Purple is passe. Colors inspired by nature are the new trend, according to Debbie Zimmer, color and decorating expert for The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute.
"Colors will be fresh and clean, and reflect elements of stone, water and plants," Zimmer says. Examples include soft beiges and clear blue-based greens that bring to mind sand and forests.
Adding a sparkling accent to these softer shades are metallic paints such as silver and steel-gray. Used in decorative painting, they can add a weathered, antique feel.
Other trends noted by Zimmer:
* Blue remains popular, in all hues, partly because it's considered a relaxing color, and partly because its wide-ranging palette offers tremendous flexibility.
"Blue's popularity began a few years ago when it was used to evoke a spa theme in bathrooms," Zimmer said. "But now we are seeing it migrate into other rooms of the house."
* Children may still be drawn to purple, but among adults, its popularity has passed.
* Not everyone is enamored by nature. Hot pink is a hot designer choice, particularly as an accent for other bright colors, such as red, yellow and orange. Blue-based reds go best with pink, as well as with teal and green. And because red stimulates appetite, it's a popular choice for dining rooms.
* Orange helps make a home feel inviting because it is warm and welcoming. Richer shades are the trend this year, and work well with reds and coppers.
* Don't ignore brown. It's neutral enough to accompany furniture, carpeting and draperies of all color, but punchier than white. You can add to its depth by using a small bit of metallic paint or a shade of green.
* For a starker, more daring look, black-and-white combinations are growing in popularity. They can turn any room into a mod-inspired creation.
* Paint isn't just for painting. More people are using a little bit of paint and some stencils to write on their walls -- words, phrases, quotes.
"The nice thing about this trend is that it can be adapted in many ways," Zimmer says. "Someone who wants to start small may choose to write just a few words as a border or smaller decorative accent, while someone who is a bit more bold may cover an entire wall with words. There is something here that works for everyone."
* What lies ahead for 2005? Zimmer predicts gray will be a hot color, and yellow will graduate from an accent color to something that can hold its own.
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