How Current Events Affect Color and Decorating
September 18, 2008 § 20 Comments
For the past several years, post 9-11, we’ve cocooned in our homes painting them rich warm cozy colors like dark chocolate and rich rusty red, colors that evoke warmth and safety and home. Lately, we seem to be moving out of that intense color phase and into a new light phase with wall color being the first casualty. But I think we’re seeing more than just a design pendulum swing.
Those of us listening to clients and observing the trends are seeing a design fork in the road. One goes to neutral walls (there are millions of “whites” now) and pops of brightly colored hues, a la 1970s for those around then. One example of that is a spectacular room by HGTV’s color guru David Bromstad shown here.
The other is a move toward a palette of soft sophisticated hues all in very light values and all the same value from room to room. The hues may include grays (very hot this year) but also gray greens, warm beiges, light taupe and lavender, and very soft delicate colors that almost defy description. These breathless tints are paired with lots of white and often dark floors, like the photo below of one of designer Chris Barrett’s fabulous bedrooms.
My theory is that people are craving an uplifting light-filled, relaxed, decidedly happy-looking environment to come home to instead of the cozy dark cocoon look from years past. With everything awful in the news, from hurricanes to the stock market, people need visual relief if that’s all the relief they can get. And creating a light cheerful backdrop for the family may be one of the few things left under our control. And paint is relatively cheap when it comes to redecorating.
Note that in many traditional homes where antiques and fine furnishings are featured and where design trends come and go unnoticed, the wall color has always been creamy beige. Providing a very light neutral backdrop to show off all the wonderful items in the room is a traditional approach that will never go out of style. But for those of us who get inspired by color and who feel color and what it does for us and who change wall color almost as often as we refresh our wardrobes, I’ve had it with dark, at least for now. I need light and I’m off to buy primer. I’ll let you know how it goes.