Interior Trends 2012 – The Anatomy of GREAT Design – Part 2

Understanding the wiley ways of color make working with it not as daunting a task.

Some Colors that include Some of the Pantone 2012 Forecast range.

For those of you just tuning in, this is part 2 is a short article series about what I feel are the 4 basic elements of great design. I am dissecting the February 2012 issue of Veranda Magazine, which is a handy primer for all points. Shape was discussed in part 1, today is about color, and balance (which is at the foundation of composition, governing flow and and rhythm), the use of space – plus our ad-hock compliment to the basics – the unexpected. Meshing Veranda Magazine’s Cover with the interior Vetruvian Man, below, is an effort to break it down into accessible terms, for which I beg Mr Da Vinci‘s indulgence.

The Interior Vetruvian Man – Drawing by Leonardo

About Color –

Color can be used to accomplish many design goals, and is an enormous if not always acknowledged contributor to our sense of overall being – both good and bad. I am going to skip right over the individual psychological implications per color, as that is not where I am going with this and go to the heart of the matter. Each of you who view the examples below will feel something different from the next reader, although at the end of the day you will find yourself in groups of varying proportions with likened design fellows.

Look at these examples, and try to ignore the focal points – look at the dominant color field and consider how it makes you feel.

Red – Orange Saturation – room image from Pantone’s website; Pantone Tangerine Tango, 2012 Color of the Year

Red – Violet Saturation Room image from desire-to-inspire blog

Teal Saturated Space, The Room image is either House Beatiful or Elle Decor

Vivid Yellow Sturation – Room image from meghan-blum.blogspot

Saturated Mint Green Walls, room image from Martha Stewart’s website

Fuchsia Saturated Kitchen – image from Breathe Decor

The images above depict the potential of an innocent paint lid color when applied to an entire room – this is the foundation for fear of color. What makes people so resistant to the use of vivid color? The answer is proportion, plain and simple.

If you read this blog, you will indulge the repetition of the 60/30/10 rule. This is the convention that designers use to describe the proportionate opportunities for the introduction of color in most rooms. I am not in love with this rule of thumb. In my view, a room is a cube, including 6 walls which obviously contribute to the ratio of color, but for the sake of demonstration, conventional wisdom will do….

60% walls / 30% Furnishings / 10% Accents is the conventional wisdom.

Veranda February 2012 Cover Color Palette

About 30% of this room is given over to the lively palette of this design, grounded by the creamy wall color, the taupes in the floor, and the black within the fields of color (both art and upholstery). But there’s more – by allowing each color in the vivid color palette the designers chose to occupy about 10% of the overall 30% color area, they have made very minute applications of vivid color go a long way! This is the foundation for creating your comfort zone with color, if you are not one of those people who would give an arm for one of the saturated spaces above – that would account for 80% – 85% of you, statistically.

This is still allot of vivid color for most people – there is no right or wrong to your comfort zone – this is completely subjective and open to individual interpretation. Let’s pair back the color noise – 10% would look more like this: