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February 2007


REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

Over the Rainbow
by Stephen Henderson
Photograph by Carlos Domench, courtesy of Bulfinch Press

2007'S SIZZLING NEW COLORS ARE GETTING WARMER, MAYBE EVEN HOT

[Image]

The neutral palette's tepid tyranny over décor is officially over, and a luminous rainbow is appearing on the horizon. Sand? It has blown away. Khaki? On the march. And beige—be gone!

This consensus was reached in recent conversations with a variety of interior designers, marketers of fabrics and paint, and professional color forecasters. While the design market has been dominated by a cool palette for quite a long time, they all agreed it is headed into a warmer, even hot phase. What's new, what's now, are strong colors like "Hermès" orange, red, fuchsia, yellow and vivid greens, including lime and kelly. Oh, and brown is the new black.

"We are moving out of this horrible 'beige period,' which represented a withdrawal and an inability to make decisions," says Malcolm Cooper, creative director at Blue Mountain, North America's largest manufacturer and distributor of residential wallcoverings. "There seems to be a new confidence today, so that consumers are shifting from muddier shades into cleaner and fresher colors."

Donna May Woods, design director for Brunschwig & Fils agrees, though she suggests, "There's more at stake here than that it would be fun to have pink on a sofa."

Woods is a strong believer that palettes go in cycles. "There is a reason why particular colors become popular during different socioeconomic periods in history.

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