Browsing Color Trends Category

Tips for selecting the best neutral for your home

Filed under: Blog,Color Trends,Monochromatic palette,Tips — Barbara Jacobs @ 7:15 am

What is “Neutral,” anyway?
A multi-use color that is complementary in many settings. Many colors can be made serve this purpose. They don’t have to be taupe, beige, or gray. Depending on the look you want, even vivid or highly contrasting colors will make a harmonious statement.

The key is balance. Warm, cool, light, dark, saturated, pale…you have an entire spectrum to choose from.

What to look for in a ‘mutable neutral?’  That will be a color that functions as a neutral but actually looks very color-rich.  One way to discern the colors that will be most flexible in your surroundings is to look for colors that will create the most comfortable background. Colors that are more “complex,” having multiple tints in their paint mix formula, typically fit this requirement.Using Full Spectrum Paints is one sure way to gain this effect.

Full Spectrum Neutrals

A few neutrals that are full spectrum colors: no black or gray in the mix!

Have you heard the terms “Clear” colors; or, “Dirty” palette, and wondered what that means?
Simply put, “dirty” is not a negative word! In the world of color it refers to a more grayed, complex combination of hues that look ‘toned down.’
“Clear” colors are usually more crisp, bright, even sometimes brilliant.

paint fandeck
Colors that work as “neutral” can be of either type; their function is typically to provide a unifying background, to “neutralize” potential discord created by excessive contrast or pattern. In creating comfortable living spaces, the goal is to have a dynamic balance between neutral and accent. This is possible even in a more “tonal” environment where colors are within a particular color family or range of brightness, as in ‘tones or shades’ of a certain

type of color. Usually this means something in an earthy palette but technically “tonal” can mean any relatively monochromatic palette.

EcoHues Fieldstone-and-Pewter

Neutrals in various hues.

Introducing textures can provide the dynamic interest and prevent monotony where a more ‘tonal’ palette is preferred.

With the current trend for using one color–even a white or gray–through the home, you can still keep it interesting with finishes; for example, flat on the wall and ceiling and the same color in a semigloss or even gloss finish on the trim.

So, think big in the sense of looking at your space from a wide view. It’s not just about deciding what color to paint a wall to be “neutral.” Look at the elements of harmony for a dynamically neutral result.



What more is there to say about color?

Filed under: Blog,Color Trends,Design Trends,Psychology of Color,Your Color Questions — Barbara Jacobs @ 9:28 pm

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post here. “Been So Busy…” is what people often say. I guess it’s true that I have ‘been busy.’ But here’s the thing. So much to think about color, so much to say, so little time, and so forth.

I just decided to Ask! What would you like to hear about?
It could be one of these topics but feel free to add your own requests!

  • Interior color ideas?
  • Exterior color ideas?
  • Paint or other materials?
  • Color Theory?
  • Client questions?
  • Full Spectrum Paint color questions?
  • Coordinating paint and furnishings?
  • What is supportive color?
  • Applied color psychology?
    …and more?

My own list of potential posts is much longer than that of course, but sometimes it’s also good to ask for suggestions.

Let me know, and let’s share some color stories and tips.

New England Peaches

Yes, it’s a bowl of peaches!

Just the image to inspire a dramatic “Fall” palette for interior and exterior house colors.
Take your pick, and make the most of how you use them.
Warning: A little bit goes a long way!

Meanwhile, enjoy the end of Summer. I know I will.

What’s here to stay, and here to change? Color Trends. Period.

Color trends? Here, to stay… and here, to change.
It’s that time again, Color Trends are all over the place! Most recently, Pantone reports “Emerald Green” as the latest thing. Green is what I call an “available” color, since because it’s right in the middle of the light-wave spectrum it’s a color most comfortably viewed in many instances. It’s mutable and earthy; inspiring of new life, growth, and positive direction. As a paint color, “green” can be flexible in interiors and can be used in many settings.

Pantone ENERGIZE greens

The Pantone “Energize” green palette

Small World, Indeed
While I don’t have an “emerald green” in the palette, I’ve been delighted to see that many of my own EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint colors  seem to have aligned with some trend colors over the past year. These are from Pantone:

Pantonep palette Nonchalance

What’s my own personal opinion?
While I don’t really have one personal favorite color, I do have a definite point of view. As an architectural color consultant, paint palette designer and rug designer, my viewpoint is threefold.

My own primary, professional focus as a color consultant is a strong belief in supportive color design. Foremost is function, coupled with aesthetics and, in the homes of individual clients, personal color preferences naturally have a role as well.

Where function is concerned, color trends are interesting—and of course they are an indicator of products we’ll be seeing going forward. However using a ‘trendy’ color as a selection simply because it’s “hot” or popular does not serve either my client or myself as the consultant. I always take note of trends but no decision or recommendation I’d ever make is trend-driven.

As a paint palette designer, I’ve created the EcoHues line of Full Spectrum Paints as a 32-color curated palette that serves a variety of purposes. Because each of our colors has no black or gray—even in our muted ‘neutrals’ or most highly saturated colors—they are easy to decorate with. So, many “trend” colors can create interesting harmonies with these richly-colored full spectrum paints as part of a design plan.

