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2011/2012 Colour Trends

Whether you are looking for ways to improve your current space, or whether you are sprucing it up in preparation for placing your home on the market, a fresh coat of paint remains one of the easiest and most economical ways to create a comfortable home environment. Colour, which invokes an emotional response in all of us, can be used to set a specific mood, feeling, and even a perceived temperature change in the room.

The 2011/2012 trends that suggest which colours we put on our walls are directly influenced by three major events: Global Economic Recession, Nature Under Threat, and Social Media. With our current recession, we will be seeing more subdued and monochromatic colour schemes emerging due to the need of "finding more silence and space in their lives" as quoted by Pittsburgh Paints and found in their 2010/2011 Harmony Collection brochure. With pressures on our environment, an awareness of sustainability is crucial, and top-quality environmentally-advanced paints have been introduced with increasingly lower levels of volatiles. Social trends indicate that we are a society of single parent households. Wherever the family can unite, we are creating multitasking areas within these spaces to pull family and friends closer. There is a strong need for getting back-to-basics, a need for finding a more simple and better way to live, and last but not least, a need for more involvement within our communities.

2010 is the year for the colour turquoise. Created by combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, it evokes thoughts of escape, soothing tropical waters, and restores our sense of well being. It pairs extremely well with woods finished in warm dark colours such as espresso, mahogany or dark cherry. Even though there is a lack of this lively turquoise in the colour forecasts for 2011 and 2012, this colour is not going away any time soon. What we will be seeing more of though is a very pale version of turquoise called seafoam. It is teaming up with rich golds and warm creams, and is accompanied with mixed metal accessories and fine antique furniture. See Pittsburgh Paint 402-3 Sea Sprite.

Orange is now considered the new "it" colour and ranges from earthy and rich, to hot and vibrant. Fushia is also coming on strong due to the ethnic influences of Morocco and Turkey, and we will be seeing a lot of it through 2012. Pittsburgh Paint 234-6 Salsa Diane pairs well with chocolate, creamy neutrals, mossy greens, and a splash of pumpkin.

Yellows are very popular and they too are becoming brighter. Pittsburgh Paint 212-4, Forsythia Blossom. More blues are on the horizon, and violet is going to become a popular bedroom colour for its soothing qualities. Violet is believed to have medicinal healing qualities and is known for stimulating the immune system, detoxifying the body, and reducing anxiety. I selected a soft violet for a client's guest room several months ago, and both she and her daughter love it. We used Benjamin Moore #1401, but check out the series from #1401, Nosegay to #1407 Mauve Bauhaus; it is a great sequence for showing the different values of the same colour, and any one of them would look great in a room.

The new neutral is gray - not the flat gray of days gone by, but rich in tones that feel warm and organic. Gray walls complement a variety of colours, and gains interest from metallic and pearlescent accents. See Pittsburgh Paint colours: 516-4 Ashen, 517-5 Phoenix Fossil, 515-3 Morocco Sand, 517-4 Gray Stone, and 517-2 Tear Drop.

Sage greens are becoming less popular and the new greens have a stronger yellow undertone, due to the shift towards eco-consciousness. Black and white rooms are boldly being accented with bright reds; and pink, which is gaining momentum these days, won't stop at the bedroom. It is becoming part of the modern girl's living room and kitchen - from cabinetry to appliances. Peach still doesn't show up very often, but don't be surprised to see rosy neutrals come back around again.

Our increased awareness of preservation and sustainability takes us directly back to Frank Lloyd Wright, who produced "the best all-time work of American architecture" - Fallingwater. Pittsburgh Paint has developed a collection of his inspired colours, aptly named Fallingwater that are restful yet vibrant, and by using them, you are truly repainting history.

The Hacienda Influence began in the United States in the seventeenth century when Mexico began to colonize the Southwest, and it has a very strong influence in today's decorating as well. It is a style that is grand in scale, but not overdesigned. Pittsburgh Paint has developed a beautiful line of alluring colours that "reflect the rustic elegance of Mexico's old-world country estates. Called Hacienda Style, it is a gorgeous collection for those that aren't willing to succumb to the safety of monochromatic decorating.

We'll be hearing more about Uber Luxury as people are wanting authentic heart-to-hand constructed artisan pieces....things that have meaning. Antiques are very desirable for the story that they tell. Upcycling - furniture companies are using leftover scraps of fabric to create one-of-a-kind chairs and sofas. High-end lamps and chandeliers are being created out of washed up plastic litter. The motto "It's not garbage until you throw it away" is encouraging people to recycle, enjoy unique pieces, and save the earth at the same time. Wabi Sabi is another term that will become familiar. In plain language it means "beauty in the flaw". Used and worn, found items, and items with imperfections - these can add to an item's character and it tells a story.

