Summer / Spring 2012 Color Trends – Subtleties

As promised, here’s a look at those 9 exciting new Pantone Color Palettes, one at a time.

Viewed all at once, collections can feel un-readable, lacking context or focus. Breaking large concepts into parts that combined create a sum greater than the separate parts is referred to as “Gestalt”. Design gestalt is the goal with any grouping of colors and elements. Let’s start with the “subtleties” color group.

Creating context is the inspirational first step of any great design. When you make color trend personal by using it to define the space that defines you, it becomes yours – as does its color story. First impressions are everything with color – so look at the pallet, close your eyes and consider the first image this color group evokes.

My first impressions of the subtleties pallet is, not ironically, that of a Japanese Garden.

A Japanese Garden is my inspiration for using the “subtleties” pallet

Japanese Garden precepts speak to precisely the color influences of the subtleties palette. Japanese Gardens have a design canon, favoring specialized groups of flowering trees, shrubs, and evergreen foliage that paint a myriad of greens. There is usually a pond or water feature, and blues are brought into the color story in the form of sky reflected in water. This too resonates with the 2012 surface trends, combining reflective and matt surfaces, with transparent layers.

Using the influence of a Japanese garden does not need to tie your feet to a literal interpretation, nor imply a theme  – remember Design Gestalt. One way to begin your design story is wall color.

See the influence? While the style and nutmeg walls of from the subtleties pallet don’t imply a Japanese theme, they don’t need to – many elements of the design are rooted in our Japanese inspiration.

Instead of sky, the subtleties blues and greens are seen in form of decorative wall plates (much like lily pads). Clean lines prevail throughout, with pinks seen in repeated floral arrangments in modern glass vases. The texture of the cream flokati area rug resembles the texture found in the raked white stones characteristic to Japanese Gardens. The rug appears to float on the dark hardwood floors, (almost as on water) and crystal adds a “subtle” hint of sparkle (see resources below).

Maybe you relate to the cooler and lighter tones of the subtleties pallet, finding peace in the harmonies of the blues and greens:

Cooler blues and warmer greens co-exist in nature and in this transitional living room

The love affair between the subtleties pallet and our Japanese Garden inspiration is equally represented in cooler color groups as well (albeit missing pinks which is a personal choice). Design Gestalt creates harmony greater than the sum of its parts in this space, where “God” is in the details. Black accents hold hands throughout, uniting sofa pillow, a leather ottoman, sofa legs, a modern square lamp shade and a stunning greek key detail finishing mossy green curtain panels. The panel detail relates in harmony to the trellis patterned rug, while a symphony of reflective, and transparent surfaces create sparkle, finishing with a flourish of blooming branches for a japanese garden vibe (see resources for rugs).

A room inclusive of an Asian theme, taking inspiration from our subtleties pallet

The design above invokes distinct Asian influence taking a color cue from “Fair Green” in our palette (top), one of many Japanese Garden greens. Adding shape and low profile furnishings to our color palllet, also evokes the Japanese Garden influence:

The combined influences of our color pallet, garden, and style join forces in this space

Both our subtleties pallet and garden Japanese Garden inspiration feature a combinations of rose to bordeaux shades that can move greens and browns to the supporting cast of your color story, with all spectacle that our garden influence offers:

subtleties rosy reds and mossy greens are true the colors of Japanese Gardens

The room at left (above) gets its rosy glow from Benjamin Moore authentic pink. I believe the room ar right is Linda Woodruff’s design for a guest bedroom for HGTV’s Dream Home near Santa Fe, NM. Although they differ dramatically in style, they find kinship in the subtleties / Japanese Garden inspiration.

There is more than one way to skin a trend – if drenching a room in yummy wall color to take home new color trends is not your style, not to worry – 8 pallets and lots of other ways to go!