In creating the palette style and the actual colors, I’ve been influenced by client requests in both commercial and residential settings.  That request is usually in the form of an expressed feeling. The client desires a particular kind of experience.  A typical kind of request is, for example, “I want a relaxing space, a happy, energizing space, and also something that will complement my furnishings.” So, with that as the impetus, the EcoHues palette includes pale to deep stony neutrals; underwater blues; luminous, ethereal sun-filled yellows; antique-flavored greens; bright blues, and richly warm reds and browns evoking exotic sources.

How do these fit into upcoming trends?
While I agree with others that we’re influenced by the economy and world events, what I see as important in general is something that’s been happening for a while now:  a resurgence in health and well-being beyond today’s blood pressure. Certainly, the deeper aspect of the experiences that we all desire in our color environments is well beyond the transitory nature of “what’s hot” right now or even for the near future.

A quick color trend note
In the world of color and design—in what appeals to us at the deepest level and that will endure well past this year’s colors—is a reference to organic plant and earth sources, natural materials, and textures. As the world becomes culturally smaller and smaller, international flavors will continue in an ongoing appreciation of solid, earthy tones and textures; warm, natural pigment-inspired colors like rusty oranges, paprika and cinnabar reds; brighter, rich hues like Hydrangea and Phoenix Blue, and the deep tones of Mulberry, Nomad and plum.

More EcoHues colors are represented here, too
Pantone palette Resiliance

Cultural blending has, in fact, been well underway for some time and will continue to evolve into new and exciting preferences in color combinations and styles. And, in any space or product, surface sheen and texture are important and often dictate a color’s appearance and therefore contribute to our color preferences and uses.

Third: Home decor follows fashion
As a rug designer, I incorporate color from an instinctive perspective, starting with what feels right to me from the artistic standpoint. That said, I can of course change colors in any way to suit individuals’ requests. It surprises me sometimes that many of the colors I initially use in my rug designs do show up in a future trend forecast. That is always interesting, and just demonstrates once again that color is universal—and cyclical.

Pantone "Heritage" palette

Pantone’s new greens in the Heritage palette can be flexible.

My basic belief doesn’t just “belong” to me.
It’s much broader than any individual, and does not depend on color trends at all.
As humans—without regard to “trends”—we all crave color in myriad varieties of light and bright, muted yet clean, and deep, rich, and dark. It’s all about proportion, balance, and use. I see color trends as something interesting and cyclical, worth observing, with variations in each re-occurrence of a particular color.

Are you Into Color Trends for your own home, or your business, or just for fun? Visit these places for more inspiration:

Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum Paints
Kate Smith, of Sensational Color
Color Marketing Group: Where Trends are Defined
Pantone: a great resource for color information and products

Change is dynamic. That’s the fascination that keeps us coming back for more! What’s Your “take” on the trends?

A Maslow-Inspired Thanksgiving Color Palette

What are the colors of Thanksgiving?
So much more than paint, decorating, or  “trend palettes.”
I wanted to offer some color-reflections for the holiday season, and beyond.

Maslow's Hierarchy - reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

What’s important?
Please share your own inspirations and color-reflections!

Asking the right questions

How to listen: Take a tip from Joseph Albers
Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”

Among the many “what’s the first step” items in the process of a new client-relationship, asking the right questions is at the top of my list.

Of course this also goes for any project, even with people we think we know, since each project carries its own set of circumstances. That’s why I love the above statement by Josef Albers.

Warming up with Red Clay from EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint

While creatively problem-solving, opportunities to learn—and to teach—abound in every project

  • Help clients discover their own personal design styles
  • Introduce new concepts and ideas
  • Interact with clients in an authentic way
EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint - Atlantis and Blue Grotto

“Atlantis,” an EcoHues Full Spectrum color, is on the back wall of dining area and continues into the foyer that is visible from the dining room.


Soft full spectrum colors, kitchen view into family room

Rich soft colors enhance—and subtly define—three connected spaces, with 3 different close colors.

One example, from a client’s note to me
“…you helped take the confusion out of color selection process and opened up our eyes to color choices we never would have thought of using.  We appreciated how easy it was to work with you, and how carefully you listened to our wants and needs.”

It just takes practice!
As artists and designers, it’s so easy to become excited about a project and about our own approach and inspirations. The practice is in listening, and advising while not imposing our personal preferences. It’s really all about the goal for every client.

I’d love to listen. What is your story?

National Painting Week

Filed under: Blog,Color Trends,Design Trends,Tips — Tags: , , , — Barbara Jacobs @ 5:17 pm

Did you know it’s National Painting Week? 

That’s the story, right from Sherwin Williams Paints.

It’s a great idea, and on their site they offer a number of useful tips that you will find both accessible and easy to do. Perfect for busy people who want to make a big change.

The simple tips they offer are so practical that it’s a great reminder of how easy it is to make a big change with paint.

