A friend of mine who is a realtor often gets asked by her clients what the latest color trends are. Good question, but in regards to architecture and interiors, it is pretty hard to answer in a satisfactory way. On a scale as large as buildings (both size-wise and from the aspect of economics) , trends tend to yield to timelessness. Perhaps timelessness could be a trend? As a marketing tool, it is far easier to decide on this year’s car colors or fashion accessories than it is to regulate for architecture and interior design, so I hesitate to state that one color is necessarily more “in” than another. Color is such a personal thing! In addition, it is an elusive animal that is very hard to pin down. If you corner me into stating anything of the sort, I will say that for a while now, keeping it neutral with eye-popping accents has been the mantra of the industry. As far as popular accents for the last couple of years, a quick look around will tell you that the 80‘s are back – at least partially, with a 21st century twist. While you can generally say that gray is the new beige, purples, burgundies and yellows in combination with grays are “hot” for the moment, however, the emphasis is more on textures and patterns than on actual colors.
It’s important to understand that color trends as far as interior design and architecture go, are by necessity open-ended and rather unspecific. The reason is an ever present optical phenomenon called metamerism, which causes color to appear constantly changing depending on factors like light quality, surrounding colors, distance, texture, scale and proportion. That, and the fact that the human eye can perceive an estimated 10 million colors, makes it impossible to be any more specific than vague statements like “muted blues”, or “earthy reds”. Seriously, 10 million colors divided by ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet – i.e. the colors of the rainbow) will give you in the neighborhood of 4-500,000 possible “muted blues”. That’s a lot!
Color is light, and light is energy. The scientific fact that color triggers actual physiological changes in our bodies as it enters through the optic nerve – whether we are seeing or blind – is referred to as chromodynamics. Proper use of color can control behavior and emotional well-being, modulate space and manipulate minds. It is also by far the most economical way to change the immediate feel of a space, and it goes a long way in personalizing your home.
When used correctly, color can be the great equalizer, so when choosing colors for your new home it always pays to look at the surroundings. How is your house affected by the colors of the neighboring buildings? What color is the roof? What is the visual impact of that gigantic tree in the front yard? Is there a part of the house you’d rather not call attention to? These kinds of questions will steer you in the right direction for your final selection and help you avoid the dreaded “one-liner” – i.e the color that gets on your nerves in a month or two.
On the interior, the process is similar. Do you have a favorite painting that you want to use as a focal point? Does that corridor seem awfully tall and narrow? Are you planning to keep that fireplace surround? How much natural light is there? What colors enhance your furniture? Once you have made these decisions, you are much closer to a working palette. More importantly, taking all these things into consideration will almost guarantee that your space will pull together as a whole and present a fresh, cohesive look that will reflect an outward glimpse of your personality. That timeless statement of making your home your castle is in itself worth much more than any predetermined trend can even come close to, and it will ensure your peace of mind and comfort for years to come. And that’s what you wanted in the first place, isn’t it?