Color Commentary: Consumers Get The Blues
by Anita Shaw
Studies conducted during the past few years have shown that color
can dramatically affect a person’s mood, with bright hues infusing
an upbeat feeling, and cooler shades enhancing a sense of calm and
serenity. This is particularly important in the kitchen and
bathroom two rooms that are integral to both the home and
homeowners’ sense of well being as that color choices here will
have a profound impact on residents’ moods and lives, every single
Traditionally seen as the “heart of the home,” the kitchen is
where people go to be with family, to entertain, to prepare meals
or to relax; while the bath provides a private sanctuary where
comfort takes on increased importance. However, cutting-edge style,
long-term resale value and colors that complement current trends
are also important in kitchen and bath design. For this reason,
color, as much as layout and amenities, becomes an important part
of the design process.
So, what’s on the horizon for color trends?
If there’s one major trend, it’s that consumers definitely have
the blues, and are expected to continue experiencing a passion for
this soothing yet invigorating color choice. In fact, all manner of
blues are standout choices for the future, according to a recently
published report by Color Marketing Group (CMG), an international,
not-for-profit association of more than 1,700 color and design
professionals who identify and forecast color trends.
“Whether safe and grounded, watery or atmospheric, Forecast
Blues invigorate and enliven while providing steadfast assurance
and stability during cloudy economic times,” states the report.
“This is what will influence color in consumer industries for
Participants in the workshop agreed that the ailing economy is
the key influence on the 2003 Consumer Color Directions Palette.
While blues of the past were viewed as the softer hues of a subdued
era, the new “full chroma hues can lift the spirits and provoke our
senses,” comments Barbara Lazarow, CMG, Co-Chairman, Consumer Color
Direction Committee, Blonder Wall Coverings, Cleveland, OH. “For
color, we look to the prosperous times of the ’20s and ’60s, and to
the glamour of the ’30s and ’40s.”
In today’s fast-paced, electronics-based world, special color
effects and silver metallics are also at the forefront of color
choices, especially when paired with gold or white. While metallics
may be too dramatic to take center stage in home design, touches of
metallics may be increasingly evident in the kitchen, adding energy
More than 600 members of CMG met to discuss short- and long-range
color forecasts for manufactured products. Workshop participants
chose a Forecast Palette of 21 colors that they expect to be on the
scene by 2003, up from the 16 color choices of last year. In
addition to the wide range of blues, other hues that are expected
to emerge are romantic pinks, revved up brights, shimmers and
Among the pinks are shades such as Currant, Pinkle, Sweetheart
and Cheeky. Currant appears as a brown violet; Pinkle is an aged
Pink that is non-gender specific and reminiscent of vintage velvets
perfect for an old fashioned bath hideaway. Sweetheart emerges as a
vintage red on the blue side, with lighter values translating to
fashionable pinks. The mix of pink and peach in Cheeky “recalls the
blushing bride of the Art Deco era,” the report notes.
Featured in the brights are Red Satin, a revved-up red, and Iron
Ore-ange, a copper-on-orange hue that takes a more vibrant slant on
the trend toward natural colors, so commonly seen in the
Metallics have been seen as accent notes in the kitchen in
recent years, and shimmering into the future are such colors as
Lemon Meringue and Shimma. “Silver flirts with gold in this
confection reminiscent of the Great Gatsby and vintage roadsters,”
CMG notes. The pearlized metallic of Shimma features gold flake in
the mix. Lion King, also part of the metallic palette, in a shade
of regal gold.
Also in the glittering family are two intense metallic shades.
The combination of burnished gold, pewter and silver gives Gargoyle
its edge. For Silger, the idea is a different type of combination
gold overlay on silver.
The wide range of blues and greens on tap will be influenced by
nature and technology. Three greens Exploring Khaki, Frond and Soda
Green give consumers an array of choices. The safari green of
Exploring Khaki “recalls rain forest moss,” according to CMG, while
Soda Green takes on a more soothing tone that offers serenity with
a touch of effervescence. Frond is a tropical green that gets an
extra bit of energy in natural chroma.
Blue gets a techno touch in Cinder Blue, where silver lights a
mechanical blue, bringing it toward the gray family, and Blue Aire,
“where technology melts retro blue.” Ocean Cruise gets a tropical
twist “while technology adds a sporty edge,” while Deep Arctic
offers the dusty navy tone of a safe harbor.
Neutrals for 2003 are anything but safe and boring. The
copper-base of Root Beer gives this brown its pop, as silver and
gold blend with Art Deco glamour in Champagne Bubble. The softened
matte gray of Newtral offers a lower contrast alternative to dark
and white combinations, taking its cue from the shades of bisque
ware, unglazed ceramics and raw plaster.
CMG has also determined what color trends it expects to see in the
nearer future, specifically next year. “Color is morphing, blending
and overlapping in consumer markets for 2002,” the group
“Colors are becoming more complex and sophisticated and are
incorporating a variety of special effects including pearlescence
and metallics, along with the dimension of transparency and
translucency,” comments Jay de Sibour, president, CMG and a
marketing consultant in Kenvil, NJ.
Indeed, translucency already gaining interest in the bath with
the rise in popularity of products that offer translucent
properties is expected to be a growing trend.
In keeping with the popularity of metallics, metal or
metal-looking finishes are prevalent, “inspired by the earth’s
minerals or metals,” states CMG. Copper is especially trendy,
something that’s expected to be more evident in the kitchen, where
copper tones have made a greater splash recently.
Nature, too, remains a strong influence from the exotic to
camouflage. Wood and faux wood finishes, considered special
effects, are also enabling people to connect with nature, and will
be evident throughout the home.
The desire to escape from it all and be enveloped by comforting
surroundings is being matched by the need to remain in the center
of an ever-advancing world. The combination of these dynamic
parallels makes for exciting design possibilities, in the kitchen
and bath, and throughout the home.