Decorating: what’s in, what isn’t?

Decorating experts disagree about which colors are now “in” and which ones are “out”.

One online expert says that in 2012, people are more optimistic, so bold colors are “in”. Another expert says that decorative painted finishes are “out”. Another expert says that turquoise is no longer “in” while another says it is. Do people actually listen to all this?

Are red roses ever “in” or “out”? Perhaps if the boyfriend is “out”, the red roses are out too, but are the roses themselves ever not “in”?

One could argue that in the 1940’s and 50’s, the colors avocado and salmon were “in”. Does anyone remember living areas in expensive homes painted in avocado or salmon (which they sometimes were)…if so, what do you think of those colors now? It might be safe to say that, today, avocado and salmon aren’t as popular as, say, creamy yellow.

What makes a fad color and what makes a color that may be timeless?

Some may say that experts have their fingers on the pulse of modern society at a given time and are able to see the overview of where styles and colors are headed. This may be true in part. The experts would, no doubt agree with this.

It may also be likely that experts create fresh color choices and styles to enliven the market place and keep it moving.

What is also likely is that what is happening in the world at any given era fosters the societal mood or zeitgeist, which naturally creates popular new color choices and styles.

Truthfully, It’s never what is actually “in” or “out” which matters as much as it is how you do it. There are versions of colors which are rich, but not intense. They are colors that play well with other colors. Much like scents, moderation can make the difference whether a color has a more general appeal or if it is considered “too strong”.

How you put colors together is also a consideration, of course. There are dissonant chords in music which tend to grate on people’s nerves. Harmonies have a much wider appeal, whether they are minor or major chords.

Contrasts in color shades or “values” are also important to consider. Value is how light or dark a color is. Drastic contrasts between colors have less appeal in general than softer ones, although a harmony of colors which includes a value contrast may appeal to some people in some circumstances.

More important than what colors are considered to have mass appeal: intensity, harmony and value consistently play a major role in tasteful and successful color selecting, no matter what your basic color selection is… that is, until the experts tell us otherwise.

Leagh Janell is passionate about fine art and decorating. His 30 years as a fine artist and decorative artist for a high profile clientele have afforded him some authority in those fields. He presently writes for


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