Accent Color and Color Trends


If Accent color is power – the greatest power lies in the use of the hottest colors. Accent color is the designer’s best and most persuasive weapon against color hesitation. Discretion with color can definitely the better part of design valor, and a little color can be used judiciously to create a design that most would describe as very colorful.

neutrals comprise the larger area, yet color dominates – image via peppermintblisscom

The promise of color restraint is a style carrot that cajoles and coaxes even the color-resistant out into the lime light of discovery. With all that color out there, picking and assembling specific shades of colors that will both speak to you in a language that your room design can interpret can be pretty daunting – this is where color trends come in very handy. It’s not so much a matter of needing to religiously prescribe to what forecasters are encouraging you to do….but taking some inspirational guidance from color gurus is not different from taking any other expert advise that assists you in making . People who eat sleep and breath color and can save you a great deal of time and stress you might otherwise waste on experimentation. Let’s start with accents involving color whose color temperature is in the cooler range – yes, that would be the colors we think of as warm to hot shades. Color temperature is amongst those facts that the human brain can’t process easily. Red is the first thing the brain sees, yet reds orange and yellows in the light range are the coolest in temperature.

Benjamin Moore recently published a vignette of popular paint shades that provide insight and direction into making the most effective use of accent color for your room designs.

Popular Benjamin Moore Reds – image via Nuance Magazine

Reds (which include the Fuchsia range) and oranges are a tricky group. Hot colors work like laser pointers in any design – the eye will automatically follow red, irrespective of other colors in your palette so you should use red deliberately to guide the eye.

image below via Pinterest by Jodi McKee

(If you are intrigued by the accents below, just click the links under the image)

Orange is a favorite of many designers, like Thomas Paul who told me that orange colorways in his collection always do well, in part because orange photographs so well. Red is a bit coyer on camera, as it’s a transparent color by nature. This comes as no surprise to painters. On walls this temperamental color diva can require five coats in certain blue ranges to reach opacity. Orange takes its better opacity from its yellow parent, which dominates the mix in most orange shades – but as accents like rugs, wall art and small furnishings they play exceptionally well in the sand box and even people who are phobic of bright color feel comfortable in a room where some bright colors define while held at bay.

There are certain images worth using twice – this mod color blocked living room is a less in how the brain processes color fields. The eye will go to reds firsts and then scoot straight to yellow.

image via Elle Decor Spain

and again – the eye goes to red like a bullet and then follows the yellow brick road…..

pvc pipe vases via

Yellow is one of the nest accent colors out there, and it ranges in application from shades that are semi-opaque, making it really beautiful in transparent applications to creamier butter tones that cover in one coat as a painted color.

Benjamin Moore’s popular yellows for the past 3 years – image via Behjamin Moore’s Nuance Magazine.

image (below)

Yellow is one of my favorite accents, because you get a big bang even in small application. The color of the sun that we all owe our continued existence to, this color is read by most people as very positive and energetic. Yellow accents provide fabulous movement to interior design and to art, and easily dominate cooler (or is that hotter?) tones.

image via Artful Harvest à la parisienne, pinned on Pinterest by Lisa Hewitt

Even if you are afraid of color, make it work at home by following in the footprint of this well-traveled design path:

1) Taking some inspiration from the hot (yet cool) Benjamin Moore shades guaranteed to perform

2) Use the color chips to blend with inspiration from images you love the color palettes that speak most clearly to you.

3) Target your accents using your inspiration.

4) Find your percentage base of color comfort – most people range between 10% – 30%

5) Use a neutral background – gray ranges and white always work. This is the color mortar for your accents.

6) Don’t leave the ceiling white! Choose a softer gradient of your least prominent accent color on the ceiling.

7) …and finish with some sparkle – luster-ware, gold, silver or colored matallic accents are the jewelry of your room ensemble. A little color goes a long way!