’s easy to see how the color trends in fashion make their way into the world of interior design and furnishings very quickly, and just how crucial it is to pay heed to the always-changing trends in the world of color.

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Color Trends at Home – How to Be a Savvy Color Consumer
By Switch Modern
1/6/2016 12:07:00 PM  

We know what someone means when they say they “see red,” or “feel blue.” Color is part of our everyday lives, affecting mood, outlook, and more. Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about color until it’s time to make a purchase, from clothing to furniture, linens, dishware, even cars. Each season, design leaders in all those fields offer a mix of products in a remarkably similar array of colors. Ever wonder why? You will need to choose colors if you plan to invest in new furniture, whether one well-designed new lounge chair from B&B Italia Outdoor Furniture, or a complete suite of Walter Knoll furniture.

Understanding more about the way colors are determined will help you make the right choices when designing your home interior. Furniture is likely to be a part of your life for an extended period of time, so make the most of your investment by becoming a savvy color consumer.   

Where Do Color Trends Originate?

Color trends come from every direction and multiple sources. Generally, textile designers and manufacturers together with color forecasters get the chain started, and the fashion industry can originate or spread the trend. Color forecasters use a long-established process of “boots on the ground” research around the world. They observe emerging grassroots changes in color use, getting a feel for the mood and concerns people express through their choice of colors and in their everyday lives. They draw on expertise in psychology, the arts, and design, and gain insights from expert panelists working in all the major related industries.1

Fashion designers choose among new fabrics offered each season, or they commission textile designs based on their own sense of trends. Typically, they study the forecasters’ color palettes and develop their own seasonal palette. Then, they begin sourcing fabric to fulfill emerging design concepts. Furniture manufacturers follow a similar routine, studying color forecasts and monitoring developments in fashion colors.

The time lag between new colors turning up in fashion, and then in home interiors, has gotten dramatically shorter in recent years, shrinking to less than two years, as consumer color awareness grows, thanks to social media and greater access to advance information. Some furniture manufacturers are able to stay right in step with dominant fashion color trends, at least in accent pieces that can be quickly adapted and turned out in time to enter the semi-annual furniture markets at High Point, North Carolina and elsewhere.2

How You Can Make the Right Color Choices

Chances are, you’ll keep furniture for a much longer lifecycle than you will apparel, so it’s a good idea to think first about the neutral palette you will use in your home décor, especially for hard case goods (furniture) and surfaces (walls, floors, carpeting). You can then layer on trendier accent colors in replaceable items like upholstery and accent pieces (pillows, lamps, wall hangings, decorative pieces, area rugs). Wall color can also be used to carry out a strong accent tone if you choose one wall to liven up with the accent color, while keeping other walls neutral.

You may be convinced that your tastes are entirely your own and what you love today, you will love tomorrow … but don’t be too sure. Trend forecasters know that we are all subtly influenced by the world around us. We take in all kinds of information, from economic pressures to political tensions, plus visual exposure to evocative, current colors. Multiple influential color predictors foresee a dominant social trend described as “duality,” to reflect these opposing influences. We look to the future for innovation and newness, yet we look to the past for tradition and stability, even nostalgia. We live mostly in crowded urban zones that are never fully dark, although we naturally require hours of darkness. Our overly structured lives make us long for the feel of tech-free things like paper and pencil, or printed books and graphics made from letters and words.3

The Pantone Color Institute, the leading world authority on color standards used by most industries that depend on color, issues a highly influential prediction of color trends for the coming year. Pantone has synthesized the choices into sets of color groupings or palettes that reflect the ways we interpret these realities in our own lives.

Here are Pantone’s 2016 groupings for home interiors, collectively titled “Innovation and Impact.”4 Professionals in all facets of home furnishings, manufacturing, design, interior design, and retail, will consult them in making their choices for the coming year. Look up examples of these shades to see what kind of color interplay they inspire for your home, indoors and outdoors:

  • Natural forms: Taking color from natural sources like moss, sheepskin, rust, a rose-colored clay, a plum wine, bone brown; copper and lead for metal grounding.

  • Dichotomy: Reflecting the duality concept, it includes colors that prove opposites attract, like a silver metallic, a bright cobalt blue, and a sunny yellow, with lighter versions of the same hues.

  • Ephemera: Pastel colors that include palest, even washed-out shades of aqua, blue-gray, rose pink, light peach, light yellow, orchid ice, opal gray, grayish white (cloud dancer), and frosted almond beige.

  • Lineage: Includes grounded, deeper colors like Biscotti tan, Apricot Brandy, a charcoal-navy tone called Stargazer, deep Mars Red, a softened green called Epsom, a brown-tinged Fire Brick, black, violet, and champagne beige.

  • Soft Focus: A muted collection of soft, relaxing colors, including peach, rose, pale minty green, a nearly-black brown, a classic beige, tourmaline, mustardy gold, and a soft, deep pink.

  • Bijoux: Is the bright, jewel-like collection of more intense colors, from a nearly-orange Amber Yellow to amethyst, deep green, a deep taupe, a light glowing red, bold pink, a golden green, topaz, and violet.

  • Merriment: Happy colors to brighten your rooms, including cantaloupe, a bright aqua- blue, darker Super Pink, a toasty brown called Sesame, a spicy gold, another deep taupe, and comfortingly classic bright green and orange.

  • Footloose: And fancy free? That is the idea with these fun, summery colors that mix bright orange, aqua-blue, periwinkle blue, and navy, with pale green, Meadow Green, a light coffee color called Latte, and the yummy Strawberry Pink.

  • Mixed Bag: Go for a mixed salad of bright colors that suggest strong prints more than solids. This group includes deep Mandarin Red, black, a hot Pink, a deep violet, a deep mossy yellow-green,  a lighter beige, and the famous color-of-the-year for 2015, Marsala.

Tips for Using 2016 Colors

Color trends are simply a guide, especially useful to industries and businesses at all levels that depend on color choice for success. At the same time, they guide us as consumers and often reflect impulses we feel but were not fully aware of before. Whether you work with a professional designer or enjoy inventing your own décor, here are some practical ways to interpret the color groupings described above to introduce fresh colors into your home.

  • Before tackling a whole room, do what the pros do and develop your color palette. Choose the neutral colors you’ll use as your background for stronger accent colors. Keep in mind, you can more easily update smaller items that carry out your accents if you want another change next season, or next year.  Look at how contrasting colors work together, and pay attention to your emotional response to color pairings.

  • You can choose more than one accent color, with one playing a more dominant role, and the second and even third ones used more sparingly. Layer them up to reinforce different shades of one color, or find contrasting colors within one of the Pantone groupings above.

  • Consider one dramatic piece of furniture as your room’s focal point, like the deep burnt orange Zeus Sofa, designed by Antonio Citterio and made by Flexform. Its asymmetrical, linear style is inviting and challenging, and the warm color is vibrant and exciting. Surround it with softer neutrals, and carry out the burnt orange in a few well-chosen accent pieces.

  • Limit your color choices to a max of three or four; more than that and a room looks cluttered and overly busy. The eye doesn’t know where to go.

  • Choose your colors for fabric, furniture, carpeting and floor coverings first, because they come in a smaller range of options than does paint. Next, look for the best paint color to set off the other colors and the furnishings you chose.

  • Keep in mind the kind of light exposure each room will have, as light—artificial and natural—can dramatically alter the way colors are perceived at different times of day.


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