Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Usually it’s the September decorating issue that seduces me into buying a copy of Martha Stewart Living at the news stand (or the grocery store since we don’t really have NY style news stands here). But a cover like this with such a bright cheerful kitchen and the promise of more great kitchens inside? I give in.
But this issue isn’t just about great kitchens. In fact, my husband stole it before I could even sit down! He declared it a great purchase because there are also articles on sandwiches (his favorite food group), and topless terrariums (my new dining room table is quickly being taken over by his growing plant collection).
You know my love of organizing runs deep, and Martha’s does too.
Not only does she have great tips in her classic “Good Things” column, but she also has a multi-page article on creating a room just for her cleaning and organizing supplies! (see below) Holy moly!
I have nice 36″ wide drawers that are perfect for storing pots and baking dishes, but if I had to organize them in a traditional cupboard I like this solution above.
Hanging the cleaning bottles on a tension rod under a sink is brilliant. It looks so tidy plus you get bonus space underneath them if the bar is set high enough.
I won’t make you green with envy by showing the photos of the giant room she has for her “homekeeping” supplies, but I like these detail shots showing how she groups supplies by function. I don’t think I need to stockpile 3 bottles of each of her cleaning line for Home Depot, but the bins work well for grouping smaller collections of similar cleaning supplies. Imagine all your different wood polishing creams and tools in one convenient place for the Saturday you decide it’s time to oil the teak and polish the walnut? Ahh, the joys of organization geeks are endless.
I’m not a knitter, but these knit stool slipcovers are brilliant! I have a pair of plain Bosse bar stools from IKEA from our previous home that I was planning on hacking into counter height stools until I can pick the perfect stools (which of course means I have to decide on chairs for the dining room since they are right next to each other, so this will take a while. See my previous post on the issue for the full story.)
Here’s the Bosse stool. Now look at the examples above. I think I could shorten the legs, paint the ends an accent color and add a nubby knit topper and have a completely reinvented stool for a tiny amount of cash! Too bad I don’t knit. Any volunteers?
As for another kitchen? Well, here’s another sneak peak to entice you…
Isn’t the pop of bright green wallpaper on the back of the open kitchen shelves wonderful? Not only do the colorful dishes stand out against it, but so do their white bowls. The rest of the finishes are classic neutrals, allowing the bright accents to shine. Making a commitment to color this way doesn’t have to be scary. This could easily be updated with another wallpaper or fabric covered panels down the line when you want a new look.
Thank you to the Martha Stewart Living team for another inspiring issue!
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
I realize this is a lengthy and deep post, but I thought some of you might be interested in more details on how color trending happens across multiple design professions. Don’t worry, I promise a lighter post next with more pretty product shots.
As an Interior Designer I attend Color Pulse presentations by Benjamin Moore and Colormix presentations by Sherwin-Williams that elucidate the trend forecasts for the design industries for the next couple of years. But how are these trends determined? Why does a trend appear in products as diverse as Kleenex boxes, dresses, side tables and pillows? Why do cobalt blue and Yves Klein blue seem to appear on everything from dresses and necklaces to dinnerware at the same time? How does the trend message get translated across multiple design professions ranging from product design, fashion design, automobiles, interior furnishings and fabrics, to decorative accessories? And why does it matter for interior designers and homeowners?
Trends are influenced by the quickly moving global influences we are all being exposed to on a daily basis. Clients are exposed to these influences as well, so designers need to be up to date on the latest trends in order to discuss and execute these trends for their clients when requested. Understanding the current color directions is essential for designers in every industry because clients will compromise on form but not color.
Mark Woodman explains that “trends and forecasts are often considered one and the same, but there are some fundamental differences. Trends tend to be evolutionary, as their directional movement is often strongly linked to a prior trend. … In the realm of color, the nuances of a particular hue will evolve within the trend’s time cycle….” For example, gray has become more popular in recent years, but now it is evolving from cool tones to warmer brown-grays and then it will move towards grey with blue in it by the end of 2013.
