Kitchens Get Happy with Yellow; Baths Sing the Blues

NEW YORK, NY As consumers have become increasingly more educated about design, their fear of color has diminished. As a result, color beyond mere accents has been steadily gaining ground in kitchens and baths.

And the future for kitchens and baths is alive with more and more daring color choices.

That's according to the latest color forecast from The Color Association of the U.S. (CAUS), based here. Indeed, says CAUS director Margaret Walch, consumers are growing more comfortable with color, as evidenced by some of the hues CAUS is forecasting for 2005.

For instance, shades of yellows and oranges will shine in kitchens, while aqua blues and greens, as well as a range of hot and muted pink tones, will invade the bath.

"In both kitchens and baths, the colors are more vivid, clearer and chromatic than before," says Walch. "I will say that when you walk into a kitchen or a bath with these colors, you will be able to categorize it, that this is a yellow kitchen, or this is an aqua blue bath."

However, the specific brightness of a color choice will vary depending on geographic location and gender. For example, yellows will be brighter in Florida than in Wisconsin because of the climate differences. And, men will tend toward a more masculine, deeper teal aqua tone, while women will generally go for a range of pink hues.

Walch further believes that, in all areas of the kitchen and bath, there will be more color, and not just color on small accents.

Take baths, for instance. "Before, there was an interest in coordination, but now color is being used to define design. Color is being used more on hard surfaces because it's those hard surfaces, such as tile, that are defining how the space is being designed. There's less emphasis on textiles and their color when it comes to designing a space such as a bath," Walch explains.

Singing the blues
Elaborating on the bath, Walch attributes the growing appeal of aqua blues and greens to consumers' fascination with spas.

"You will see a tremendous spa influence in the bath, which translates into a plethora of aqua tones. Whether it's more green or more blue, it's very much the kind of color seen in a spa or resort," states Walch.

As a result, the bath will show more emphasis on the color and effects of water. That's why, going forward, more lavish sinks, particularly vessel sinks, along with more irregularly shaped tubs and larger storage areas, will be popping up along with an increased use of aqua tones in the bath, indicates Walch.

This "spa" or "resort" aqua color will be seen on walls, primarily in tile, and larger areas, she says.

Another hue that will gain more attention in the bath is pink, offers Walch. "The pinks you will see will be influenced by those seen in Mid-Century design, and design from the 1920s and 1930s. They will not be the 'beige-y,' cosmetic pinks," notes Walch.

For the more adventuresome, Walch indicates fuschia will be the color pick in the bath.

Walch also sees a difference in consumer color preferences depending on the type of bath. For example, a powder room may get a punch of fuschia, while a master bath may have more salmon tones. Or, the powder room may be done in a 1950s pink, while a master bath or family bath becomes immersed in aqua greens or blues.

These color differences also underscore the multi-colored design approach Walch sees.

Come on, get happy
The multi-colored design approach will also be seen in kitchens, as Walch predicts, citing yellows and a range of orange accent hues combining to create a modern look full of contrast that borrows from tradition. Russet reds are also a strong contender, she adds.

"We will see kitchens tending toward more 'happy' yellows, rather than beiges, in large areas of the kitchen, such as in flooring and on cabinetry," says Walch. She adds that on walls, yellow tones including green, "citrus-y" yellows will be hot.

A range of oranges, starting with melon hues and ending in terracotta tones, will be applied to small appliances.

Lighter wood flooring, such as birch and maple, will contrast with other rich wood tones, such as mahogany, on cabinetry, she says.

Lastly, stainless steel, as well as pewter and brushed nickel finishes, will also remain a staple in the kitchen, but Walch advises against black "because the color palette is generally getter lighter."