Colorful story

Honeysuckle. It’s bright. It’s optimistic. It’s fun. No matter how versatile the color is, looking at the world through rose-colored glasses makes it a fairly one-dimensional place.

Colors, whether for your home or wardrobe, are often how people define themselves — or at the very least, express themselves.

“Color can create a sense of calm and warmth or exude excitement and movement. It’s all about personal preference,” said Leslie Parraguirre of Colours Inc., a Las Vegas interior design firm. “The best way to incorporate color in your home is through items that can be changed easily over time. Paint is so sensible and fun. Leave all the doors and casings in a neutral color and change the color of the walls.”

Parraguirre sees the year bringing neutrals to the forefront, coupled with a consciousness for sustainable products. For example, she said brown will be ever present, but it will be a more modern version layered in taupes and “greige” (gray-beige) tones such as cocoa, mocha and weathered bark hues.

She also sees yellow on the horizon, but it, too, will be “weathered and feel like soft sunshine,” and woods moving from weathered oaks to deep espresso and walnut shades.

Paint manufacturers predict that colors expressing hope and optimism will be big in 2011, along with those that reflect individual style and tastes.

Dunn-Edwards expects to see colors that reflect hope, mysticism and balance. Palettes will span the gamut from neutral chic to vibrant splashes to deep smoky hazes with shimmering accents.

“Overall, 2011 signals a departure from the pessimism of the previous year. This is an exciting time for color, with endless possibilities and combinations,” the company writes as it introduces it’s four color palettes for the year: Simply Classic, Simply Rhythmic, Simply Rejuvenating and Simply Fantastic.

Simply Classic takes well-known hues and updates them in softer tones. Simply Rhythmic represents the landscape and culture of the Southwest in bright, vibrant colors. Simply Rejuvenating pays homage to the environment and healing properties of nature’s own colors. Simply Fantastic counterbalances the seriousness of today’s world with colors that blur the distinction between reality and mythology and Gothic interpretation.

Sherwin-Williams also created four color palettes for 2011: Purely Refined, Bold Invention, Restless Nomad and Gentle Medley.

Like a tailored suit, the Purely Refined palette is an elegant take on timeless hues in which every perceived imperfection serves a purpose. Muted blues, lilacs, greens and grays interweave with understated neutrals to give this palette life.

“When we look at what luxury truly means to us now, people are seeing beyond the glitter and glitz that saturated our culture for so long,” said Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for the firm. “This palette whispers upscale in an effortless manner and looks chic when paired with layers of chunky, organic textiles and subtle details.”

The Bold Invention palette encourages us to play with street colors, looking to anything from graffiti art to 3-D animation for inspiration. Vivid greens and intense turquoises and blues dominate the palette, while a pop of red and unexpected neutrals balance it out.

Cultures of the world permeate Restless Nomad. The palette runs the gamut, wandering from dusky darks to hot vibrant pinks and reds to earthy, food-influenced hues that evoke eggplants and cabbages.

Gentle Medley represents an eclectic mix of maps, vintage florals and butterfly, dragonfly and leaf motifs. Earthy neutral tans combine with freshwater blue, mint green, copper and chartreuse pastels to give any space an airy, yet grounded quality. They are accented with safari greens and browns for depth.

“Hard times call for soft colors,” Jordan said. “People are romantic about the simpler times of youth and its refreshing honesty. Because of it, we are seeing people drawn toward hues that are nostalgic, such as the colors of tinted photography and faded maps.”

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