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Setting the Mood with Color

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By Jean Patteson

RISMEDIA, January 21, 2009-(MCT)-Color affects mood, as every pop psychologist knows. Considering the pall of gloom cast by the dire economy, it’s no wonder color-trend forecasters are predicting a bumper year for yellows and purples-the former to cheer us up, the latter to calm us down.

Not that everyone is rushing out to purchase paint or furnishings in yellow and purple, just because those have been declared the trendy colors for 2009.

“No matter what the trends, put colors in your home that you feel good about,” advises Jack Fowler, an Orlando, Fla., interior designer. “Take what the experts say, then adjust for your personal taste.”

With that in mind, here is what a trio of color experts is saying:

Toast mimosa yellow. “Yellow symbolizes sunshine, warmth, optimism and good cheer,” says Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute in Seattle. She predicts the color of the year will be “mimosa yellow”-the golden-yellow of fluffy mimosa blossoms and the orange-based champagne cocktail.
Mimosa reflects “the warmth and nurturing qualities of the sun, properties we humans are drawn to for reassurance,” says Eiseman. “It’s also a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.”

In other words, it’s well suited to a stalled economy in need of bright ideas to spark a recovery.

Use mimosa yellow as an accent color-as paint on a single wall or pillows on a sofa, suggests Eiseman. “It’s marvelous with gray or taupe. It gives them a lot more life.”

Yellow is also a top pick of Debbie Zimmer, color and decorating expert at the Rohm & Haas Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pa.

“But not school-bus yellow. A softer shade,” she says.

“Yellow is a refreshing color. It can brighten any interior space. It’s terrific for sprucing up a house for potential resale. In an entrance hall, it’s really welcoming.”

Warm up to purple. Muted shades of purple also will grow in popularity and become one of the year’s memorable colors, predicts Zimmer.

“As we head toward a more difficult economy, we’ll see more conservative colors-dusty purple, lavender, violet,” she says. “The softer purple hues are soothing. The darkest hues provide a dramatic backdrop for brighter accent colors.”

Americans are looking for something uplifting, says Patricia Call, an interior designer in New York and a board member of the Color Marketing Group in Alexandria, Va. And that translates to purple power.

“Historically, purple is associated with royalty. Now it’s being use for everything from cooking ranges to washing machines,” says Call. “In a bad economy, it gives you a lift to feel royal in the kitchen or laundry.

“It’s also a wonderful accent color. Purple Murano-glass sink stoppers bring glamour to a bathroom. Purple vases or pillows add an exciting pop of color to a living room, especially in combination with sophisticated neutrals like grays and browns,” she says. “And as a wall color, the softer shades (of purple) are fabulous with southern natural light.”

While purple may not be the top interior-decor choice of most people, “once it’s been in fashion for a while-and purple has been in fashion for a year or more _ it enters people’s consciousness, and people become comfortable with it,” says Call.

Other fashionable options. Don’t care for yellow or purple? Zimmer sees several other color trends emerging for 2009.

Americans yearning for “artisanship and authentic materials” are turning to “menswear colors” such as gray, navy blue, brown and black, she says. All are colors that will inspire textured finishes on walls, and furnishings featuring argyle, herringbone and pinstripe patterns.

In addition, Americans’ growing eco-consciousness is expanding the decorating palette beyond green to embrace the blues of the oceans and skies, and fruited shades such as mango, orange, apple and pumpkin, says Zimmer.

“Exotic brights,” such as orange, red, turquoise and teal are high on Call’s list of trendy hues. So are white and a whole range of blues.

“Blue is important for our sense of tranquility,” she says. “And blue is the obvious replacement for all the greens of the last few years. If you’re ready for a change, blue is the comfortable choice.”

When choosing a color for your home, it’s worth considering the psychological effect a shade can have on your mood.

Here is a list of colors and their emotional associations, some positive, others negative:

- Yellow: cheerfulness, hope, energy, creativity, caution.
- Purple: calm, uniqueness, meditation, bravery, royalty, spirituality.
- Red: warmth, love, valor, glamour, celebration, danger.
- White: cold, purity, cleanliness, goodness, austerity.
- Black: opulence, sophistication, drama, gloom, dread.
- Green: nature, nurturing, fertility, restfulness, luck, jealousy.
- Blue: tranquility, mystery, freshness, uniqueness.
- Orange: warmth, exoticism, excitement, sociability, change.

© 2009, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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