Starbuck Designers, Inc.

Color Magic

Choosing exactly the right color for our personal spaces can feel like magic. When the color is right, it can energize or soothe and calm to create the feelings that are fitting for the individual. And they can always be updated for today's lifestyle. Classic design is timeless and color can be the "glue" for the binding together of furnishings from various cultures and assorted periods that can create a wonderful, eclectic and unified theme. It's interesting to realize how current color trends influence and affect the purchases we make.

International color marketing groups have the responsibility and power to forecast color trends for the fashion textiles and home furnishings industry. Their choices invariably trickle down to influence what colors are used to produce and market cars, plumbing fixtures, appliances, textiles, and other home furnishings. Remember avocado, copper tone, and harvest gold appliances? Remember mauve and grey office interiors? These trends were at their time very popular, but they often aged and became tired long before items were remodeled or discarded. As a buying public, we want things that look exciting, fresh, and new.

Present color forecast trends include sophisticated neutrals, edgy and earthy gold and citrus colors, warm pastels, a flashback to the 1950s and 1960s rich browns and rustic spicy colors from the open-air marketplace.

While the flow within a home is important, each space should have its own identity and feel. And it is important to remember that it is not just the four walls in every room that have color. The floor and ceiling also offer important opportunities to be considered. Some other considerations:

* Using color (other than white) on the ceiling will accentuate the crown molding.

* Think of color as having temperature. The most successful schemes are balanced where cool colors such as shades of blues, greens, and violets mix with warmer colors of wood, yellow, terra cotta, and reds.

* Rooms which are primarily used at night should flatter the occupants and provide a warm inviting dramatic effect.

* Color may be used as an accent behind built-ins, fireplaces, tray ceilings, and other architectural elements to provide drama and interest and accentuate art and other collections of furnishings.

Don't fall into the trap of making trendy color choices for permanent finish materials that are not likely to be replaced or changed for a long time. Use some of the new colors in ways that won't become a dated fad.

An excellent place to observe the use of rich and unexpected colors is often in an art museum such as the Frist Museum. The gallery walls are often painted in strong-toned colors to showcase a particular exhibit. This is often dramatic and at the same time and it can be invigorating rather than tiring.

Nature has always been a primary inspiration for color theorists. The natural dyed colors in antique tapestries and wool rugs are timeless, livable, and classic. Color, and paint in particular, is the easiest and least expensive way to create magic in a room. The way colors are marketed may be new and different, but the colors of the rainbow, with all their variations, have remained the same since the beginning of time.

©2013 John D. Starbuck, Jr.

[Reprinted from Nashville Arts Magazine.]