Above: Belgium Linen drapery fabric options from Restoration Hardware. Warmer brown-grays emerging in color palette options.
Forecasts look ahead to what has not happened yet, but can be anticipated. “Seemingly disparate ideas merge to predict accurate direction in design and color.” For instance, London’s Global Color Research sensed the expected mood of the new economy and the heavy feelings associated with a new world order and formulated the concept of “Ransom” reported in the 2010 issue of Mix magazine as an upcoming trend. Their sources included Hitchcock heroines and film noir, resulting in a palette of deep blue, black and gray for a classic, accessible feel with a touch of foreboding. Looking at the color trends in everything from tile to window treatments, I definitely observed this palette making a strong presence in 2010 and 2011.
Trend trackers in each design field are watching patterns emerge around the globe and condensing the information they take in into key trend messages that they can apply to their industry. The trends they spot are in the formative stage and won’t reach widespread popularity for 2-3 years on average. Since product design such as car color selections and fabrics for furniture are developed years ahead of when they reach the consumer market, this trend forecasting is essential for companies to be on trend when their product is released, rather than being behind the trend curve. For more details on current car colors (which I think I’ve discussed before, ex. copper and orange becoming more popular, see this article.)
So how does an influence evolve into a trend resulting in mass consumer sales? A good example would be Mad Men, the TV series on AMC that first aired in 2007, which grabbed hold of the nation’s collective consciousness. Its influence can be seen in both the resurgence of 1960s curve-hugging lady-like fashions on the runway in recent years, and the shift from 1950s Danish teak mid-century modern furnishings to 1960s influenced trapezoid and other geometric forms in furniture and fabrics. Chrome, ceramics, and etched barware perfect for that drink cart in almost every Mad Men scene are also making a resurgence. Consumers want an escape from the gray reality of the economic downturn, so nostalgia for the space age optimism of the 1960s accounts in part for the rise of this trend.
Above: Note the trapezoid shape in the chair, the mid-century styling of the dresser and the retro influence on all patterns in this new collection from Villa Roma.
So who determines what the next trends will be? Color Marketing Group is an international association for color design professionals who forecast color directions one to three years or more in advance for products and services. They focus on identifying color and design trends and then translating those into salable color options. Their motto is: “Color sells, and the ‘right’ color sells better.” Color forecasters from around the world and different areas of expertise get together semi-annually to develop annual forecasts that are used in industries as diverse as fashion, interior design, transportation, industrial design, graphics, cosmetics and more. The value of this information is seen in the experiences of their members.
The color forecasts prepared separately by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams concisely distills influences from around the globe into several easy to understand trend directions. They utilize images from diverse sources ranging from designs by indigenous populations to scientific imagery to illustrate the patterns and then explain how these influences are being translated into early product designs at the front of the trend curve.
Above: Color Mix 2012 Color Trends illustration (see a larger example at their website)
Trend trackers often consult with companies in multiple design related industries, which in part accounts for trends showing up in different industries at the same time. When a trend starts to connect with consumers in one industry companies in other industries will embrace it as well. Consumers are interested in showing their personalities across all platforms of their lives. One’s car, clothes, jewelry, shoes, kitchen accessories, furniture, house color, and art are all a reflection of personal style. Companies recognize that, and by embracing the trends already gathering steam in another category they are giving consumers the opportunity to show their style in this aspect of their life as well. If a company does not pay attention to the trends they run the risk of losing customer base. For instance, a manufacturer can develop a great washing machine, but if they do not understand the increased importance consumers have placed on the role of the laundry room in their homes and the desire for color on large appliances, their efforts might fall flat. Research and sales have proven over the years to Christine Mau, Associate Director of Packaging Graphics for Kleenex, that “color is just as important as pattern when trying to win the purchase interest of consumers.”