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by Cheryl Murphy

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Remember that paint colours and light go hand in hand. Make sure you test out your desired colors both during the day and also at night to ensure that it's what you are looking for. Buy small samples of the colours that you have picked out and paint them onto large poster boards. This way you can move them around the house and see how they interact within the space.

For people who have a hard time determining what paint colours to pick out, there is a wonderful color tool offered online by Pittsburgh Paints. You can go to their site: and under the "For Homeowners" section, click on the "Color Sense Game". Its fun, easy and is even offered in English, Spanish or French. Just answer the questions and it will help to narrow down the colours you are looking for. If you still need assistance, google for designers in Anchorage AK and some should pop up.

Thanks to Curtis and Campbell and sponsored by PPG Pittsburgh Paints, an excellent local seminar was recently held titled "Then and Now" which presented the Colour Trends for 2010/2011. PPG's National Color and Design Consultant, Karolyn R. Spagnolo explained how and why colours emerge, and the influencing factors that keep it changing. Pittsburgh Paint has broken down the new colour trends for the next couple of years into four categories: Canvas, Grace, Zest and Pink City; and each category consists of five paint colours that exemplify that feeling.

The first category "Canvas" was created for people who feel the need to cocoon, and who crave for silence and space in their lives. The impact of 911 is still affecting people's desire to create a safe and quiet environment, and they are further gravitating towards the philosophy of "less is more". Colours are subdued, and warm grays are emerging as the new "neutrals". The colours have a dark soulful feeling, and combined with muted beiges, it convey a calm and quieting spirit. Natural fibers such as linen, cotton and hemp, along with pale bleached woods provide harmony through minimalism.Pittsburg Paints has selected the following five colours for this category: 516-4 Ashen, 415-3 Wheat Sheaf, 515-6 Patches,517-5 Phoenix Fossil, and 315-1 Horseradish. Natural fibers such as linen, cotton, and hemp, along with pale bleached woods provide harmony through minimalism in this colour scheme.

The second trend that is emerging is called Grace and is directly reminiscent of the elegance and refinement of the Grace Kelly era. Clean lined antique furniture is paired with hues that range from a pale butter to deep bronze-golds. The neutrals and whites are creamy and soft, and the fresh accent that adds a touch of nature and freshness is a restful seafoam blue-green. Precious metals, mirrored surfaces, shimmering silks, and refined furniture add up to a subdued and traditional sophistication. The colors that best represent this feeling are: 402-3 Sea Sprite, 214-7 Mecca Gold, 515-3 Morocco Sand, 213-3 Cornmeal, and 115-1 Combed Cotton.

The third category is called Zest and feels playful, spirited and sassy. High energy yellows and pure whites combine with grays and a sleek black to create a fun loving style reminiscent of Palm Springs circa 1950. The Zest palette is for those who are not afraid of making a bold statement. Geometric forms, quirky shapes, transparent furniture, lacquer and high gloss objects all add up to an invigorating atmosphere. Pittsburgh colours best representing Zest consist of: 212-4 Forsythia Blossom, 517-4 Gray Stone, 520-7 Dark Granite, 517-2 Tear Drop and 520-1 Gypsum.

The last category called Pink City is exotic, mysterious, eclectic and sensual. Named after the Pink City of Jaipur in India, this palette vibrates with the pulse of life and the spirit of adventure. It contains the allure of warm, saturated colours and speaks of travel and self-discovery. Vibrant and profound, this theme combines a deep Indian pink with rusty orange, a soft linen white, a rich brown fudge and an earthy yellow/green to give an ethnic, modern and sophisticated feeling. Crushed velvet, leather, chenille, intricate fabrics, dark woods, rattan and tortoise shell combine to achieve the Pink City design. Its colours are comprised of: 234-6 Salsa Diane, 525-7 Fudge, 226-7 Pumpkin Bar, 414-2 Southern Breeze, and 419-5 Cobblestone.

Pittsburgh Paint is sold exclusively at Curtis and Campbell which is located at 6239 B Street, 561-6011. They have great people working there, both in the design and product areas, as well as in the paint area. The fellows at the paint counter have excellent product knowledge, and what's even better is that they understand colour like no one else in town!

Pittsburgh Paint, founded in 1883 serves customers globally, with sales in 2009 at $12.2 billion. They have an excellent product line which meets and exceeds GREEN requirements, and they also know colour. Their colours are on 4 out of 5 cars on the road today, and even the space shuttle wears a Pittsburgh colour!

It's always fun to hear about colour forecasts and maybe introduce some of them into our lives, but the most important thing I tell my clients is to let your own taste and lifestyle dictate how you create your space. Above all else, let your home be a reflection of you.

- Cheryl Murphy

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