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What's Up Magazine

Color Forecast for 2012

Feb 05, 2012 09:43PM ● By Anonymous
Each year, paint companies and designers unveil their new color palettes. Consumers and home decorators alike anxiously await their selections, while contemplating which rooms they will paint anew or how the announced colors will impact upcoming design projects.

Instead of just thinking about paint and fabric options, however, think about the moods created by these newest color variations, and how you can utilize furnishings and accessories to create your own 2012 palette. This year, while neutrals are always in vogue, gray is at the forefront. Look for gray undertones in many of the 2012 colors.


Wythe Blue, used in this eclectic style dining room, is Benjamin Moore’s top color pick for 2012, citing it as a calming, classic and ideal backdrop.


National Trends

At Benjamin Moore, where they have “been dreaming in color since 1883,” color experts are forecasting that blue will be big in 2012.

“People are in need of a sense of calm, trust, and the tried-and-true,” says a company spokesperson. The company’s top pick for the coming year is Wythe Blue, a blue-green hue with a cool gray cast to it. Another trendy blue that’s on the gray scale is Benjamin Moore’s Montpelier.

Sonu Mathew, ASID, IIDA, and Benjamin Moore’s senior interior designer, states that the blue family is an ideal backdrop for other colors and materials.“It’s an excellent partner to various wood tones, and complements the grays and whites that have become current decorating basics,” she says.

Finally, neutrals, whites, and earthy tones are very much included in the 2012 Benjamin Moore palette. Those envisioned to be strongest this year are browns, grays, and creamy whites. Forecasts by color experts at Sherwin-Williams, a company that was founded in 1866, embrace color families as they focus on the sustainable landscape to create four palettes.

“Pairing colors within the same color family is a dominant trend,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “We discover a fresh array of combinations within color families—be it fiery reds, watery blues, grassy greens, or organic neutrals.”

Once again, blue comes to the forefront with the company’s Blues Not Washed Out palette, a soothing palette that showcases dark indigo and faded-jeans hues, as well as the calm, shimmery shades that reflect rivers, lakes, and seas. The Reds Burn Brightly palette features saturated reds and a gradation of fuchsias, redoranges, violets and delicate pinks. Greens Firmly Planted is described as an eclectic palette that features hues of the sea and forest; leafy motifs; rustic natural textures; and organic elements such as algae, moss, and seaweed.

Finally, Neutrals Provide Balance is more of an understated color palette that showcases grainy golds, warmer pebble grays, weathered wood, and earthen clay. Gold tones warm up the palette. “Steely grays have given way to our neutral palette of warmer gray and natural tones that create a balanced look,” Jordan says.

Pantone’s Predictions

Pantone LLC, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the interior design and paint industries, featured nine color palettes they think will influence color direction in 2012, including their chosen color of the year, Tangerine Tango. In summary, they are Nonchalance, with comforting pastels such as pinks, ethereal blues, and soft egret whites blending with taupe, gray, and grape hues; Subtleties, featuring hazy coral, soft yellow green, faded rose, stonewashed blue, grays, and earthy reds; Indigo Effects includes variations on a blues and indigos contrasted with maroon, mauve, and gray; Transcending Time contains hues of wine and plum, warm beige, and classic rose; Resilience features natural, outdoor shades such as mushroom tones, foliage green, and greenish yellow with a dash of flamingo orange; Back to the Fuchsia is bold and daring, highlighting pinks and purples; Reflections include blues, golds, and silvers; Nouveau Neon shades bring a fresh new perspective to combinations such as yellowgreen and orange, and finally, The Comics include whimsical colors that pop such as yellow, fiery red, green, black, honeysuckle, and inky cyan.


Farm Fresh is one of Benjamin Moore’s newest neutrals.


Our Chesapeake Region Remains Neutral

Locally, interior design experts see their clients use more and more gray, in varying shades, as a neutral—with pops of other color to add drama. One area designer uses a balance of 75 percent neutral and 25 percent color in her clients’ homes. “I have found that when there is a recession people tend to draw in a bit and stay neutral,” she says. Another local interior designer confirms that neutrals remain classic, with the gray tones still prevalent. That same local design firm owner says that greens are leaning to a citron or teal, and blues are deeper, more indigo. She sees reds going to shades of ginger and coral, and the use of neutrals and grays reflecting raw organic materials.

Even those not planning a major makeover can easily add touches of color (such as throw pillows, new lamps, and window treatments) to transform a room. We hope this annual color forecast has inspired you. Remember Those Alluring Accents

Infuse bold colors into your neutral palette by bringing in jewel tones, bright greens, and corals. Or use natural, organic shades to keep your whole look very neutral and calm. The cool look of metal is also showing up everywhere thanks to the chic industrial look sweeping the country. You’ll see drapery, side tables, rugs, and other accents showing up in gunmetal gray, raw silk, wheat, and soft silver hues. Peruse through home décor catalogues and blogs to see what’s showing around the nation. Then, take a walk through local furniture boutiques and showrooms to see what they’ve brought back from market. Buy what you like; what appeals to you, and you can’t go wrong, say our design experts.

Thanks to Interior Concepts, Inc. and Fitzsimmons Design Associates for their input in this article.