I went to Kleenex’s website and found this fun tool that really illustrates how they think about pattern and color in the context of how the product will be used. You select what type of tissue box you want (ex. auto, wallet, cube) and it shows you the pattern options available. The patterns for boxes meant to be used in a car are primarily tight geometric patterns in metallic shades. In contrast, the patterns for wallet kleenex packets are bright colorful florals designed to visually pop in a packed purse.
Cross marketing relationships between brands further proves the value of understanding the style and trend preferences of a brand’s client base. This is exemplified in a recent four page ad campaign for the Volkswagen 2011 Jetta that showcased clothing, jewelry, make-up, accessories and even a teapot to connect with their desired demographic that appreciates great design, but does not want to spend a lot to achieve the look. The ad copy tells the story.
“We’ve scoured the marketplace for truly great things you can get right now for very good prices. If you’re looking for deals, steals and even great wheels, you’re getting hotter.”
The message is clear that the Jetta is great style for the price of good, just like the high style, reasonably priced items they featured. Here one’s car is meant to be an extension of both one’s personal style and financial priorities.
The inspirations for the next wave of design trends are out there all around us, so keep your eyes and mind open. Then you too can say “I saw that coming.”
Blue color trends compilation from Oprah, March 2011
Drapery color samples from Restoration Hardware
The Birds from IMDB.com
Furniture and fabric product shot from Villa Roma
Color Mix 2012 image from Sherwin-Williams
Kleenex boxes from Kleenex.com
Jetta ad scanned from a magazine
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
I just wrote an article for a the MN chapter of ASID’s quarterly publication, Design Directions, on how trends are forecasted and then evolve between different industries. I knew a little about the subject, but it was really fascinating learning more about how the forecasting industry works.
I mean, do you ever think about how Kleenex picks the colors and patterns on their boxes? They are studying the color trends and style trends 18 months out to be ready to introduce the perfect look just as a trend happens. I think about it with fashion, interiors and cars, but I hadn’t really thought about it in product packaging as much, even though I know the graphic design world styles are always evolving as well.
Anyway, I wanted to share a trend I spotted in my own magazines before I even wrote the article, and had verified by an industry forecaster at a presentation of the trends for the next 18 months. BRIGHTS! No wallflowers here. I’m talking about those saturated bold shades that announce their arrival with a bullhorn. Don’t believe me? Check out the latest furniture evolution from (Minnesota based) Room & Board:
These pieces are not just available in the usual stainless steel or natural steel finishes. Now you can add a punch of color to your room beyond those accent pillows you rely on to liven up the room. Be bold! Say “I’m not afraid of vivid color that wakes up my room.”
Even better, these pieces are all made by a local company in Minnesota, reducing the carbon footprint of transport, and it’s ultimately recycleable. I’m digging the Kelly Green Piper bed frame. I could easily see it in a kid’s bedroom that evolves into a hip teen’s bedroom and then it moves with them to their first apartment.
Just like a room, the pops of color in your outfit shouldn’t be relegated to a few small accessories.
Here is the proof, straight from the pages of Lucky magazine. Colored denim jeans are another trend big for fall, in brights just as bold as these outfits above. I’m going to have to switch from colored top and neutral pants and try out a bright pant and see how bold I can go with the top without feeling overwhelmed. Kelly green jeans and a turquoise t-shirt with a grey cardigan and a skinny belt in brown leather over it could be bright but still have the safe touches to make it feel comfortable. The room equivalent: a bedroom with a kelly green bed frame, turquoise sheets, multi-colored throw pillows, light gray walls and a leather slung chair. (hmmm…. I might need to do another post just to show this room idea…)
So what colors are going bright? Here are the key color trends to keep in mind:
Bright saturated colors are emerging as a trend. Think tropical greens and neon green as accents perfect for kids’ rooms and patios. Mid-tone orange and corals with a rusty hue will move to neon in-your-face tones in 2013. Look for tropical pink with a coral tone. Fuchsia with more blue in it serves as a bridge to purples. Purple is trending down, moving towards smoky gray and blue tones rather than red tones. Fire reds reaching out to orange will appear, while blood red taunts brown. Military olive and khaki that have been hot in the fashion industry the past couple of years are moving into home décor. Instead of gold, camel is rising, influenced by the military trend. Blue and white combinations are jumping forward again. Denim and turquoise also make an appearance, while the spa blue evolved to a warmer blue with green and gray undertones for a sophisticated feel.