Among the tips they have put together in a short video:

  • Changing cabinet hardware for a  new look
  • Update light fixtures
  • Painting an easy, creative decorating project like picture frames, a tabletop, or a small piece of furniture
  • Painting an accent wall or ceiling
  • Landscaping suggestions
  • Taking care of exteriors

It’s true that Spring can be just the beginning of an intensive home-decorating and fixup season. Don’t be overwhelmed! Contact me with your request for help on a project of any size. In addition to basic consultation services, our new DesignerColorPalettes  service offers a variety of ways I can help with “virtual painting” of interior colors, and also larger painting projects such as your home’s exterior. Read some comments at our Client Testimonials page.



Fashion in Colors

Fashion in Colors (Paperback)

By (author): Paul Warwick Thompson, Yoshikata Tsukamoto, Barbara Bloemink

Color is Life " Wrote the Bauhaus Theorist Johannes Itten,and this is Certainly holds true in the words of fashion and design.

The spectrum of color: content, interest, application, social meanings, trends, materials (to name just a few) naturally includes textile design and fashion. Even if we’re not “fashionistas” (one of those questionable words that somehow actually means something), “Fashion” is in our lives.

Fashion in Colors - the book

Book cover: Fashion in COLORS

Might as well enjoy it!  And to do so, check out Fashion in COLORS, published for the exhibition, “Fashion in Colors,” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at the Smithsonian Institute, 2005-2006, curated by Akiko Fukai.

According to the inside cover, the origin of the book was the original exhibition organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute, that was shown at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, 2004.

One unique aspect of this book is in the presentation. Sections on artists, designers, and color families make it a unique exploration of color and design. Works by the iconic designers whose names you will recognize are fascinating and the photography is simply astounding. It’s a complete immersion in color, shape, texture, textile design, and information.

List Price: $45.00 USD
New From: $35.00 USD In Stock
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Color on the brain

We’re always looking at color, and talking about color. Somtimes, we’re even applying color. And, in between, we’re seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and thinking about color.

We don’t even have to be “color-obsessed…,” we just have to be what we are. Human.

We forget from time to time that “color” does not even exist on its own, except where there is light and we are able to recognize it. Then, we assign an identity to what we call the color that we’ve seen. Often we make the understandable mistake of thinking that, while color does matter (and it matters a lot) in so many ways, it is not Really “matter.”  It’s only Perception.

But what a subject! Endless, and so complex. When the ‘buzz words’ about color— from trends to color psychology— are tossed around so glibly, this will give pause to think a bit more about the depth of this vast subject.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to share this video with you. I hope you will share your thoughts after you’ve seen it.

Behind the increasing cost of paint

Here we go again, in Paint as many industries and products.
Yes, prices are going up—again. It used to be that paint was, well, “Cheap!” We always would say, hey, it’s the best way to get the most change for the least money spent.  Big change for small change, so to speak. Whether you’re “into paint” or just buying paint again after a long time away from your paint store, now you might be surprised at the current prices and the projected trend in this direction.

What is the story about the paint price increases? It’s not just for a few “premium” companies, but apparently all across the spectrum of brands, quality and price points.
paint fandeck

What’s in that can of paint?
Basically, all paint colors are made up of tinted bases. In sheens from flat to high gloss, the base material is a combination of materials, but this story is about, essentially,  “titanium dioxide.” That’s what makes the the paint color white, in the can, before adding tints to make Your colors. So, when the cost of that material goes up, so goes the price of paint.

If you’re into the economy of science–or the bottom line on why paint products are continuing to get more expensive– you might enjoy this article.

EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint - Pacific Mist

Boston condo – EcoHues Full Spectrum : Blue Grotto.  Making the most of a can of paint with a minimum of 7 tints in Every color—and not a drop of black or gray.

But OK, I will still say it—Paint is the way to go.  All the more reason why we want to really carefully consider what colors we’re using, and paying for.  And, all the more reason to make the most of the paint we are using—and enjoying.

Indigo Textiles-Technique and History, by Gosta Sandberg

A fascinating historical survey and practical application of the oldest natural dye in use today: indigo. Visit cultures that have used this wonderful dye and learn the chemistry of the dyeing process. Meet artisans from around the world and discover their techniques. Filled with recipes, tips, suggestions, projects. 184 pages (44 in color), 80 b/w illus., 6 5/8 x 9 3/8.

Seriously, I had no idea when I wrote the recent post about Mood-Indigo that this color was going to be such a big thing!  In West Elm, Crate and Barrel, and even Home Accents Today, all have some mention of this mysteriously beautiful and infinitely variable color and dye.

Dare I predict…(even without a crystal ball) that we’ll be seeing a lot more of this very old dye color in mainstream decor, and not just in denim.

INdigo Textiles TEchnique and History

Right here, enough to get started, with numerous great pictures.


So, to hearken back to my long-time fascination with traditional surface design techniques and materials, I found this on my bookshelf.

Dyeing to Try?
For those of you who might take your interest in Indigo to the next level, I encourage you to check out this little volume. You have the instructions Right Here, to do your own Indigo dye work.

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $58.10 USD In Stock
Used from: $13.17 USD In Stock

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