Showroom Management: Color commentary -- Want to see more green? Start singing the blues ... and the reds and the pinks and the yellows ...
Given that color is such an important element to your business, let's talk about how you can entice customers with cutting-edge color in your showroom and become more knowledgeable about color trends that can help you sell your products.
First, you have to be comfortable with your knowledge of color. I'm not talking about a degree in color, just a general knowledge of what's going on with color trends. If you read shelter magazines like House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home or Elle Décor, you've probably seen articles on the subject. These periodicals are generally the leaders in the category of color and design for the home. Even if you don't subscribe to any magazines, just watch the newsstands and you will notice color as a major subject on the cover of many home furnishing magazines. Select a few of these issues several times a year to brush up on current trends. Generally, spring and fall are two of the best times to read about color.
You can also learn about color trends by shopping at furniture stores, kitchen and bath dealers and reading trade journals from these industries. By expanding your reading outside of the flooring industry you can gain first hand knowledge on the subject and perspective of how floor-covering materials fit into the general décor of the entire room. You can then use this knowledge to spice up your selling floor with colorful selections and win sales.
Increasingly, consumers have become more educated about design, and with that education comes a greater comfort level with the use of color. The result is that color is being used more creatively in the home. Not just color as accents, but as full-fledged color expanses. That is why we are seeing colors in kitchens and baths that are vivid, clear and more chromatic than ever before. You can now actually categorize rooms as "a yellow kitchen" or "an aqua bath." In recent years it's more likely you would have described those rooms as "a neutral kitchen with yellow accents" or attention paid to the "aqua accent tiles in the white bath."
So let's look at current overall color trends as well as what's happening in the kitchens and baths where so much of your business centers. We're seeing more of a multi-colored approach in kitchens. The major new color is yellows with orange accent hues and russet reds. This palette combines to create a modern look full of contrast that borrows from the traditional. We'll see happy yellows rather than beiges in the large areas of the kitchen such as the floor and cabinetry. Also look for a green citrus yellow to be a hot color for walls. A range of oranges, from melon to terracotta, will be seen on small appliances.
Lighter flooring wood tones of birch and maple will contrast with rich tones of mahogany on cabinetry. Stainless, in pewter and brushed finishes will remain a staple on kitchen appliances. Black will not be as popular with the color palette becoming lighter overall.
There will be a tremendous spa influence in the bath with the growing appeal of aqua blues and greens. Whether the aqua shade is more green or more blue won't really matter. It's very much the kind of color seen in a spa or resort. As a result, the bath will show more emphasis on those colors and the effects of water. We've already seen more liberal use of glass in the bath to accentuate the use of water with vessel lavs, even glass (or clear acrylic tubs). Look for the increased use of aqua on walls and floors.
Another hue gaining more attention in the bath is pink. The pinks will be influenced by 20th-century design from the 1920's and 1930's. These will not be beige, cosmetic pinks, but full-fledged pinks. Also look for fuchsia to become a popular color for baths for the more adventuresome. I would say the color has a lot of potential for powder rooms, but could be a nice accent color with the greens, blues and aqua that are predominating the bath.
Home colors continue to soften and become more serene. Consumers form an emotional connection with color, and these fresh joyful hues are seen by many as bringing a sense of healing to their lives. As optimism emerges, the desire for bright and fresh hues will strengthen.
As the world moves faster and uncertainly undermines serenity, consumers are looking for security and a return to the simple life. Look for escalating interest in tried and true materials like metal, leather and wood. Also, consumers are discovering that technology can transform a basic color to something more fresh and innovative.
Eastern influence on design and color will produce quiet and soft colors based on the natural elements of earth, fire and water. These elements bring a sense of calm, relaxation and a perception of safety to our stressful lives.
For the luxury market, sophisticated craftsmanship and rare materials with high polish and burnished finishes will emerge. Look for copper to be the leading metal.
And, above all else, look for bright smiles from customers delighted that their floor covering retailer is so in tuned to color trends in the home.
Colors: a shady business yields many options
Color trends are always a hot topic in the home furnishing business. Everyone wants to know what are the new colors. While those of us working in fields closely related to color-marketing tend to see color as an evolutionary event, consumers tend to see color in terms of "the latest and greatest." So what are the important colors in contemporary home furnishing?
It is hard to underestimate the importance of white. It remains vital to the home because of its light-reflecting qualities and its sense of purity. The color is more important than ever, but be careful of its harsh qualities on hard surfaces. Look for white shades with warm undertones.
Think earth tones!
BLUES & GREENS:
Blue is everyone's favorite color. It has great associations and everyone looks good in it. What man wouldn't wear a blue oxford-cloth shirt? Cobalt, or what some may call Chinese export blue, seems to be the most popular of the true blue shades. Royal and Navy blue are two other popular, classic standbys. Turquoise, like the rich jewel color, has returned. Not the color of the '57 Chevy, but more like the gemstone.
YELLOWS & GOLDS:
While yellow will be of importance in the kitchen, various golden hues and finishes connoting luxury will be important in other areas of the home. Look for the amber gold's to continue to be important in living rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms.
PURPLE & VIOLET:
The pendulum is swinging to blue-based reds and purples. Berry shades with purple and blue undertones are popular with cranberry being the pick of the litter. Also look for a mix of berry colors used together. These colors are especially pretty with the yellow/green gold we discussed above.
Keep in mind that color is an ever changing and evolving subject that will always evoke emotion and fascination. Take a leap of faith and enjoy!