Warm colors convey comfort

Earth tones welcomed in homes

Earth tones welcomed in homes

October 14, 2007|TIFFANY ARNOLD

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The plain white walls had to go, so Kathy and Peter Tytus replaced them with "comfort colors."

Yellow-gold is now the hue in the family's "morning room." The study is painted dark olive green. The kitchen, a warm red.

"We find it very warm and inviting," said Kathy Tytus, who lives southwest of Greencastle. "It adds so much to a room, even without decoration."

When it comes to interior decorating trends, comfort colors - earth tones, warm red, yellow and orange hues, and muted tones that mimic colors found in nature - are in demand, local designers said.


"(It's) the whole feeling of making the home spa," said Kristi Meehan, sales associate at Randy's Paints and Decorating in Hagerstown.

Meehan has been at the shop for 17 years, handling requests for designers and other clients. She said clients like to contrast those colors with darker accent colors, such as black and chocolate brown.

"Life is very busy," Meehan said. "Typical houses have both partners working. They want to come home to an environment that is relaxing."

Natasha Arnall, an interior designer at Interiors of Maryland in Funkstown, helped the Tytuses choose the paint for their home.

"You go to the paint store and you see all these swatches," Kathy Tytus said. "It's overwhelming."

The family of four moved last April into a new home near Greencastle and eventually got bored with the colorless walls that came with it.

After six months, "enough was enough," Kathy Tytus said.

As the comfort color aesthetic grows more popular among consumers, the "country look" is on the wane.

Arnall said the country look is characterized by hunter green and cranberry, among other colors, or plain white. The look typically called for ornate furnishings and basket accessories. Today's look is more minimalist, calling for cleaner lines and a calmer color scheme, Arnall said.

Cashmere Blue, Pale Green and Papyrus were among last year's top-selling paints for Pantone, a company that specializes in color technology, according to the company's Web site. Neutrals and muted tones were also prevalent in paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore & Co.'s "07Color," which area designers refer to as a color forecaster.

While the designers agree the comfort-color trend will likely have staying power, Jeannine Gift, an interior designer in Hagerstown, said other industry forecasts suggest a bolder, brighter color palette is on the horizon.

Crisp yellows, blues and purples, are examples of the colors to come, Gift said.

But her customers aren't quite ready for that and are sticking with something a little more comfortable.

"They look at it, but they're not sure if they want to live with it," Gift said.

What are the 'it' colors for interior design?

Local designers say "comfort colors" are warm hues or soft muted tones that mimic colors found in nature. Dark colors, such as brown and black, are used as accents. Here are some examples of comfort colors provided by designers:

· Burnt orange

· Spicy red

· Camel-hair brown

· Tan

· Khaki

· Pale green

· Icy blue

· Teal

· Gray

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