Real Estate

Pro Tips: Color conspiracy

Curated colors may not fit your personal style

Have you ever wondered why everywhere you look, there is the same color shown in furnishings, appliances and decor? Are you tired of gray carpets, gray sofas, gray wall colors and gray and white stone? This isn't a coincidence, but rather an organized process curated by a selected few.

Every four years the International Colour Organization meets and presents their individual predictions. This is an invitation-only membership, and panelists are voted in by their peers. The panel is comprised of experts from all fields who have an understanding of color. New selections are inspired by elements from nature, a piece of wallpaper or a woven textile. Labels to describe the new colors could refer to the environment or international social commentary. The total offerings of the members are edited and comprise the next color forecast.

The group was originally formed to help retailers avoid costly mistakes with unsold merchandise, but since then has set precedence in home finishes, furniture, accessories and even cars. Fashion continues to have their own forecasting advisory group as the industry moves at a rapid pace, and relies on short-lived styles to generate high turnover and commerce.

The result of these coordinated color forecasts are generated across a broad spectrum for our industry. For the home, this may include kitchen and bathroom countertops and floors, bedroom furnishings and linens, living room and family room furniture and window covering. Appliances are also coordinated with the forecast colors. Magazines, ads for real estate sales and any items that are featured for the home are also shown in prescribed environments.

What does this mean for the interior design industry? I still believe that certain principles and fundamentals of good design are timeless, and not all trends or color forecasts are appropriate for every space. Is a well-designed room in good taste because it aligns with the current forecast? Or, would we expect a room to be well-designed because it addresses the individuality of the space with selections that are perfectly tailored, regardless if it is on-trend? I would say that while color forecasting may work for large retailers, it is better to select colors that are personal favorites or that are an extensions of your surrounding environment. A home is your personal expression, and you have a choice in your selection. It could be warm, cool, neutral or vibrant. Colors could be layered. Colors can be highlighted in rugs, furnishings or art work.

In 2016, we can expect to see a shift to warmer shades, with pastels, olive green and ruby accents. This may or may not be your preference, and again, I am an advocate for making selections that are personal and not limited by trends.


This article appeared in print in the Winter Home + Garden Design 2016 publication.


Risë Krag, ASID, associate AIA, IESGG, is the founder of RKI Interior Design, a full-service interior-design firm. She can be reached at 650-854-9090. Design problems can be sent directly to

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