Color Forecasting

Learn about color forecasting and its impact on the home furnishings market.

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Ken Charbonneau feels particularly strong about bright, orange-based red, which livens up this bedroom on an accent wall and in the comforter at the foot of the bed.

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  1. Color

Color Forecasting

The Interiors Committee of The Color Association of the Unites States is the oldest color forecasting service in America. This is where experts from every area of home decor, the "color czars," come together once a year to create a palette of the hottest colors, which will be used in home furnishings across the United States for the next two years.

Forecaster Ken Charbonneau, a member of the committee for more than 20 years, explains how he gathers information to create the palettes of colors he presents each year. With another meeting coming up, he's under the gun to choose what he believes are the most popular colors to present at the gathering. Charbonneau visits many stores in New York City (he thinks store displays are a great way to get new color ideas for our homes) and also goes to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in his quest for the hottest colors in home furnishings. He then puts the finishing touches on his presentation. One color, a bright and bold red, will be sold the hardest to the committee as he believes it will be very popular in homes across America two years from now.

The annual forecast meeting of The Color Association of The United States finally comes to order and each color czar presents the colors they feel will be the most popular in home decor over the next couple years. Then they battle it out to pick the 44 that make it onto the final palette. It's a process of consensus and, after much debate, they all agree on the final choices. Each shade will be printed onto a palette and distributed to thousands of retailers, home furnishing designers and manufacturers, influencing everything we buy for our homes for the next two years.

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Horn and her team created a helpful color guide to provide customers with all the combinations they need to make blue a major accent in their home.

Paint

Color Director Doty Horn explains how hot new colors are developed at Benjamin Moore paints and Carl Minchew, Director of Color Technology, shows how they're perfected and maintained in their color assurance lab. Horn has to be in tune with all the other related products to make sure they have the right paint colors to go with the latest fabrics, carpet, laminate, furniture and even lighting available.

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This general pattern is close to 50 years old, but the bold colors are all about today's traditional customer.

Area Rugs

Elizabeth Miller of Karastan Carpets explains how new colors are used in designing fine carpets and rugs. Rugs can take up to two years to produce, so she needs to know what colors will be popular far in advance. Color is the natural way to give the new customer a classic product in a fresh way so it doesn't look like something their grandmother would have.

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Sometimes a name change is all it takes. "Avocado" green was very big in the '70s and has enjoyed renewed popularity as "wasabi."

The Language of Color

Lisa Herbert, Senior VP of Pantone, explains how her company creates colors for companies like Barbie, Tiffany and Coca-Cola. Herbert describes how each color is trademarked and translates across every country in the world. She also discusses how colors are named and sometimes renamed in order to keep them popular.

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