Chocolate is no longer just a temptation for the taste buds. This color has taken its cue from the fashion runway and is appearing in great rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms across America.
Rich colors like chocolate brown, eggplant, and burnt red are ultra popular in home dÈcor. And, while dark, they’re still great for light and breezy summer, especially when they’re teamed with softer colors like aqua blue, silver, baby pink, camel, white, yellow, and pale green. “When introduced in these combinations, the popular colors like chocolate can give your favorite living spaces style and warmth without overwhelming a room,” said Cindy Anderson and Gretchen Loch-Reines, co-owners of Kerkhoff Interiors of De Pere.
These colors are appearing with increased frequency not only on walls, but also in fabrics, artwork, flooring, and accents. And you don’t have to re-do an entire room to get in on the summer dÈcor trends. “You can keep your basic pieces, such as your sofa and table, and just introduce a few new pieces to rejuvenate your room and give it a fresh, updated look [in time for summer], said Loch-Reines.
Seeing red…or terra cotta,…or burgundy
It’s not uncommon to gravitate toward neutral colors like tans and beiges in your dÈcor. But while these earthtones continue to be mainstays in every room’s dÈcor this season, you can easily jazz up a room by adding a splash of trendy colors in the form of pillows, throws, colored glass vases, candles, rugs, artwork, or floral arrangements. “You don’t have to change everything in a room for a fresh, new look,” said Anderson. If your living area is currently a blend of tans or beiges, consider adding some burnt red pillows, a red chair, or some eye-popping red sheer curtains for a pop of color. Or add a metal plate in a stand, paint one wall in silver, or add an iridescent floor vase to incorporate metallics into your color palette.
“Reds are hot, hot, hot,” said Loch-Reines. “Rich reds, burgundies, and Bordeaux are among the most popular colors, making an appearance in furniture, wall coverings, fabrics, and rugs. It’s fun and cheerful when paired with yellow and looks great with all woods and the earth-toned core pieces that many people have in their living areas.”
Hues of blue aren’t far behind in popularity, making an appearance not only on walls, but also increasingly underfoot.
What’s underfoot – hardwood and the blues
For households seeking a soft feel under their feet, FriezÈ carpet is a popular choice, particularly in bark, caramel, and other browns, as well as green-blue and azure-blue. “These colors are very warm, and yet very classic-looking,” said Barbara Hoffman, Home Interiors of Green Bay. The yarns in this carpet are tightly twisted to create a curly, textured appearance. A soothing hue, blue is terrific for a bedroom, family room or personal retreat.
But carpeting is increasingly giving away to an array of hardwood floors that make a casual and welcoming statement in kitchens, living rooms, and more. More and more homes are featuring the rustic, weathered, and antique looks only hardwood flooring can provide. Some wood manufacturers are even hand beveling and distressing wood plants to create an aged appearance, said Hoffman.
And the move is on from the traditional oak, cherry, and pine and toward maple, bamboo, and other exotic woods that add a bit of flair to a room. “People are gravitating toward rustic looks that reflect variations found in nature, and mixing things up with a variety of woods in a room,” said Hoffman. “Before, people wanted their floors to match their dining room table and their cabinetry perfectly. Now, we’re mixing woods for a more personal look.”
“Things that were fringe items 20 years ago are now becoming staples – such as the use of Brazilian cherry and bamboo,” she added.
Both hardwood and porcelain tile, another popular floor choice, lend themselves to creating an easy-breezy summer look. They are an excellent backdrop for light-colored throw rugs, terra cotta planters, topiaries, and other greenery. People are gravitating toward darker tiles, such as caramels and brown tones, and teaming them with darker grout. One of Home Interiors’ most popular porcelain tiles teams beige, gray, and caramel colors, allowing for versatility in the punches of color a homeowner wishes to add to the room.
“The nice thing is that there are more choices in flooring than ever,” said Hoffman. “And people are expressing their personalities in their homes, dressing their homes as they would dress themselves.”
Accent on accents
You can transform a room from its winter look to a summer one much like you would your wardrobe – remove the reminders of winter and introduce lighter and airier pieces for summer. This may include removing heavy draperies in favor of sheers or linen drapes (or none at all), removing heavy accent pieces and other clutter; swapping dark flower arrangements for ones featuring the brighter colors of spring; removing heavy throws; introducing lighter-color throw pillows, slipcovers for the sofa and loveseat or a new duvet/coverlet for the bed; adding greenery, and introducing additional sources of light.
“Whenever possible, bring the outdoors in – with a small herb garden, planters, and other greenery,” said Loch-Reines.
Metallic accents, such as a metallic vase or plate on a stand, or clear vases or lamps can introduce and/or reflect light in a room. “Clear pieces, especially ones made of glass such as a bowl, table lamp base, or vase, makes for an easy room update for summer,” Loch-Reines added.
And there’s nothing that says summer quite like a plant or a flower arrangement. Becky Seidl, owner/designer at Petals and Stems of Green Bay says that tall, slender glass vases featuring a few flowers continues to be a very popular accessory for summer. Customers are also ordering custom-made silk arrangement and silk wreathes featuring lighter and brighter colors, such as apple green, terra cotta, and pinks of all shades, to add a bright spot to their dÈcor. “These types of arrangements work with most everyone’s dÈcor and give a room a bright, sunny look,” said Seidl. Swapping out a piece of artwork over the fireplace, wreath on the front door, or silk flower arrangement on the sofa table with one featuring more lively and brighter colors is a great way to “summerize” a room.
“Introducing just a few new pieces can transform a semi-chromatic room,” said Anderson. “Think about what you want to be each room’s focal points – such as above the fireplace – and concentrate your efforts there.”
Not everyone can afford to purchase an entire new room of furniture to transform a room’s look. That’s why many interior decorators recommend adding one piece of furniture of interest, such as a red chair for a pop of color, or using slipcovers or accent pieces to make the biggest impact in a room for a nominal investment.