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By Arthur Douglas Thayer
After a few seasons of in-your-face bright colors and oh-so-safe neutrals, home
fashion colors and textures are becoming more complex and cosmopolitan.
It's a big shift that we've seen moving through the last six months' fabric, gift and
home furnishings markets.
Three recent color forecasts reveal multi-leveled trends for new colors in home
Color forecasts from Cotton, Inc., Design Options and
the Trend Curve revealed a huge diversity of influences, directions and end users.
Everyone agrees: Color sells the product.
“The interest in color has been building for several seasons. We forecast its rise
and noticed how it has energized consumers and taken our homes to a higher level
of personalization," said Michelle Lamb, founder and chief executive officer of The
"Today, color is prevalent in a ways it never was in the past. Consumers are using
color as it suits them, knowing that it does not represent a lifelong commitment, but
a statement that can evolve. “ Lamb added.
New color trends involved blue, red and orange, black and white and the ever-
present, but now more varied neutral shades. Tied into color was an evolution of
added texture and surface interest.
“ In addition to forecasting color trends, we also track each color, to see which ones
are selling the best. This is based on which color chips are most requested," said
She said chocolate is currently one of the most successful colors. Red also
continues to be important, but it is lightening up and moving into various shades of
At Design Options, the West Coast tracking firm, interim palettes are being
introduced, because dolor doesn't follow a set cycle, according to CeCe Valent.
" We note six main trends twice a year for general introduction, but there are always
last minute surprises we have to account for. The hottest current one is the
incoming story of silver and gray,’ said Valent. Design Options clients include Liz
Claiborne, J. C. Penney Home, Jones New York, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Predicting what's ahead in the next two years, Cotton Inc. recently forecast six key
color directions Home Surfaces 2008: “Pure,” “Borrowed,” “Stability,”“Perspective,”
“Chameleon” and “Wonder.”
These labels indicated the wide scope of color direction to be identified and
qualified, from clear, invigorating urban brights to multi cultural and ethnic mid tones
to toned down nature based neutrals.
“Pure” and “Chameleon” are trends that addressed interest in calming earth-based
beiges and other tonal neutral color groupings, enhanced by greater texture and
surfaces interest. Ethnic influences borrowed from around the world were
represented in “Borrowed.”
Inventive color combinations, either very personal, high tech or aesthetic and
sophisticated were seen in the “Stability,” “Perspective” and “Wonder” groupings.
“We are told over and over again that color is important in our business. We can’t
tell you what one color will revolutionize the world, but we can tell you that there isn’t
just one. The most unsafe thing to do is to be safe. What stand am I willing to take,
what will my point of view be?
Amy Archer, director of color for Rowe Furniture, told a group of furniture retailers at
a recent seminar.
“People resist change. That is natural. Our industry still lacks the innovation to
overcome this inertia. We need a radical change to motivate sales in our stagnant
business," Archer warned. "We spend too much energy focused on the wrong
things. Because of that, many of us barely survive, at best we maintain. We need to
be creative. "
According to Connie Post, president of Connie Post Co., "Retailers need to engage
their customers with all five of their senses. A store’s aesthetics are important,
things like the textures or fabrics of the furniture or flooring," she said.
But that's not all. Retailers should also keep in mind the full range of senses. The
power of music for example. "And the power of smell, who can forget the aroma of
freshly baked homemade cookies at your grandmother’s house?” said Post.
All variations of blue are creating a lot of interest, from red cast tones such as
lavender, to the dark side in navy onto the cool blues such as established spa blue
and the more recent introduction of turquoise, were seen at the recent markets.
Spa blue may seem old hat to some, but it still continues in popularity. The new
shades in blue are those centered on mid tones such as federal, French or sky;
navy or indigo, and turquoise. Lavender is now on the leading edge.
“At the recent Showtime fabric market, we showed a lot of lavender, mixing it with
assorted shades of cream and soft warm green. It will debut in our upcoming color
book named Hydrangea,” said Millie Hammond, senior stylist for decorative fabric
house for Fabricut.
“Blue is both remaining on the cool side and becoming more true. We see spa blue
on the cooler side remaining strong, especially combined with cocoa and chocolate
brown. The newer blue is French blue. It looks best when mixed with red and blue, a
classic Pierre Frey combination,” observed Hillary Lacher, colorist for Cone
Old Money Neutral
“Old money is always going to do it neutral,” said Ron Fiore, creative director at
Hickory Chair, speaking on interior color trends for the high end and luxury markets.
“Look carefully at many decorative accessories and even tabletop introductions and
you notice the first hints of something unexpected: a return of finish and textural
effects. After several seasons off the trend radar, special effects that run the gamut
from subtle nuances to brazenly obvious show stoppers are predicted to come
roaring back for 2007,” said Trend Curve’s Lamb.
“Rooms are coming together by the piece, not by the group. Going forward, each
room will be a collection of items, not a collection that matches. This is a
fundamental shift in the evolution of eclectic decorating," Lamb added.
"What began 20 years ago as a way to break the monotony of a matching story has
become the best path to creating a personalized environment,” said Lamb.