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2006 Color Forecast: Staying Neutral

Kara Cox -- Home Accents Today, April 1, 2005

For 2006, this year's sophisticated pastels take on hues from skin-tone to dirty lavender, adding neutralizers to soften color. They aren't the Easter pastels of the past but lean further toward neutral with a more subdued feeling. Mixing well in both contemporary patterns and the new classic look, the neutralized pastels are easy to mix and pleasing to the eye.

"I think America has shed off its chromo-phobia and is experimenting with a lot of color," said Christine Chow, director of membership for the Color Association of the U.S. "However, the bright candy colors are going to wane a bit and more subdued stories with taupe, color-inflected gray like lavender-gray and blue gray, and sand-inspired colors using gold and marble pink are going to surface."

Leatrice Eiseman, director of Pantone Color Institute, uses gray to "ground" colors she says are not the typical earth tones but suggest minerals, ores and stones with color names like shark gray, mineral blue, misted lavender, rose brown, golden olive and dusted periwinkle.

Neutralized Pales is how Michelle Lamb, senior editor of The Trend Curve describes them — "Not top-selling, but hues that form a bridge between neutrals and color." She mentions shades like wistful pink, barely peach and tender tan as being related to skin-tone neutrals. Lamb says these hues mixed with watery blue and elusive green make a color palette that is more than neutral, but allows consumers to use the colors together in a single visual landscape.

Cotton Inc. Home Trend Manager Dana Poor offers palettes called Simply Stated and Reflections that incorporate dusty pale colors with clean crisp colors such as clear, pool blue and pure white. Poor says the sepia-tone flesh colors of the Reflected palette and sandy shades in Simply Stated work beautifully together in the home. "I think in the past these colors have catered to a more traditional look but I have seen them carried forward in a more contemporary manner," Poor said. "You can take more risks with pattern direction if you keep the colors more subdued."

   The seashell chest from Currey and Company mixes sand and flesh tones in a piece that emanates underscored color. eLink 689

 The Sonoma Bedding Collection from Tomasini Fine Linens offers neutralized hues of pale green and ivory.  

   The bowls from DK Living showcase a pale jade green hue. eLink 758

 Pale gray complements the seafoam ceramic lamp from Cindy Ciskowski. eLink 682  
   Spring Fruit from Fine Art Inc. combines peachy skin tones with grayed-down lavender. eLink 759
 A gray-infused lavender freshens up the vases from Toyo with a mineral-inspired accent. eLink 676  
   The graphic rug from Angela Adams Studio Rug Collection balances a flesh-tone tan with dusty lavender. eLink 757


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