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Colour Trends

Colour Trends Now – Get your Questions Answered

By 03/15/2010January 28th, 201719 Comments

I’m Coastal Home Magazine’s Designer-of-the-Day on their Facebook Fan Page this week.

Click here to post your question in the comments.

This is the question they asked me to start!

[CH] As an interior designer and color specialist, how do you think color affects people’s lives? What are some of the color trends now, and what do they say, if anything, about our collective mood?

I think most people love colour! Colour creates a feeling so when it’s wrong it’s very upsetting! I met one of my very stylish readers this weekend in New York and she told me she had decorated her last apartment in black and white because she was afraid of making a mistake with colour even though she loves it!


In terms of colour trends, colour is definitely moving to fresh and clean! We have been painting our homes in earth tones and spicy shades for more 30 years and I think consumers are ready for a change.

In my experience, the pendulum always swings in the opposite direction. If I’m in a client’s bedroom who has been looking at striped drapery for 10 years, she doesn’t want to see any stripes when selecting something new.

If we have been living in a dark space with dramatic colours, we start to crave light and bright.


A reporter recently asked me why rainbows make people happy?

Basically the answer comes down to that ‘The Colours of a rainbow are happy because they are bright and fresh!’ If someone asked me for a happy blue, I would show them a clean periwinkle blue not a grayed blue.

Even though people are craving fresh because we’ve been looking at ‘earth tones’ for so long it’s no coincidence that we need and want happy colours right now because of the current economy!

Bottom line though, colour trends are just that! If you love earth tones, don’t worry about the trend! (And read the attached comments for how to introduce fresher colours with earth tones).

Post your colour questions here all this week!

Need help choosing the right neutral or colour?  My How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s all in the Undertones ebook takes the hundreds of choices down to 9 neutral undertones along with list of all my other go-to best grays, broken down into 3 undertones, green, blue and purple. The beige undertones of pink, yellow, green, gold, orange and taupe along with the best greens and blues. 

My bonus book of  colours is worth the price of the ebook alone but you will also get my system of understanding undertones so you can stop making mistakes when sourcing tile, carpet, countertops, etc.

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

Why do Rainbows make People feel Happy?

Why are we so Afraid of Colour?

Colour Trends for 2010

If you are new to this blog, click hereto see the Best of Colour Me Happy

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  • Charlotte's Color Specialist says:

    Maria, what color would you recommend for people who want to explore some of the new fresh and clean colors but the rest of their decor remains in dated colors and styles? If they have an open floor plan?

  • Tammy@InStitches says:

    Are there any colors that are clean and happy but also warm ?

  • ashlina says:

    i am loving blue right now. the march HOUSE BEAUTIFUL is all about blue..some great images in there…

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Tammy,
    Clean and Happy colours fall into every category. I mentioned blue because I thought it was a good way of describing that blue can be happy and fresh just like any other colour!
    Take the colour wheel just like it is (before you muddy the colours) and all those colours would be considered 'happy'.
    Hope this helps!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Donna,
    It's hard to give a general answer without a specific 'for instance' however I just decorated a new home that had already been painted in spicy earth tones. since the home was brand new and freshly painted when they moved in they did not want to re-paint but where looking to me for a 'fresher palette'. The green I chose for their sofa's was still far from the 'grayed greens' from 2002 (before brown got so hot) but certainly not as clean and fresh as the greens in the loft I decorated last year (on my website).

    The pendulum swings to more clean or more dirty on every colour, you can't stick a kelly green cushion on a butterscotch coloured sofa but it doesn't have to be a dirty/grayed green either.

    I would say if you are changing your kitchen/great room, or living room and you want to introduce fresh colours, then you just need to understand that you are 'moving forward' with something new and it will not flow with the rest of your house (depending on how fresh you want to go).

    As long as you are decorating your house with a plan (since we can't all re-decorate everything at once) and knowing that it's not all going to flow (at the same time) if you want to introduce a new trend, then in my opinion that works. It's when it happens by accident without a plan that upsets people.

    Hope this very long answer helps!

  • Kate says:

    Congrats on being Coastal Home Magazine’s Designer-of-the-Day on their Facebook Fan Page. xo Kate

  • Annie @ The House That Jade Built says:

    I used to have a very spice toned house and I loved it. However, when we built – I wanted it all gone & I went with bold and happy colors & I am thrilled with the result. My house always surprises people when the come in b/c it's so unusual, but they always love it too 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh no, I can't access Facebook!! I hope you'll consider re-posting the Q&As you get here?

    Love your blog and look forward to your new posts:)

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    I met with a client today who used the words fresh and clean. We chose a couple pale, really pale blues with hints of green in them. She loved them. I will see her again to stage the house for photos. I will try to post them on my site. Have a great week.

  • Beth Bates says:

    Since we're talking "Coastal," I have a color question referencing pages 42-43 of the March 2010 issue of Coast Living. Would a blue, maybe grayer than Old Pickup Blue work on the back of a peninsula/counter bar with the fronts of cabinets that are Kraftmaid Pewter with Graphite Glaze? I'm going for "beachy."

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Beth,
    Is there a way to see these pages on-line? I don't have that issue in my big pile 🙂

  • Nancy@marcusdesign says:

    You're so right, it is very easy to follow the trends but it feels so good when you just surround yourself with colors that make you happy even though they may or may not be "in!"

  • Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll says:

    Congrats! Can't wait to check it out. Hope you have a great week.

  • DesignTies says:

    Have fun reading and answering all the colour questions 🙂


  • traci zeller designs says:

    Congrats, Maria!!! What an honor … and you are the perfect person to offer advice!!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    It was so fun to read the Q & A. Maria, the design & colour expert. How fun is that?

  • Tara says:

    Yes, when you have lived with a dark wood/brown colors you want a drastic change to light bright clean. I am in the process of doing this. And there are a few that come in and are not impressed with our decision–but they are stuck in the 90's.

  • harmony says:

    I really want to incorporate gray into my new home, but the carpet is camel (golden), trim off white and cream walls. I read your post about gray (which is great by the way) but do you have a specific color or suggestion on how to make this work?

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