Today's "in" colors are happy colors.
Emerald green steps into the spotlight as the color of the year while other jewel tones also reign -- ruby red, amethyst purple, sapphire blue, elegant silver tones, golden yellow colors and exotic corals.
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Today's colors reflect an attitude of "let's start feeling good about things," said Laura O'Connor of Laura O'Connor Design, Carpentersville.
Helen Velas, owner of Eleni Interiors, Naperville, agrees.
"There's such a variety of current colors that are very soothing, comforting, warm -- in general, comfort colors. They're really inviting, and they're classic colors you never get tired of -- berries, blues, warm and buttery yellows, colors that put you in a good mood," she said.
Kay Brennan of Mary Cook & Associates in Chicago likes lilac and indigo (a deep and bright shade of blue). "I just love it," she said. "Sapphire with quince green is also a nice combination.
"We're working on a project now with a palette of indigo blue with rich lilac and crisp pewter gray. It will be fabulous," Brennan said. "Variations of lilac are big, including very rich, bright purples."
It's fun to be blue this year as everything from lighter tones to navy makes an appearance. Peacock blue remains a very favorite color, O'Connor said. "At the (Merchandise) Mart, everyone has a version of blue -- a really pretty royal blue mixed with green is a great look. I love it; it's very pretty."
Blue is calm, soothing, restful, often used in bedrooms. Blue tones with a hint of green lend to a refreshing sense of calm while stem green and quince green reflect a lushness that is hard to resist as one of the colors for your home.
Juicy orange hues such as tangerine tango are still very popular along with the intense pomegranate-raspberry. It's very effective when used in moderation with more subtle colors or mixed with neutrals, O'Connor said.
Dare to use red in your color scheme. Red is fun and energizing and stimulates appetite and activity. It's great for exercise rooms, dining rooms or as an accent color paired with softer colors or neutrals.
Grey is the new neutral or as some say, the new black. "A few years ago it was a warm gray; now it's greige (gray and beige)," O'Connor said.
Shades of gray are used in more than half of kitchens and baths. It's growing in appeal, creating chic, sophisticated spaces that give people a nice neutral to embrace.
Velas likes to use various gray tones such as blue-gray and green-gray with pops of color -- tangerine or pomegranate -- to punch the color scheme up.
Neutrals are always in style, and are sometimes the best choice for big pieces of furniture like sofas or sectionals. Neutrals are easy on the eye and comfortable to live with, and they're easy to re-accessorize as trends change.
"We like to use the bold bright colors in small doses with a range of neutrals -- soft ivories, grays, cream, mushroom, taupe -- to bring a look together. We're finding interesting ways to combine colors," Brennan said.
"When our vendors come in with their fabric books, every color is bright. We also see a lot of geometric patterns and updated florals that are super fresh. We're using tons of color," she said.
Velas also looks at the new fabrics as an indicator of what's going on in the world of color. Chevron, a zigzag pattern, is very popular, and you see it in wallpapers, wood floor patterns and tile.
For an urban look, patterns are more contemporary in bright colors. For urban, suburban, young and old, there's a way to make anyone love today's broad range of colors, Brennan said.
A lot of fabrics and wallpaper patterns take inspiration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East with ethnic motifs and a strong Moroccan influence.
If bold and bright is not your style, use coral or mauve to spice things up a bit. Or think about the sea for inspiration. Popular softer colors include sea foam mint and sea blue-gray, contrasted with yellow and white for a crispy coastal feel, Velas said. "Solid colors that coordinate nicely create a pattern themselves."
All these colors work well with today's home interiors, which are not as ornate and heavy as in the past. It's light and simple. Heavy fabrics are out with the spotlight on lighter linens and silks, especially for windows. People want to let in natural light and enjoy views of the outdoors.
With today's open home designs, colors visually connect spaces for a nice flow and harmony. And with kitchens seamlessly integrated with the rest of the house, floors in the gathering space (kitchen, breakfast area and family room) remain the same so it looks consistent and has the feeling of being connected.
Also look to accessories for self-expression. Accenting a home with color brings excitement to any room and reflects the owner's personality. Simple ideas include draping a soft colorful throw over an armchair or selecting pillows and rugs to bring in pops of color and texture and pull the room together.
Luxurious satin cushions, silk draperies and golden home decorations add charm, warmth and light to luxurious and rich interior colors. Stenciling or painting a mural on the wall is another way to bring creativity and color into a room
What's on the horizon? More intense neutrals may be up and coming -- deep leathery tans, rich olive tones, and even brighter, almost mustardy yellow-tans that create a more vibrant, earthy atmosphere than the lighter neutrals.
So many colors are popular right now that there's something for everyone, Brennan said. "With the brights, there's freshness, a vivaciousness. It invokes happiness. It feels new, and people are really into it right now."