Color trends for 2009

As a fan of the Color Marketing Group, a nonprofit association of over 1,100 color designers who forecast the direction a particular color may take one to three years in advance of its emergence, I eagerly look for its bi-monthly news releases, which discuss everything from how the colors our presidential candidates wore affected the emotions of the public (no doubt, blue with its "you can trust me" calming nature, was a good choice on both sides) to what color appliances the public will be clamoring for.

But my favorite missives from the CMG always tout the lapel-grabbing phrase, "Hot Color Trends" in the subject line. Since I’m about to decide what color I want to paint my house this spring, let’s take a look at what is up and coming for 2009.

"We’re finding comfort in colors that are familiar, and yet, at the same time, we’re embracing colors that make us happy — especially as accents," said executive director, Jaime Stephens. "Everyone’s concerned about the economy, yet the spirit of the country coming together after the election is powerfully reflected in these choices. Also, the demand for colors and products that reflect an environmentally ‘greener’ world goes way beyond a trend. It’s now ‘a given.’"

So what are these familiar colors Jaime is referring to? Well, for one — my house … the one I plan to repaint this spring? It has always been considered kind of the odd duck in my neighborhood. It’s purple. And if it weren’t looking so shabby, people might believe that I’m finally "with it" color-wise: all things purple are totally hot for the home. Last fall 2008, this color was reflected in fashion; now it has moved inside. You will be seeing grayed-down purples, as well as plummy reddish tones and blue-influenced fushias. And being our political colors, red and blue, have recently been in the forefront, let’s do a little mixology. Red + Blue = yep. Purple.

Oh, and I also saw it on a very cute Honda Fit in the showroom last week. I was just kicking tires. Really. But that purple was extraordinary. I want it.

Speaking of politics … and the environment

Yellow, bright vivid yellow, is an important tone for interior accents. Yellow is the color of energy, and as we rebuild our place in this world, we need a color that glows with hope and lightness of spirit. There could be no better color than yellow, a warm happy tone that also conveys enlightenment. You will also see bright accents from faraway lands such as India, China and Turkey. Look for turquoise, teal and red in optimistic tones … and believe me, a healthy dose of optimism in 2009 is definitely de rigueur.

And then there’s blue. I know. It’s a color that never seems to go out of style. It’s calming. Reassuring. It supposedly lowers the blood pressure and, in its True Blue fashion, offers constant, unwavering support. Think about blue, if you will. You can associate it with all of your favorite things. How the Chain of Lakes sparkle blue in the summertime; the way your favorite pair of jeans call to you when work is done; that wonderful chlorinated pool blue; how vibrant the sky looks when set against the white snow … I could go on and on. But what blue is replacing on the palette … is green. Green has come to symbolize more a way of living than a color one might live with. (Alas, I just paint my bathroom green…ugh, that’s so last week!) Anyway, there is a whole new range of blues that now represent our commitment to living green. And I really like that whole "lowering of the blood pressure" part, too.

Everything old is new again

Finally, something to raise your hair a bit. Mauve. I know, I wasn’t so keen on it myself at first; it’s an old color that still raises my hackles and reminds me of my first set of dorm towels. But think of it as a new neutral and then it doesn’t sound so bad. Think dusty pinky-violet shades, punched up with those interesting Asian accents I mentioned a short while ago and you will find that mauve is actually pretty cool for ’09.

So, I’m sure you’re all wondering: Am I any closer to making a decision on the new color for my house? Well, to shamelessly promote a wonderful event called the Southwest Journal’s Home Improvement Fair … I first need to find somebody terrific to paint it. Believe me, I am not about to get out the heat gun and scraper and work those shingles myself. You will find me walking the aisles, probably getting talked into repairing my stucco, too. And then we’ll talk color. But for the record … I still like my purple.