It’s That Time Of The Year Again: Considering Colors Of The Year

Color is a highly personal choice. Yet since 2000, experts at The Pantone Color Institute have annually anointed a hue its “color of the year,” picked to focus trends and influence and inspire consumers. Industries that rely on color trends followed suit, with their soothsayers selecting annual stars. Despite the chance that very different trends could have emerged, there has always seemed to be a thematic consensus.

Colors of the year

Photos (from left to right) courtesy of Popsugar, House Beautiful, Jonas Lundberg Photography, Dunn Edwards Instagram

This year is no different. The 2018 “color of the year” winners are all deep, saturated hues with seductive names and rich associations: Caliente, a variation on Chinese red from Benjamin Moore; Oceanside, a merger of Caribbean blue and emerald green from Sherwin-Williams; Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple with a royal aura from Pantone; and The Green Hour, a blue-green made moodier and more mysterious with a touch of gray from Dunn-Edwards Paints, inspired by the practice of drinking Absinthe at the cocktail hour in early 20th century Paris.

Ultra Violet Instagram

Photo courtesy of WGSN Insider

Why such intense yearly anticipation about the new palettes? Because they show up in so many iterations—not just paint. Countless manufacturers appropriate them for their furnishings, tiles, wallpapers, accessories, appliances and even cars. Based on the past, it may be time to brace ourselves for an onslaught of exuberant hues after being coddled by the calming grays and serene whites that emerged post 9/11. But as we noted in the Huffington Post, will many of us really want to transform our rooms with one of these daring hues, as well as update wardrobes, linens, eyeglass frames, tablet covers and even trade in our autos for ones in—gasp—deep purple?

Ultra violet flower

Photo courtesy of Curated Interior

We think it depends on the decorative prowess, price point and ease of integrating items in colors of the year into your home. Switching out ready-made linens, towels, dishes and decorative accessories can be a fun exercise in dipping your toes into trendiness. It’s no different than buying a new lipstick when makeup artists exclaim it’s time to put away sun-kissed corals for vixen-worthy dark reds. But the luxury home furnishings market doesn’t jump through hoops at lickety-split speed just because color forecasters and paint manufacturers make these pronouncements. We certainly don’t, and many respected, objective media observers don’t advocate color flips based on trend reports either.

For example, “What we have here in 2017 is a heap of chaos and disruption” and “what we need in 2018” is not necessarily Ultra Violet, which was chosen to evoke a counterculture flair, originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking, noted the Associate Press. Another issue is the obvious association between the hue and well being: “Even as you expose yourself to Ultra Violet (the tint) in 2018, remember that exposure to ultraviolet (the radiation) remains unhealthy,” pointed out The Arizona Republic. But our favorite advice comes from noted color consultant Amy Wax, who developed the Color911 app and writes an award-winning blog of the same name. She advises wariness in going with a color simply because someone else touts it. “This year when colors are so bold and recognizable, your design may look dated once that color is no longer the hot trend,” she said.

Colors of year examples

Photos (clockwise) courtesy of Martha Leone Design, Sherwin-Williams, Modern Luxury Furniture

We don’t believe our clients, who rely on us to recommend timeless luxury furnishings and bespoke palettes that will appeal long-term would be eager to incorporate an Ultra Violet Womb Chair, Caliente breakfront or Oceanside walls in their homes.

So how should we balance the siren call toward these new strong hues? We think that marketing and advertising experts try too hard to convince us to buy into something that isn’t backed by long-term scientific evidence. And science backs us up! For instance, “Research has demonstrated in many cases that the mood-altering effects of color may only be temporary. A blue room may initially cause feelings of calm, but the effect dissipates after a short period of time,” noted psychosocial rehabilitation specialist Kendra Cherry on Very Well. “Experts have found that while color can have an influence on how we feel and act, these effects are subject to personal, cultural, and situational factors. More scientific research is needed to gain a better understanding of color psychology.”

Our approach is to stir the (color) pot, so to speak, with all the influences, from associations each color connotes for a client to a room’s amount of light and the outside climate. Color choices are just one of the many tools we use to make our interiors shine for a very long time.

19 Dec 2017

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