On a side note, this weekend I painted my bathroom a gray-blue with a hint of green in it, so I’m clearly right on trend. =)
Want to see what these brights will mean in fabrics? Check out the Lily Pulitzer collection of fabrics through Lee Jofa. Not for the faint of heart, but I don’t think you have to live in Palm Beach to embrace these fabrics. Start small and layer, layer, layer!
Can I mention that I’m digging the art on the walls? I know it’s not the focus of the ad, but I love how they used a modern painting and photographs to bring a fresh young feel to a room that could skew to grandma’s Boca Raton condo. The lucite table, zig zag rug and cheeky elephant side table help keep it young too.
So are you game? Are you going to give brights a try in your home, wardrobe or both?! Come on, if I can do it, so can you!
Photo credits: Room & Board, Lucky magazine, Lee Jofa.
Friday, March 25th, 2011
One color trend I’ve been noticing lately: Yellow. Sometimes it heads towards buttery yellow. Sometimes it has a hint of green undertone that takes it slightly towards citrine.
Here are a few examples from the retail sources West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Dwell Studio.
The trend of bright punchy colors is definitely in for spring/summer. Gray, white and navy will always be strong partners for yellow.
And you know what I couldn’t resist when I saw the West Elm summer preview? (Hint: Check out those vintage style orange kitchen containers in the upper left corner. PERFECT accessory for pulling the orange accents in the adjacent living room into the kitchen to tie the two rooms together!)
Think spring thoughts this weekend and maybe we can wish the snow away and get those spring flowers to pop up at last!
Friday, February 25th, 2011
Looking at the fall fashion show round-ups one trend I was interested in trying was bright colorful pants (no patterns – I’m not talking about Zoobas here!) Perfect for transforming a simple minimal outfit into a statement with one bold splash of color.
Which got me thinking, why are we so afraid of color in kitchens? So I rounded up a few favorite kitchens belonging to homeowners who embraced color with arms outstretched. I’d love to hear what YOU think! Could you be this bold?
Why does the adage “it’s only paint” apply to painting walls but not painting cupboards? Come on, let’s be adventurous!
To slowly transition into colorful cabinets, consider having some of your cabinets in a color while others are wood or white. Perhaps a pantry unit on one wall is red like a great Chinese cabinet that serves as an accent and conversation piece in a living room. Or you could paint just the island cabinets in an accent color.
Or you can go all out in one shade, head to toe (or ceiling to floor, crown molding to toekick, as the case may be.)
Apple green? Yes please!
Love this glossy turquoise color.
This kitchen has so much going for it. Gorgeous walnut butcher block countertops, a wall of subway tile in a warm cream tone that keeps it light and open feeling to balance the dark green base cabinets, and the green and cream floor tiles that pull together both the color palette and connect the indoors and outdoors in one continuous flow.
Isn’t this just like a pair of colorful pants with a cream blouse and brown belt and great shoes (maybe a strappy pair of wedges with green and white overlapping bands)?
Look what a difference the wall tile can make in a room - compare this space with green base cabinets and no wall cabinets to the kitchen above. Obviously the rooms have different spatial qualities, but the colorful tile on the walls here shifts the attention from the colorful cabinets. But the cabinet color supports the tile – imagine this with maple or white cabinets. Ehh. The dark green cabinets ground the room.
Still love this red base cabinet.
This is what I would call modern english country. The cabinet pulls are definitely not traditional. I love that the background is all crisp white and I could see popping just about ANY color on those cabinets and having it all still work. Though you might need to coordinate with a different cereal bowl.
