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HomeSource - Color is a key to forming a personal style

December 03, 2005|By CHRISTINE BRUN

One of the best ways to turn your home into a real refuge from the rest of the world at the same time you make a personal statement about yourself and your family is color. If you relish the exotic and the thought of a spicy red curry instantly transports you to India, why not stimulate your imagination and capture that feeling in the hues with which you surround yourself.

A small home can benefit enormously by using the correct colors. The perfect shade can completely change the way you feel about a room, but finding it might not be easy.

Each year the Color Marketing and Design Department at the Sherwin-Williams paint company monitors the currents and crosscurrents of color preference in order to forecast trends for the coming year.

"One year often flows into the next," says director Sheri Thompson, as a change in popular color might just mean a deepening of a hue here or an injection of a little difference there. There is not an overnight shift from "right" to "wrong," but there can noticeable mood changes that indicate a preference for one color over another.

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With its introduction of a collection called Natural Living, Sherwin-Williams says that orange is definitely here to stay. And according to Michelle Lamb, senior editor of The Trend Curve, which forecasts trends in color and design for home furnishings, "Everyone said orange wouldn't sell, and they were flat-out wrong."

Orange can take on the earthy range of an Aztec clay pot, harvest pumpkins or turning leaves and lend a feeling of warmth and coziness to a room. The Natural Living group of colors also includes Mocha, a friendly brown; the windy ocean colors of Candid Blue and Jargon Jade; deep Indigo; and a delicious Arresting Auburn.

For bedrooms and bathrooms, a palette of Relaxed Retreat unfolds with just-off-the-clothesline freshness in colors that seem as if a warm breeze could blow right through them.

"Playing clean and warm blues off each other is directional," says Lamb. "This palette has a variety of values and personalities. It doesn't go into deep colors but becomes more saturated. Some colors look luminescent. This collection illustrates the fresh way color is being used today. It's much more interesting than color has ever been in the 21 years I've been forecasting."

Dancing Green, Ravishing Coral, Jacaranda and Peach Fuzz bring to mind spas, villas and luxury hotels. Consider a little bathroom with awning stripes painted in Cooled Blue, a clear aqua, coupled with Lucent Yellow, which is a soft greenish/gold.

The only thing harder than describing colors with words is finding exactly the ideal shade. Do your homework first, take your time and don't settle for anything less than exactly what you want.

Buy a quart of each color that seems to be a possibility for your room. Take them home and test each in several spots. Evaluate the effect several times throughout the day in both natural and artificial light.

Your effort will be rewarded in that you'll feel like you've taken a vacation to a beautiful place. The only difference is that painting is much less expensive and you'll still be safe and sound at home.

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