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(MCT)—Shades that slap you silly are making a comeback.

They fled from the ‘80s to the spring runways of designers such as Nanette Lepore and Cynthia Rowley.

Now, neon colors are coming to living rooms. Today’s neons aren’t timid. Thanks to technology, colors are brighter, bolder and more intense than before, says Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Eiseman says the finish of bright products may create hesitation for some homeowners.

Shiny surfaces make colors pop more than merino wool. Eiseman suggests shopping for lively pieces with luster-less texture such as wool throw pillows or cotton curtains. She also says prints that combine neutrals with neons give the untrained eye a bit of color and then a bit of rest. “There’s this peripheral vision thing going on,” says Eiseman, who credits the cosmetics industry for dropping neon-esque colors back into our lives. “Some people might say ‘ugh’ to neons, but if you see it enough, it enters your realm of vision and you begin to say, ‘That’s not so bad.’”

Some home retailers, such as CB2, are already betting that love for neons will come back in no time.

“Color has always been a key part of CB2,” says Ryan Turf, chief merchandising manager. He was surprised by strong sales of a bright pink, high-gloss side table called the City Slicker.

“We have always seen strong sales in bright-colored product, but each season we do see upward shifts in demand for certain specific colors.”

Some of CB2’s brightest colors this year include atomic yellow, grass and pool blue.

Erin Loechner, an art and design blogger, is a fan of colorful groupings and garlands. She created a DIY dinosaur garland in a host of hot hues for a home office that was featured on

“Displaying bright, bold accents in your home is a subtle way to incorporate happy hues,” Loechner says. “By surrounding yourself with objects you love in your favorite tones, you can subconsciously create an environment that’s enjoyable for you and your family.”

Loechner says she’s pleased that the neon trend has come full circle. She suggests reserving pops of color for accessories, such as bright dining utensils, an intense table runner, punchy patterned throw pillows or framed fluorescent artwork.

Erica Islas is an interior designer whose work has been featured on the HGTV’s “Designer’s Challenge.” She agrees that accessories are the best way to introduce neons into a room, but she also thinks that bright paint shouldn’t be overlooked.

She suggests using neon paint colors sparingly in a space to enhance current design elements or create a more interesting atmosphere.

Try a bright paint color on a ceiling to complement four white or grey walls. You could also try painting an entry door, accent wall, kitchen cabinets or the base of a kitchen island, a bathroom vanity or the top or bottom half of wainscoting, she says.

“My front door is Electric Orange by Benjamin Moore, and I have people always stopping by to ask me what color my front door is because they like it so much,” Islas says.

Islas recommends using bright yellow as an accent in a room with green tones, and says to consider hot pink or fiery orange in a room with blue tones.

For just the right punch of paint in a room, she prefers a coral color from Pratt & Lambert called Pale Cornelian, a teal tone from Benjamin Moore called Poolside Blue and a hot pink hue from Dunn- Edwards called Fiery Fuschia.

Although color expert Eiseman isn’t sold on all of us painting our walls chartreuse, she does say that more people are open to neon, fluorescent and vivid colors than ever before.

“People now want to do something new … bright colors add some excitement to what we’re going through,” Eiseman says. “Using bright colors again is like opening a box of crayons when you’re a kid. They allow the fun in.”

©2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services