This is exactly the way I think of the fashion trend – bright pants with a light simple top. Maybe a few pins on the shirt to balance the bright lower half (the art on the walls in the room plays the same role here.)
This kitchen is right on trend with Pantone’s Color of the Year – Honeysuckle. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m loving it on kitchen cabinets.
And finally, the piece de resistance, why not paint every door a different color?! You have endless options for accessorizing the room, and I doubt you could feel sad in a fun space like this! Perfect for those afraid to commit to one color… pick 10 instead!
But if you are stuck with a kitchen where you can’t paint the cabinets (aka. a rental property), painting the walls is still a great way to bring in your personality with color. Here inky deep blue walls add a moody quality to an otherwise plain kitchen.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Ok, so I’ve been told that all that floorplan and elevation talk the past couple of weeks was a bit heavy. So this is a sunny breath of fresh popping color to break up the floorplan talk and make you smile (unless you hate orange, like my mom).
It all started with the receipt from my neighborhood dry cleaners (1). I loved that it was bright orange, therefore easy to spot the pick up reminder on the fridge, but also just so darn peppy!
That got me noticing all the other orange items I surround myself with, and quickly realized how much it has become my go-to accent color for personal accessories. So here is a detailing of some key orange items I use on a daily basis.
(2) My favorite pencils ever! These are orange, have a pattern, sharpen easily and the eraser actually works. Amazing. I love the size & dimensions of the coordinating notepad. Great for my to-do lists (which keep each day in order). [Source: Office Max DiVoga line]
(3) Next to my desk is a tall file cabinet. I love these hook magnets in orange for keeping my frequently used tools within easy reach. I literally have a pair of these little orange scissors in every room of my house. They are perfect for everything from cutting off price tags (bedroom) to cutting out furniture templates (office), etc. [Sources: Mini Spot On Magnets - Container Store, Scissors - Target]
(4) I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add color to my CPU. [Source: Dell]
(5) Since I’m always on the go, having my files with me and handy is essential. But the nice compact jumpdrive I have is easy to forget when it’s hanging out in the CPU down by your feet as you are getting ready to leave. So I added this ribbon to make it easy to spot in my computers, my purse, and to ensure I never leave it behind again!
(6) I was frustrated with my previous tape measure which never locked in place (I think I would need to be a big burly construction worker to break that one in!) Since this is a key tool in an interior designer tool kit, that just wouldn’t do. I spotted this in a bin at Home Depot recently and loved the functionality, color and ease of use, and the bonus low price (I think it was under $3!) [Source: Home Depot]
(7) I picked up this cart at IKEA years ago (probably at the Chicago store, before Minnesota even had an IKEA) and it fits a variety of storage needs and has evolved nicely with my needs from back when it primarily held sewing supplies to now storing my less frequently accessed office tools. [Source: IKEA, no longer available]
(8) Even my wallet is orange! [Source: Target]
(9) I still like to sew occasionally, and this is one of the pouches I’ve designed and utilize to keep all my odds and ends organized and easily accessible. This one holds coupons for groceries, another holds all the coupons for clothing stores, and I have two small ones in my purse that have cough drops and Werthers hard candies in them, respectively. They are all in different bright, fun patterns that make me smile.
(10) Finally, this is my water bottle that helps me keep hydrated while running around town picking up tile samples, returning fabric samples, visiting construction sites, etc. I confess I’m a water-aholic … I think I drink between 8 – 12 glasses a day, on average. This was a “free” gift with a donation to WWF (one of my husband’s favorite organization to support) and was thoroughly broken in on our trip through Japan last summer.
So those are my orange accessories, I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my office and purse! So my question to you is – what’s YOUR go to color? What colors always draw your attention flipping through magazines, catalogs, browsing at shops, watching other people? I know my mom’s partial to purple, and my friend Kate can always be spotted holding at least 3 things that are bright green. Where do you use color in your life to express your personality?