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Color Trends for 2006

What colors will our homes be wearing in 2006? Color expert and forecaster Aimee Desrosiers gives us a peek at the colorful future.

If you want to see what’s happening in the color world — home fashion or otherwise — where do you look? Well, hold on to your chair, says color expert and forecaster Aimee Desrosiers of California Paints: today’s (and tomorrow’s) colors are heavily influenced by the youth market. Think skateboards, snowboards and Japanese anime. "Just take a look at the designs on a snowboard and you’ll see some of the dramatic colors, like a toxic green, that are heading our way at home," Desrosiers says.

Some very in-your-face colors are already showing up in shockingly bright clothing, from Kelly green jackets
from Abercrombie and American Eagle to recreation vehicles in startling shades of blue. Some of California Paints' new offerings, Frenzy, Hyper and Lava Lamp, for instance, echo that trend. They’re pumped-up edgy colors that are definitely not for the faint of heart, says Desrosiers.

Not only that, it’s flashback time—to the '80s, no less. "Just like in that decade, we’re seeing yellows and grays together," she says. "Gray is being paired with a lot of colors. And the blue and green combinations are a lot like the '80s, too." And that color we used to call mauve? It, too, will be back, but with a new hip name (Thistle? Violet?) and in combination with some new colors.

Here, Desrosiers comments on other color trends:

Purple Moves in on Pink
"We’re starting to see a decline in pink. It’s been a prominent color, but it is heading more toward violet and orchid. Some of the paler shades of purple will start to replace pink," she says. Real purple is also on the rise. "We’ve seen purple browned-down to aubergine the past few years, but it’ll be back soon—in full strength," says Desrosiers.

Red and Orange Merge
Reds and oranges were both big last year and will continue to be popular (especially red-hot lipstick hues). But look for orange taking the upper hand in the rise of orangey-red. "By the end of 2006, we’ll be seeing some very rich and vivid orange-reds, like the color of a blood orange," says Desrosiers, who acknowledges that some of the ways orange is being used are pretty radical. "Some of it is on the cutting edge, but a few years from now when it has been on clothing and soft goods for a while, we’ll be more used to it." And orange also means coral and apricot, she points out. "We’re not just talking about carrot orange. There is a wide range in the orange family for home use. Of if you look at the popular ethnic reds—they have a lot of orange in them."

Brown Gets Even Sexier
The popularity of brown will continue to grow. "People are tapping in the sensuality of brown. When you think of brown as stockings or foundation powder or dark roast coffee—you get the feeling of the richness of it and how warm and sensuous it can be," she says. And not just on paint: "Brown is big in all design areas; watch for more complex woods and finishes being used," she says. Look for everything from flooring to wood furniture to have a deep complicated finish with more grain and character.

Ethnic Influence Remains Strong
The melting-pot nature of America is apparent in the way we’re embracing styles and colors from all over the world. "Global design continues to influence colors for the new year," Desrosiers says. The rise in high-chroma yellow and gold are part of this trend.

Anne Krueger is the editor of HGTV.com’s Decorating newsletter. She has written for In Style, This Old House, Martha Stewart Living and The New York Times.

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