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Welcome to the shades of Fall & Winter

by Gail McCauley

The fall and winter color palette continues the theme of a renewed focus on home centered  lives while also adding credence to current economic conditions and the rapid pace of advancements in technology. Closely paralleling current design trends, contemporary palettes reflect a flagrant desire for quality as well as the importance for consumer choice in the "color" marketplace. Traditional American heritage, nature's all encompassing world and cultural fusion are a few of the predominant influences that forecasters have indicated as dominating themes for the upcoming fall and winter season's color stories.

Cast as one of spring and summers color leaders, blue continues to prevail for fall and winter, offering intensities that reflect it's seasonal direction. A flexible color favorite, blue has the potential to vary greatly in demonstrating safe, invigorating or even ethereal spaces. To many paint manufacturer's delight, displaying the "Americana" style of decor is creeping back into "vogue" this fall season. The Americana theme can easily be replicated through the use of classic heritage blue tones, a popular offering amongst many paint companies. Deep marine blue, wedgewood, midnight blue, navy, slate blue, cobalt, blue-black, blue spruce, celestial blue, sapphire and blueberry are some of the tones that create a feeling of calm in our fast paced world of constant change.

"Earth-friendly" in nature, fall's greens represent hues that are increasingly popular in today's homes that pay homage to natural surfaces while adding a feeling of renewal. Olive, Artichoke, moss, pine forest, hunter green, rosemary, spinach, ivy and fern are some of fall's hottest "green" tones that not only bring serenity to a room, but also can be married to browns and other unanticipated colors to create elegant fall spaces.

Blending harmoniously with organic colors, textures and motifs are the wide array of browns that are favored for the upcoming fall season by many of today's leading color experts. The upcoming seasonal brown palette consists of rich, earthy elements that mesh with up to date neutrals. Browns are also being stylishly teamed with fall's most fashionable purple palettes (such as elderberry and grape) to produce warm and sophisticated color schemes for the home.  The endless supply of brown hues provide fine choices for many of today's most elegantly appointed homes. Seamlessly meshing with contemporary natural surfaces such as stone, glass, metal, wood, cork and bamboo; you can be sure to locate a perfect shade of brown that highlights surfaces on existing floor coverings, countertops, cabinets, wall coverings and ceilings. From chocolate and russet brown to saddle tan, burnt almond and camel; fall's browns maintain rich staying power.

In uncertain economic times, the culturally fused grouping of colors are glamorous shades that are uplifting to consumers. A continuation of the trends that were witnessed last spring and summer, exhilarating tones add dynamic optimism to any space. These high impact colors are evident in warmer and brighter shades. Spicy fall reds are "feel good" colors that are appropriate for any style of decor ranging from Asian, to rustic or classical.

Deep, buttery yellows and rich, dark red colorations are particularly appropriate for exterior doors and trims. Also representing wonderful choices for the home exterior, do not be surprised to find tantalizing tones such as tangerine, apricot or pumpkin used to grace the exterior of shingle styled homes.

Silver and other metal colorations represent fall's technical yet refined hues that express the current and ever changing technology boom. Many of today's machines are faster, smaller, more personalized and are available in today's most sought after combinations of color!

Metal colorations, including gold and bronze may be viewed touting unanticipated hints of other hues, such as blues and greens. A particularly dynamic choice for many of today's hottest special effect paint techniques, the use of metallic, luminescent and other dimensional painted surfaces often represents the focal point for an interior space. Sterling silver, silver blueberry, antique gold, bronze and burnished copper represent just a few of the metal coloration variations that the fall and winter season has in store for consumers.

Fall and winter's palette reflects deeper, more complex versions of past season's popular colors. Powerfully exciting hues are interesting enough to be utilized on their own or combined with others colors to achieve distinctively personalized looks for the home. Regardless of color preferences, the emphasis on home centered lives sparks an intense importance on quality surroundings. Consumers are in search of personalized color palettes that have staying power for the fall 2003 season as well as the future, where technology remains fast paced and ever changing.

Gail McCauley for the 
Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute

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