Since consumers have become increasingly more educated about design, and they now fear color considerably less, color beyond mere accents has been steadily gaining ground in the kitchen and bath. And the future for kitchens and baths is alive with more daring color choices than ever, it seems.
“At the turn of the century, colors and design were going very modern and contemporary. After 9/11 there was a turn back toward the more familiar, warmer, traditional, Tuscan and Old World looks and colors. Now, we are heading toward modern/contemporary, but mixing it with colors and styles that recall simpler times as we walk the line of technology,” observes Belle Smith, CKD, CID and architectural representative for Benjamin Moore & Co. in Montvale, NJ. She’s based in Oyster Bay Cove, NY.
This trend is evidenced by the palettes kitchen/bath designers are reporting, the ones the Color Marketing Group (CMG), The Color Association of the U.S. (CAUS), Pantone, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and DuPont Surfaces are all forecasting for 2006-2008, and even at the recent K/BIS, where color was abundant.
Color also reflects other lifestyle trends. For instance, in kitchens and baths, soothing spa blues and more natural greens speak to relaxation and the growing interest in ‘green’ design. Peach and deep orange hues stir nostalgia and excitement. A host of muted blue-tone, burgundy and berry reds add warmth. Browns are fast becoming the new neutral. And the combination of black and white is making a comeback.
“Color is warmer, clearer and brighter than it was in 2005. Oranges, sophisticated reds and browns dominate the palette, with yellow influencing all colors. In 2006 we’re seeing beautiful combinations of browns, aquas and yellow-based greens, as well as reds and browns mixed with whites in patterning,” notes Melanie C. Wood, past president of CMG, design consultant and owner of Melanie Wood Designs, Inc. in Knoxville, TN.
“Right now, the overall direction of color continues to be inspired by the natural environment,” believes Ginguei Ebnesajjad, director of product styling and development for DuPont Surfaces in Wilmington, DE. “Greens have become a classic in American homes. The novelty is the polarization of the range of greens. The warm greens – i.e., yellowed green – have been popular in fashion and are making their way into homes, while the cooler greens – or green-blues – are gaining momentum as accents to the warm color scheme most popular in home interiors today.”
Christine Chow, director of membership for CAUS in New York, NY, sees a blending of darker colors with very dark colors, providing a contrast that she feels will be a key trend going forward.
She also agrees with Ebnesajjad’s assessment of green, noting, “Citrus greens like mint and mojito, and glass greens with some subtle shimmer and a lot of clarity and lightness, are gaining ground after having evolved from the sage greens of the 1990s. There are also more true blues, such as cobalt blue and even indigo blue, and less teal blues.”
According to the Sherwin-Williams 2006 Color Trends Forecast, put forth by the Cleveland, OH-based company’s director of color marketing and design, Sheri Thompson, this year’s color focus is on hues that “unite close-to-home comfort with world-view attitude to create a palette rich with potential.” Color families include spa colors, natural hues, a brown palette, a set of opulent shades pulled from Old World tapestries, and shades based on far-off vacation spots.
The New Neutrals
However, just as consumers have gotten more comfortable with applying color to various rooms in the house, they are still opting for more neutral tones in the kitchen and bath. The new cooler shades of white are holding strong in permanent installations such as cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, flooring, tile and countertops.