Hottest Hues

Written By: Lynn Leake | Photographs Courtesy of Norwalk Furniture

Color makes the world go around. Here in the depths of our “winter,” color becomes even more important and influential in the way we feel about life. We are fortunate enough to have lovely bushes and trees that keep their leaves all year around offering us a background of green. The Camellias put on a show of pink and white, even when the rest of the country appears brown, gray, and lifeless. When we plan the colors we are going to live with in our homes, we are often influenced by our beautiful surroundings here on the coast. The blue sky and reflective ocean on a sunny day with the sandy beach give us a gorgeous natural palette to inspire us. When I walked around the showrooms at the High Point Market back in October, I saw a sneak peak of all the up and coming color trends and combinations that have been inspired by many different sources.

When we talk about trends and direction in the design world, most likely we’re talking about color. And when guests come in and talk to us about designing a space, the first thing we talk about is color. Color is powerful—it can lift you or calm you or make you happy. When a bride plans her wedding the colors are usually the center of the plan. The color of the plates we choose to eat on can change the way we feel about food, and even our school colors make us nostalgic for the good old days.

One color pair trending right now is colors of blue with accents of orange and vice versa. Combine the use of simple colors with a modern Scandinavian simplicity to gain a more sophisticated look. It’s a continuation of our affection for mid-century modern, casual with an urban twist. Not a look for those of you who love a good print full of colors to use around the room on different pieces. This look has attitude. It’s a bold statement, which involves no clutter and contemporary art to get your attention. The colors are often saturated blues with no pastels or shades that have been toned down. This look involves pure intense color and simple furniture shapes from famous designers (not a look for the timid among us).

On the opposite spectrum, as the Baby Boomers retire to warmer climes and more casual lifestyles, brighter colors come into play. This look might be called the “Bright Side”, but it’s not reserved for the older crowd exclusively. Millennials are also interested in a dose of energetic color. The Boomers are moving to places like Wilmington where the sun shines and the temperatures are warm almost all year. They are excited to leave the snow behind and cut work to a minimum. Their lives now revolve around a social calendar of dinners with new friends and games of pickleball with neighbors. Bright and lively colors reflect the casual lifestyle and the elevated attitude some leisure time can provide. This look speaks to a broad lifestyle that is upbeat and can be wildly colorful.

Last but not least is my favorite trend (although I like them all). This trend is partial to what might be called a “boho” or bohemian style that involves colors and patterns mixed together in unexpected ways. There is a movement this year towards sand colored neutrals, straw and camel complements, and burnished brass and golden accents. This look puts together many old favorites, like tufting and luxurious fabrics including velvet and mohair. The texture of a surface becomes as important as the color and shape. The elements include colors that come from nature, fabrics that look like they have been dyed with natural flowers and herbs, and bright yellows that look like sunflowers. The woods in the room can be reclaimed rustic finishes or collected paint colors that range from charcoal-grey to deep natural ebonies with an unexpected touch of cayenne. It’s a fun look that might require an experienced eye to create, but well worth the effort if you enjoy texture and pattern.

Furniture trends are always interesting and invigorating, but they shouldn’t intimidate you. They move slowly—colors and styles last a long time and don’t change overnight. There is always a way to update and keep up with what’s in style this year. Right now in our little part of the world, as I have said before, we are paint crazy. A twenty year old dining table with a shiny and user unfriendly finish, can be given a new lease on life with a coat or two of gray paint and some brown wax. Blues may have more or less green from fabric to fabric, but all shades of blue are easy to work with these days. We seem to move as a group when it comes to color or style trends. Conveniently, we grow tired of overused colors and crave new hues and finishes together.


Lynn Leake received MFA degrees in interior design and housing, and in psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. She opened LUXE Home Interiors in 2004 and has remained the sole owner since. LUXE Home Interiors is currently located at Waterford Village in Leland. For more information on LUXE Home Interiors, visit luxewilmington.com, or contact the store at 910-371-0464.

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