Coolest colors with trendy pops

Whisper-soft, ultra-pale shades of pink

— described by designers as “blush tones”

— are back. But the ’80s haven’t returned, says designer Brian Patrick Flynn says, at least not entirely.

“What’s different about blush this time around is what it’s paired with. In 1985, you’d find it paired with mauve and black with tons of shiny brass accents. Flash forward to today and blush is likely to be paired with preppy, masculine tones,” says Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions.

His favorite blush paint is Barely Blush from Glidden, which he contrasts with navy blue: “The deep, rich personality of the navy actually washes out the blush, almost causing it to look white, and the overall effect is fresh and gorgeous.”

Angela Rowe, interior designer and owner of Decorating Den in Harrisburg also likes the idea of pairing a bolder color with softer, pale colors.

“Radiant Orchid is the 2014 Color of the Year as selected by the Color Marketing Group,” she says. “This soft purplish-pink looks great paired with today’s hot neutrals of gray and taupe.

Rowe, who last fall attended the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., saw the color used in numerous ways.

“Last year’s Color of the Year — Tangerine Orange — was still shown in abundance,” Rowe says. “It, too, works well with gray and another popular trend, black and white.”

But while wall colors are getting softer and paler, the opposite seems to be happening with furniture.

Bolder furniture

“Strong colors on upholstery are becoming more of the norm,” says Kyle Schuneman, founder of Live Well Designs, who spent a chunk of 2013 designing his first line of furniture, in collaboration with retailer Apt2B.

He opted to create sofas in bright blues and shades of orange because “a bright sofa is no longer just for a creative office waiting room,” he says. “People are bringing them into their homes.”

One bold color to approach carefully this year: red-violet. “Red-violet is the Pantone color of the year for 2014,” Flynn says. “As a designer whose specialty is using color, let me tell you something: Red-violet is about as complex as it gets.”

“My trick for using it right is pairing it with black, white and brass,” he says.

“It’s not all that overwhelming, since it’s balanced by the neutrality of the black and white, and made a bit more chic and regal with the brass.”


“For accessories, the trend seems to be getting away from color and going more into rich textures like horn, aged metallics and linens,” Schuneman says.

“The absence of color is becoming chic for smaller items.”

And speaking of accents, Rowe saw some beauties at the home show.

“Current trends point toward the old adage that lighting is jewelry for the home,” she says. “Gold adorned with beaded necklaces and vintage crystal look they came right from the jewelry box. Like jewelry, lighting becomes the piece that sets the mood for finishes a look.”

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