Interior Design Trends 2012 – Chartreuse!
No, really! I am not under the influence, but this vivacious color truly is…
Grab your favorite caffeinated beverage; it’s time for some color theory! No, don’t leave – this is must know stuff if you plan on embracing this season’s chartreuse and acidy greens with any hope that it’s going to work in your room! The key to making chartreuse work is understanding chroma….
chroma – chromatic purity: freedom from dilution with white and hence vivid in hue.
The 19th century explanation of color mixing related to a foundation of six complementary hues. Now this is more fine arts than walls, but design principles imitate art frequently. To translate this long-winded theorem into practical and provable application, yellow paint would have to transformed into a material that reflects primarily “yellow” light. But that’s not how yellow works…
This theory described the light mixture reflected from yellow paint as “red” and “green” as if it were a color mixture comprised of yellow mixed with some green ( as is chartreuse). This traditional color theory relied on paint mixing calculus.
The the mixer “deconstructs” the visual color of the paints into the six traditional pure colors at the foundation of color mixing – the primaries – red, yellow, blue – and the secondary colors; orange, green, and purple. Complementary colors are colors situated directly opposite of one another on the color wheel. I promise that I have a point…stay with me!
These pure hues if mixed in a 50-50 part ratio cancel each other out and become absolute neutrals – that is to say, gray. Yellow cancels violet, orange cancels blue, red cancels green – in each case resulting in a shade of gray. It follows then, via conventional wisdom that if orange is mixed with yellow, and a green blue, that the orange cancels the blue to produce gray, and this gray will dull the mixture of green and yellow that remains. That is allot to take in, but trust me….However, “yellow light plus some green light” is not what appears in the reflective curve of a saturated yellow paint – which reflects nearly all the incident “red”, “orange”, “yellow” and “green” light. This is necessary for the yellow to create “attractive subtractive” color mixtures. I know…get to the point!
If we take traditional color theory at its word, then the result should be some pure yellow that reflects only visual yellow light. In the reflective spectrum however such a material appears not to exist, but using the available tools of colorimetry to specify what such a “perfect yellow” material would look like, the theoretical yellow actually turns out to be a deep chartreuse, infused with umber! (just above, left).
The more that saturated yellows mix into saturated green, (particularly in areas oriented to a strong natural light source) the more it screams. This transform a a really potentially beautiful color with a unique color story into a hot mess that few people could find comforting for the long or any term.
I am color-blinded by science!
Let’s take cut back the Chroma, to create some spaces that you’re not using as a green-screen to shoot the sequel of Avatar….
Pantone created a palette that solves the problem by combining that strong green amid other clear color voices and modest chroma ratios.
But to understand why it works, take away the color to find the balance.
Gradating strong colors in very dark to light hues provides contrast, that takes the emphasis away from that green, changing it from a screaming mezzo soprano to a soloist amidst a harmonious quartet.
Here’s how it works in application, using the 60/30/10 rule:
At 100% saturation mixing chroma chartreuse with both bluer and redder greens.
At 30% contrasted with the raw woods raw wood accents.
Occupying 10% of your room’s color landscape in the form of accents.
Chartreuse in combination with black and white (the gray-scale counterpart of Pantone Spring Fashion palette) acts like a laser pointer to your focal point, but….
Turn the ratios around, and black and white create a stunning focal point by moving chartreuse to the backdrop, like the room below. This is my favorite Candice Olson re-do; a plexiglass feature wall dominates an “apple green” (Benjamin Moore) wall with a black and white custom 3M rub-off decal motif – gorgeous!
You can’t see it well, but that small acid green feature wall was flanked by black silk and gray wall color, before I added the toned-down olive-green painted dresser. It’s fabulous in person!
Mix up the green families to create uniform conversations, or scale back your saturation levels to tame that beautiful but domineering chartreuse.
I love this color, so you see it represented on its best behavior at MyHomeFaceLift.com!
The grassy green of 2013 are in too, like this brand new Design Legacy Pillow!
- Definition: Chartreuse (fabsugar.com)
- Color Trends 2012 – 2013 – Yellows Again! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Color Trends 2012 – Elemental Greens! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- New! 2012 Pantone Color of the Year – Tangerine Tango! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- New! Benjamin Moore 2013 Color Trends Predictions! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Add Color Without Paint: Saturated Seating Renters Solutions (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Color Theory: Undertones in Paint Colors (kothea.com)