A color swatch of Tangerine Tango, Pantone's top color for 2012. Of course, few people would want to saturate a room or their wardrobe with the color, but it's a great choice for a world that needs a shot of energy and boldness. The experts at Pantone Color Institute, a New Jersey-based company that developed a standardized color system used by all kinds of designers, printers and publishers, says it also will work well with more organic colors in the home. 

The CB2 brand Parlour Chair is a good example of how Tangerine Tango can be used to add a pop of color to a more neutral, organic room. ‘It's a very contemporary color,' says Angela Rowe of Decorating Den in Harrisburg. ‘No one is going to get all their furniture in this color; it would be too much. But you will see little bits of it everywhere, such as in a decorative pillow or one piece of furniture.' Color specialist and Southern Illinois blogger Kristin Williams recommends using it as an accent color in your home. ‘I would never use it to paint the walls, but accent pieces in this color can liven up a room. Her blog features projects done by ‘real people in real homes, and it works,' she says. Other suggestions from Williams: Trim the front of a white bookcase, paint a chair or sidetable, or make a bold welcome statement by painting the front door.

As is almost always the case, fashion designers lead the way when it comes to design and color trends. Tommy Hilfiger's Spring 2012 women's collection featured the reddish-orange color in many ways, including this coat. ‘I feel very strongly about 2012. I think people over the last couple of years have been conservative with buying clothes. Eventually, you have to refresh the ward-robe.' A little will go a long way. Try a clutch, a scarf, a skirt, bag or shoes.

‘We're already seeing it,' says Cheryl Lambert, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio in Herrin. ‘This color is really, really big.' Lambert says we will see lots of tangerines and corals, as does Vel Green, director of the Green Door Spa in Mount Vernon. ‘What I'm seeing is definitely following the Pantone choice of tangerine,' Green says. Both agree the trend toward eye makeup is softer and more natural, leaving room for a beautiful bright lip or nails.

Your next wall color could be famous. Or, at least, it could share colors seen on walls at one of the world's most famous art museums, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The museum has chosen 150 colors from its collections and galleries in partnership with Fine Paints of Europe, an upscale paint company based in Vermont. The color wheel shows the results of a meticulous selection and matching process that involved everything from holding up paint chips beside century-old paintings to stopping someone on the subway because of her shirt color, they have developed two distinct collections: one of colors used on gallery walls and another of colors used in paintings.

The backdrop: Interior wall colors

Just as the walls of the world's great museums create a background for paintings, your interior wall colors serve as a backdrop for your objects, whether they're works of art, a great piece of furniture or a fireplace.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York City has created a color palette for interior walls that are in harmony with the 2012 color palettes of high-quality and cutting-edge paint companies such as Benjamin Moore, Behr and Sherwin Williams. They all reflect a trend toward colors and materials that are more organic, found in and harmonizing with natural surroundings.

"Interior wall color is returning to earth tones and neutrals," said Kristin Williams, a color specialist and blogger from Carbondale.

Don't yawn, yet. "Neutral" doesn't mean pastel, pale or boring. These are rich, saturated colors, deep grays, pale sea greens (not seafoam!) and steel and slate blues.

"They have great depth and complexity," said Williams, whose blog can be found at favoritepaintcolors.blogspot.com.

Angela Rowe, interior designer and owner of Decorating Den in Harrisburg, was recently at High Point Market in North Carolina, where she saw displays using these colors.

"Gray was everywhere and not just on walls. It was on furniture and furnishings," Rowe said of the upscale presentation of the latest home design trends.

With names such as Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore, Meeting House by ICI Paints and Luna Light by Columbia Paint, these colors suggest the warmth and depth needed to soothe and serve their purpose, too: Showing who you are with what's in the room, not necessary on the walls.

Using these colors also means you don't have to change your walls to change your mind.

"Choose something you can live with for a long time," Williams said. "Pick something that will last. That way you don't have to paint your walls over and over again. You can change the décor, instead."

But just as the curator of a great museum has the final say, you are the curator of your home.

"It's really a matter of personal style and taste," Williams said, cautioning against following trends that might not be right for you. "Listen to who you are and what you like."

- Story by Cara Recine

- Additional sources: McClatchy-Tribune News, The Associated Press

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