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Nothing excites the senses quite like color. Color impacts us from every angle. It influences virtually every choice we make…the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and, most importantly, how we decorate and furnish our homes. Everyday clients come to me clutching fabric swatches, paint chips, catalogs, photos and magazine clippings looking for furniture, seeking out my 'sage' advice to help them "make it all work."

Savvy designers are well aware that wise decisions begin and end with color. In this fickle, trend-oriented society, we watch colors come into favor, disappear, and often come back again a few years later. Remember the avocado green and harvest gold of the late 1960s and '70s? They have been repeating themselves very successfully for a few years now, only we're calling these greens "sages" while the golds appear more metallic as a result of the return of neo-classicism.

One thing is certain…that proverbial color wheel just keeps on turning, making color trends very difficult to keep up with! However, there are industry gurus and associations who track these color trends for us. I will pass this valuable expertise and insight on to you so that, in turn, you benefit from it and make wise choices for your color schemes.


2002 Consumer Color Directions
Alexandria, VA, USA

Lighter, Softer, More complex. Those are words being used to describe the 2002 Consumer Color Directions Palette from Color Marketing Group, an international, not-for-profit association of Color Designers who identify and forecast color as much as three years in advance.

"The technology revolution continues to accelerate the pace at which color evolves in the marketplace," said Color Marketing Group President, Hall Dillon, CMG, Dorn Color Card, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, USA. "While blue will maintain its enviable position as the most important color of the decade, orange is foreseen to be the hue of optimism and happiness in 2002. It will find popularity in all age groups." Dillon added that colors are increasingly associated with special effects as technological advances in product finish spur consumer demands and expectations.

CMG members develop cross-industry, short-and long-range color forecasts. CMG's Forecasts serve as a guide for Designers developing new colors for new and existing product lines. While CMG members customize a hue or intensity to fit particular product needs, using CMG Palettes for overall direction gives designers confidence that their colors will be complementary to colors on other products in the consumer marketplace. The 2002 Consumer Palette is the result of input from more than 700 CMG members who gathered in San Diego, California, USA, in late April this year. Industries represented in the forecast process included Transportation/Automotive, Communications/Graphics, Interior/Exterior Home, Fashion, and Action/Recreation.

CMG experts say the influence of nature on the 2002 Palette is deep-seated and will counterbalance the strong effects of the technology revolution. This dynamic relationship reflects a strong and consistent desire to balance the sensory overload from technology with the need for human sensory experience. Watery, aquatic-blues continue to be important, but botanical-blues will begin to emerge. Yellows and greens will remain strong. The newest yellows are being inspired by the organic qualities of fruits, vegetables and grains; the greens will bring grasslands to mind.

Social, cultural and economic trends play a role in the process of identifying future color trends. A strong Latin flavor is a consistent theme for the 2002 Consumer Palette, with additional influences from Morocco and Italy that will result in the appearance of lively reds, yellows and oranges. According to CMG Co-Chairman of the Consumer Color Directions Committee, Sue Hannah, New York, New York, USA, "These influences will result in the desire for romantic and passionate earth-connected colors. The strong appeal to the younger generations will spill over to the Baby Boomers as a spirited, fresh new look."

As a result of the technological influence on Color Directions in 2002, an important issue addressed during the forecasting process was the relationship between color and finish. Designers can no longer separate effect and color: The color is the special effect, and the special effect is the color. New advances in the field of color and design are driving the development of new pigments, materials and products, allowing designers to innovate with texture and special effects like never before. As a result, most of the colors forecast for 2002 are just as important in a pearl finish as they are in a flat color.

"Consumers are increasingly intrigued by products and spaces that are sensory," commented Consumer Color Directions Co-Chairman Terrie Buch-O'Dell, CMG, Nevamar Decorative Surfaces, Odenton, Maryland, USA. "Special effect finishes allow us to experience color in dimension, and that seems to be fueling the demand for pearlescent, iridescent, metallic and textured finishes. Special effect finishes add perceived value and have become an expected product attribute."

Overall, Color Directions for 2002 are fresh and clean, yet the colors are fascinatingly adaptable. Hues are ambiguous with mixed undertones that allow them to cross color families without being wholly defined by one. The 2002 Consumer Color Directions Forecast includes:

  • Rosa Roja: A multicultural, non-synthetic red with a strong Latin influence. A romantic red that comes alive for both men and women.
  • Langostino: Bridges orange, pink and red, yet it's softened and veiled.
  • Tiger Lily: A complex and multidimensional orange combining the vibrant florals of nature with the satisfying flow of a quiet fire.
  • Tangy: A natural, yet clear orange.
  • Eureka: A cool yellow drawing its influence from Morocco and Vietnam. It's supernatural and strong, yet provides an energized contentment.
  • Pineapple: A pale, luminescent yellow with organic overtones. It bridges spring into winter with a softness that is almost a neutral, but is able to maintain its color placement through a sense of light.
  • Lemoncello: The hybridization of nature and technology into a sophisticated yellow, with a calming green influence.
  • Gingko: The botanical green of dried grasslands, bridging the fresh excitement from mustard greens with the relaxing feel of a forest's treasured mosses.
  • Mesa Verde: The return of true green, heralding a move away from recent acidity lime-greens. Strongly influenced by an undertone of blue, it is natural and refreshing.
  • Oxygen: A blue sky as seen through glass block. A breath of fresh air representing a silver influence on aquatic blues.
  • Blue Bayou: The shift of classic navy toward an updated techno-version of blue with a metallic, watery sheen.
  • Fathom: A key bridge of green into blue, it addresses the continuation and evolution of teals inspired by blue. Its sophisticated coloration completes the mind's need for peace and serenity.
  • Essence of Lilac: An extreme, pale botanical blue with a hint of lilac. It supports the desire for translucency across all market segments.
  • Moon shadow: Provides a respite from technology and reflects our fascination with atmospheric grays. A hueful neutral that allows other colors to retain their individual appeal.
  • Chocolate Raisin: With its blending of brown into black, this saturated hue has a strong horticultural influence. It is complex, captivating and elegant in its richness.
  • Sycamore: The evolution of a classic neutral brown. Edgy but luxurious.

High-Tech and Organic/Hand-Crafted seem to be 'words' that pop-up in descriptions of the 'new' 2002 colors. Furniture will also see this combination. In the fashion industry we already see the combination of hand-craft and high-tech. For instance, a clothing designer will choose a hand-crafted silhouette but make the garment of a synthetic, high-tech fabric. I think the same thing will happen in furniture. A piece may be constructed using high-tech methods, but it will look hand-crafted. Manufacturers will learn to hide their technological capabilities behind the one-of-a-kind look that we all want.

If you head to a furniture store and know these basic color trends I'm sure you will impress them with your knowledge and help yourself in planning your dream home.

Joseph Yorey
President and Buyer


In going along with the above 2002 color directions and the High-tech/Hand-crafted furniture trends the buyers at Bella Interiors would like to show you their personal choices for this new palette. The 'Hollywood Sofa' and Metropolitan Tables demonstrate perfectly these two new style trends.