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Colour trends for 2012

19 September 2011


Colour trends for 2012

As we emerge from the depths of the recession, life has taken on new meaning. We yearn for a simpler, more relaxed way of living and we find comfort in the familiar. Objects that remind us of happier times take centre stage, and splashes of bold, uplifting colours are fully embraced.

Cheerful, optimistic yellows and oranges speak to our playful side, while tranquil blues and greens muster a sense of wellbeing and warmth. Add to that a vibrant mix of purples, mustards, ochres and earthy tones - all colours that celebrate our past - and the new season's colours combine to refresh, inspire, motivate and lift our spirits.

"But there are also a few romantic pinks creeping through," says Resene colour consultant Sarah Gregory. "Really pretty, feminine ones. Even the blues and greens are really feminine, rather than trying to balance a neutral scheme. Everything's getting more cozy and feminine and frilly, and men are actually more comfortable now with using those in the colour scheme."

Alongside femininity lies retro. Old is the new new, as we look to surround ourselves with nostalgic pieces. Raw, unembellished beauty sits easily beside luxurious materials or simple, upcycled objects.

"Something a little bit beaten up, a bit weathered, that's been beautifully handcrafted by someone," says Wendy Elers of Wendy Elers Colour & Design. "We're bringing out pieces from our past, pieces that have a story to tell. Those things back then were made with skill and passion, which is what a bit of what's been missing as of late."

Traditional features are also making a return.

"A lot of architects are now putting back the open fire place in the new home, to give us that sense of comfort and warmth and cosiness and togetherness that you just don't get from a heat pump," says Wendy.

Splashes of strong colour feature not just on accent walls - our appliances and homewares are getting an overhaul too. Toasters, mixers, fridges, rangehoods, ovens and other homewares are becoming brighter and cheerier, with oranges, yellows, reds and blues coming through.

Splash those feel-good colours onto walls and you have instant pick-me-up pizzazz. Try Resene Wild Thing, a star-bright yellow gold that's bold, energetic and frivolous. For the really adventurous, Sarah suggests pairing this playful colour with blacks or blues, such as Resene Bowie, a clear litmus and cyan blue reminiscent of the 1960s.

Resene Fleetwood harks back to the good old days too, with its gentle combination of green, brown and mustard yellow. It's a fabulous match for yellow greens, rouge violets and lemon sherbets, such as Resene Nirvana, Resene Boogie Wonderland and Resene First Light.

Oranges are coming through murkier this year, though they're still full of fire and splendour. Resene Ayres Rock is a modern take on burnt orange and teams well with reptilian olives (such as Resene Evolution), warm greys (Resene Kookaburra) and spearmint greens (Resene Howzat).

We're seeing pinker oranges too, says Sarah, almost a cross between red and orange. "Resene Pursuit is a good example. It works beautifully with deep black-blues like Resene Nite Life to give a really funky look."

Reds are still mostly blue-based - your cherry reds rather than in-your-face reds - evoking energy, excitement and passion. The richly sensuous Resene X Factor sets the mood with its deep, plush tones, while the brighter cherry red of Resene Bullseye will heat things up without blowing a fuse.

Rust red hues also move through into browns and earthy tones. Resene Courage is an earth red darkened with brown. Try it with a smouldering copper metallic such as Resene Triumph or an earthy olive green such as Resene Butterfly Creek.

Pink, the sweet side of red, diverges into many hues from pale pastels to the more luscious. Resene Smitten is a vivacious fuchsia pink with a pinch of violet, while Resene Devoted is a delicate cherry blossom blushed pink - sweetly feminine and soft.

Blues feature widely in the colour palette - after all, we're happiest when the sky is blue. From intense blues to washed out indigo blues as well as cyan and lagoon blues, this is a hue that instils confidence and promotes an overall sense of serenity. Resene Escape is refreshing and optimistic, a pale cerulean blue, dreamy and calm. It's the perfect complement to the stormy blue grey of Resene Jetsetter. Deeply intense blues such as Resene Magnum and Resene Nite Life provide a viable neutral alternative to grey or black.

"The great thing about these blues," says Sarah, "is that you can mix them with silver and get that real elegance that we used to see with black and gold."

Purples are also varied - from bold violet to the softened purples of dried flowers, such as Resene Believe and Resene Poet. They all have an underlying warmth in common, ultramodern, majestic or subtle.

Nature takes last season's greens to a whole new level, with a broader, fresher, more back-to-earth range.

"People like that sanctuary of their home, so they're creating environments where they have that indoor outdoor flow, bringing those greens indoors," says Sarah. "These make us feel more comfortable. It's almost like you're in the middle of the bush but you're not, you're in the middle of suburbia."

Minty apple greens, like Resene Kandinsky, are one flavour of the season. "People are really loving that fresh apple green. I've used it externally on bungalows for that fresh look and internally for reading rooms and bedrooms."

The new palette also extends to yellow greens, such as Resene Koru and Resene Nirvana, and turquoise and emerald greens such as Resene Zeal and Resene Moxie. There's also crossover hues moving from green to blue, such as Resene Free Spirit.

Green also denotes sustainability, which is a growing trend in architecture and interior design.

"Architects get green points for using products that have a green rating - they're not depleting the natural resources in the world - and that's the way interior design is going too," says Wendy. "We're using more sustainable materials."

Our thirst for sustainability trickles through into the 2012 colour range, with a palette that's infused with earthy, neutral tones - showing our growing appreciation for the earth and its resources. Wood tones are reflected in beiges and browns and offset by soft golden metallics, such as Resene Ignition. Neutrals, browns and beiges tend towards warmer, comforting variants, such as Resene Secret Road and Resene Fantail.

While grey is still very much in use, says Sarah, there is a slow move away from the grey family to browns, warm neutrals and mineral-inspired hues, including subtle flesh tones, such as Resene Half Rickshaw. "Rather than using the battleship greys, people are using softer greys such as Resene Tapa and teaming it up with fresh whites like Resene Thorndon Cream," says Sarah.

Off-whites are pure and uncomplicated, and there is a definite comeback of cool white, such as Resene Barely There, as a background neutral. Plain white, such as Resene Half Alabaster, is clean and elegant, a stark contrast to the growing range of blacks, such as Resene Black Sheep and Resene Blackout.

Cosy, casual elegance, stability and familiarity are key trends for 2012, with comfort playing a leading role. And that translates to the old adage 'home is where the heart is'. As many of us choose to stay put in this uncertain economic climate, our homes are well and truly becoming our sanctuaries.

"Everyone is just tired of the uncertainty that we are surrounded with, but the one thing that people can control is their immediate environment," says Wendy. "We're wanting to lift our spirit and get some positiveness back into our day, and that is achieved well through the use of colour."

Colour is the catalyst that sparks hope and optimism and The Range 2011/2012 will do just that. Available now from Resene ColorShops.

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