Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Be Your Own Personal Color Forecaster

Every time I see one of these Pantone Fashion Color Report "forecasts" come out, I feel a tirade coming on.  For me, color is so personal, that I can't help but think -- who are these people dictating color for the rest of us?  I know they supposedly look at current trends and public moods to somehow predict what colors will be the next big thing -- but who are they kidding?  Aren't they just telling manufacturers what colors to mass-produce and simultaneously telling consumers they have to buy them?  Isn't this a ploy to get us to go shopping and spend money on things we don't really need -- and that we only want because they tell us we should?

I frankly don't even understand how colors can come in and out of fashion.  I think colors are very personal.  Not everyone looks good in the same colors, and not everyone feels good around the same colors.  And when you find the colors that make you look and feel your best, why change them unless you want to?  For me, the only reason to look at the color "forecast" is to see whether it will be fun to go shopping that season.  If I see one of "my" colors on there, great.  If not, thankfully, the fashion industry is not a slave to the predictions, and I can usually find something I like anyway.  I certainly do not go out and buy something in the color of the season just to be trendy.  

Our beautiful golden tabby Siberian cat, Mishka,
looks great on a purple chair with an orange wall 
And the idea that someone would actually redecorate a room based on these forecasted trends gives me hives.  Yes, if you happen to truly love a color on the Pantone "Fashion" palette, and you've been wanting to redecorate your bedroom, then this may be the perfect time to go for it.  But the colors we live with in our homes are too important to be based on current trends.  The colors we use to decorate our living spaces should really speak to us and make us happy for a long time.

I am extremely particular about colors.  When we remodeled our house, I went through an elaborate process* to pick just the right colors -- even mixing a few custom colors myself.   The result is that even six years later, I still LOVE the colors in my house.  My walls are rich with bold colors, including a warm purple in the living room, a  terra cotta orange in the dining room, and a bright celadon green (very close to the latest Pantone yellow-green) in my family room and kitchen.  These colors make me feel good, and they're not a flash in the pan.   So far, I have not gotten tired of them.  I think it's because they are "my" colors.  (See my Zazzy Peacock logo and banner above to get an idea of my favorite colors.)

Our silver torby kitten, Kalista, lounging on a living room chair
upholstered in luxurious fabrics in taupe, purple and oranges

I realize that one of the advantages of decorating with one of the forecasted colors is that it is easier to find matching fabrics and accessories.  But matching is over-rated!  I used my non-trendy colors and had no issues accessorizing my house by using various shades of the main colors and by pulling colors from adjacent rooms.  For example, my dining room has orange walls and deep purple chair upholstery.  The adjacent living room has purple walls, a pale orange ceiling and taupe fabric with various shades (not matching) of purple, rust and orange.  It all works -- I swear.  Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention.  When it's not easy to just "match," I think you come up with more creative and dynamic design solutions.

Colorful Zazzy Peacock needle felted ring and bracelet 
Another positive thing about the color forecasting is that hopefully it encourages people to embrace bold color.  More color is always better!  As you can see from my art and felting, I love to play with unique combinations of colors.  With paint, there is truly no limit.  And I've acquired so many colors of wool at this point that I enjoy tremendous freedom to use color creatively in my felted jewelry and accessories.  I will not be going out of my way to get more wool in the so-called "hot" new colors, but I'm pretty sure I already use some of them anyway.

So emerald green is apparently the color of the year for 2013.  I'm thinking this has more to do with the fact that this upcoming Oz movie is set in the Emerald City, than any actual trend or the public mood.  I can't even imagine using that color in my home, but I'm thinking I have plenty of that color in my garden already.  So at least my yard is trendy!  Oh yeah, and it just so happens that my non-conformist teenage son's latest hair color was an emerald green.  Ironically, I'm pretty sure when he hears that's the hot color of the year, he won't want that green hair anymore.  Well, now that's a plus. ;-)

 *  My crazy paint color selection process: I painted samples on heavy pieces of leftover sheetrock, and lugged them around from room to room to see them in just the right light.  (It also works to paint big sample swatches right on the wall.)  And I didn't stick with the seemingly unlimited palette offered by the paint manufacturers.  The truth is color is truly infinite, and I wanted just the right shades -- so I mixed some of my own custom colors.  Yes, I would actually take the little can of sample paint and mix in some of my artist acrylic paints to achieve the perfect hue.  Then I would let in dry on a paint stick and take it in to the paint store to be matched.  Did you know they can match anything?  You can bring in a swatch of fabric, a pillow, etc.