THE BLOG

The Bliss Of Color Confidence (And How You Can Throw Out Color Forecasting)

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

2016-06-09-1465488997-4716937-FullSizeRender.jpg

Color affects everything -- mood and expression, as well as the ability to heal, learn, and understand what we see. What colors we respond to are simultaneously universal and deeply personal. The cool and calm of blues are felt by all, yet not everyone wants serenity in their environment. Sometimes, a particular personality requires more excitement or a room's decor needs a jolt. Reds, yellows, or brights? Of course!

Color is also one of the least expensive and most expressive way to define your environment. Your home is the most intimate reflection of who you are to yourself and how you show that self to others. Unlike fashion, which by its nature is more changeable and can reflect a mood on any given day, a home's interior reflects a layered development of the occupant's personality and life.

But alas, we have been swallowed up by grays and corporate-directed color "forecasts" that tell us what colors are "in"!

Large groups of color experts (and it is, indeed, a true expertise) convene each year to present, lobby for, and agree upon what will be the "Color of the Year," now and several years out. This is not soothsaying, rather it is a strategic direction that large manufacturers have agreed upon to give focus to their marketing plans. They can confidently present product to market, knowing that if "Marsala" is the color of the year, their sheets or pillows or lipstick will go with another manufacturer's fabrics or rugs or iPhone cases.

Don't get me wrong -- color forecasting is marvelous for moving product, but not necessarily helpful for individual expressions of beauty.

It works for you if:

- You happen to LOVE the "color of the year," and suddenly, the retail world is your oyster.
- You want or need to furnish your entire environment all at once and need to have everything conveniently coordinated.
- You are not particularly confident in your own color choices.

All of these are fine except the last, so let me show you some steps towards being inspired by color, rather than intimidated!

Step One to color confidence: Think in terms of palettes, rather than just single colors. You will be amazed at what you will learn about how one color offsets another when you identify color groupings that you respond to. Start collecting images of rooms or nature and colored bits that you love and you will begin to see a pattern!

Step Two: Once a palette is identified, pick shades of each of your favorite colors within it. By varying the the values, you will make your room come alive, whereas keeping them all equal, will make your room appear flat and less vivid. This holds true for a monochromatic palette, even more. Note that paint chips are the easiest, most inexpensive way to build your palette and keep record of it when creating.

Step Three: Experiment. The simplest way to begin is to add flowers in single colors or full palettes. If you have have a basically neutral room, try out accents of bolder colors by living with them for a few days. You will begin to notice how you feel when you see them in the room. If you are feeling more industrious, try painting a large section of a wall as a test, or drape a large piece of furniture with some colored fabric -- anything to create a strong visual of your color(s) that you can live with for a while. You might decide right then and there that you want much more or less of something or that color you thought was your favorite might not be right for the room.

Step Four: Fall in love with color! Know that it will be good to you and enjoy the process!

Perhaps you have ideas about what colors make you feel good, but are timid about asserting your choices. Remember, your home is the one place where you should have what makes you feel wonderful, because being surrounded by the right colors will change your life! (Not every aspect, mind you, but certainly the way you feel and approach the day.)

You will know, every morning, that you are connected to your bliss and if you don't feel that way, you can change it again and again! Successfully tapping into your inner self doesn't mean getting it perfect every time. Challenge yourself, respond to your changing ideas, and enjoy the process!

Having been a interiors product designer and color consultant over the last three decades, I have never looked to the "current" colors to create a line. Sometimes the product and the trend align, but that has never been the key to how well a product has sold. It is more exciting to lead than to follow and sometimes my color ways have given permission to the client or customer to go with their purest impulses, rather than being corralled into a trend. Now, as Editor-in-Chief of The Global Design Post, I love publishing unique palettes on our site that inspire color confidence. We show gorgeous images that we hope you will love, followed by the Benjamin Moore colors we have referenced (so you can actually collect the chips and shop with them in your pocket), and a collection of fabulous rooms that demonstrate how others have pulled off these unexpected color-ways.

This is meant explain how to begin your own personal relationship to color. It is an art, a science, and a passion, but it can also simply fun, so enjoy it!

I hope this gives you a start towards a more colorful existence!

Visit: globaldesignpost.com for inspiring palettes and a peek into the world of interior design.