Jane Lockhart Talks Color Tips

Interior designer Jane Lockhart tackles color-challenged rooms, one room at a time.

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Designer Jane Lockhart brings the color wheel to life in the show Get Color!.

What do green olives, pretzels, coffee beans and blue napkins have in common? They're all part of the color palette for a living room makeover in Jane Lockhart's Get Color! series. Jane, a veteran interior designer and color expert, takes the basic color wheel and gives it a custom whirl by creating palettes from inspirational items, such as colorful spices from the Orient, brilliant floral arrangements and other vivid displays of hue, including the premiere show's celebratory palette pulled from party foods and supplies.

HGTV.com talked with Lockhart about the power of color, color trends and how to banish color qualms.

What's the big deal with color? Why is it so important?
Expressing how you feel through color is a major aspect of home décor, with life, really. Color is why you buy one piece of jewelry and not another, one pair of jeans and not another. Much of why we select anything is based on color. And manufacturers know that. That's why we see the same item year after year, but in a new and different color.

Color is really an overlooked part of marketing. Sixty percent of the decision to buy is based on the color — not how did a piece of clothing look on the model, but did it come in the color you wanted. It's hugely important. Just go into a drug store and look in the toothpaste aisle at how long people spend going through the rack looking for their favorite color of toothbrush. Same with cars. Sure it's important what's under the hood, but what do folks think about? They think "Am I a red person or a silver person?" Companies like Volvo have even developed their own distinctive color palette for the Volvo driver.

People have an association to rooms because they don't like the color. They may not remember the color, but the impression stays with them.

How are colors changing?
Overall people want to know that neutrals are available, but they're looking for a little bit more energy. Through the '90s color was very quiet. We didn't see a lot of color; it was an age of little contrast. You can get bored of beige real quick. Now we're going back into a decade of much higher contrast and to get contrast you need brighter colors. There's been a reluctance to celebrate with color because of everything that's happened in the world, but in the past few years people have realized that they need to celebrate what they have and not what they don't have.

We're seeing a lot of hot colors now. Citrus colors like apples, oranges and green apples. And tropical colors, such as turquoise set against a background of neutrals. And the red these days is getting pinker and the green is getting greener. We still use all of the standby classic colors, but they're getting clearer, and the natural colors are brighter. Everything is a stronger version of what we've seen in the past.

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