Soothing pastels are this year’s top colors

  • By Stacy Downs The Kansas City Star
  • Wednesday, January 23, 2013 3:25pm
  • Life

Hard times call for soft colors.

American paint companies chose soothing pastels as their go-to hues for the new year.

For Sherwin-Williams it’s Aloe, a minty green with a 1950s vibe. Benjamin Moore selected Lemon Sorbet, a citrus shade slightly brighter than cream that also has a nostalgic look.

“It’s not only a softening of the palette, but a softening of the lines in design,” said Sonu Mathew, senior interior designer for Benjamin Moore.

“There’s more tactility in fabrics and surfaces. We’ll find things that shimmer and shine next to things that are dead matte.

“These pastels won’t look wimpy. They’ll be paired with edgier brights and deep saturated colors. Aloe with chartreuse and coral, for example. Lemon Sorbet with peach and raspberry,” Mathew said.

Yellow represents optimism, “and as the world seems to be gradually turning the corner on recessionary times, this whispery tint of the color is timely and evocative of the uptick,” Mathew said.

How to use it: Create a palette of three to five colors, Mathew said, and allow one or two colors to take the lead in each room or space.

Lemon Sorbet can serve as a backdrop for striking color.

Or, in a gray room, use Lemon Sorbet on the ceiling for an unexpected punch. It also could be used to paint chairs, tables or bookcases for pops of color.

Best bets: Kitchen, dining room and playroom.

Kansas City designer Lisa Schmitz is using Lemon Sorbet an accent with warm gray and muted gray-purple. “The soft yellow adds brightness without being too bold,” Schmitz said.

Aloe by Sherwin-Williams is also a pastel, a nostalgic nod to the mid-20th century.

“This is no ordinary pastel: Aloe is funky and glamorous, demure and free-spirited,” said Sherwin-Williams’ director of color marketing, Jackie Jordan.

“While Aloe’s vibe can verge on retro, when paired with caviar blacks, crisp whites or soft grays, suddenly Aloe has a new soul and attitude,” she said.

Designers are also digging this shade of green. The Kate Spade brand is pairing it with coral. In a recent interview, designer Jonathan Adler says the green color of Claridge’s luxury hotel in London — reminiscent of Aloe — is his current favorite.

How to use it: As an entire wall color.

For a tranquil aesthetic, Jordan recommends using Aloe with natural textiles, tarnished metals and warm wood tones in light to medium finishes.

For an energetic look, she suggests combining Aloe with vintage chartreuse, floral lilacs and vivid corals.

Best bet: A bedroom or bathroom, but the tub area only. “I’d steer clear of the sink area,” Jordan said. “It’s probably not the best color for skin tones.”

In a dining room use it with modern black and white accents.

Paint the walls Aloe in a gender-neutral nursery and add periwinkle and lavender accents to make it feminine, or yellows and grays for masculine look, Jordan said.

Schmitz says Aloe is beautiful set against Carrara marble and stainless steel with hot pink or coral accents. She calls it retro without harking back to the pale pink accents of the 1950s.

Simple color rules

Yellows (like Lemon Sorbet) go well with greens and oranges. Blues and yellows — complementary colors — create a classic interior combination for an upbeat, fresh environment.

Green (like Aloe) is often used like a neutral color to balance a room since certain shades of green can go with almost any other color.

Source: “The Color Scheme Bible” by Anna Starmer ($19.95)

Choosing a shade

Grab a stack of paint chips and take them home. Fan them out and weed out the ones that don’t appeal.

Look in a mirror and hold paint chips near your face. Some, especially those with too much blue, don’t complement skin tones.

Buy a sample can and paint a test board. Move it around the room at different times of the day to make sure it’s what you like.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read