Designer Briefing: Color’s Magic In an uncertain world, with an unpredictable economy and an overload of technology, we need all the stress relief color can deliver.
July 1st, 2004


By Barbara Schirmeister, ASID July-August 2004

Fairytale-inspired colors and magical hues dominate the color palette for 2004-2005. According to the Color Association of the United States (CAUS) – an organization which forecasts color trends for manufacturers of environmental and interior products – a major movement toward translucence and transparency with romantic, dreamlike qualities has evolved.

The new palette has a high degree of warmth – emphasizing red and yellow-influenced color families, which are balanced by the cool, air and water-inspired blues, greens and aquas. This forecast includes both cheerful brights to uplift us, as well as soft, mellow tones to relax us. It’s all about “personal choice”. Look for:

Nature-inspired colors, such as shades of bamboo and coffee, silvery greens, bronzed, burnished hues and sophisticated taupes;

The emergence of blues – pale, ethereal, atmospheric blues, periwinkles and regal cobalts;

Gracious greens ranging from sage and olive, to grassy spring greens and soft hues of celadon or sea glass;

The hopefulness and optimism of yellow – as seen in the spicy colors of honey, saffron and curry, and the warmth of soft buttercream, classic camel and opulent golds;

Red, the color of magic, ranges from corals to rust, from cherry red to crimson and burgundy;

And more than ever before, we are “in the pink.” In fact, consumers just can’t get enough pink – it’s their protest against “khaki fatigue.” Flattering petal pinks, cyclamens, magenta and raspberry are the latest pink picks.


Special effects have become a hallmark of 21st-century design. Color is interpreted through iridescence, translucence, pearlescence and reflection. The result is depth, sheen and texture. Metals and metallic effects are seen in new hues of copper, bronze, silver and gold for products across the board. Finishes range from aged patinas to the shimmer of stainless steel.

Today’s colors, textures and special effects can create a retreat from technology and ordinary life, helping us forget the fret with a flight into fantasy.

Color expert Barbara Schirmeister, ASID, is a longtime member of the Color Association of the United States (CAUS) Interiors Committee, helping to formulate the annual Environmental/Interiors Forecast palette. She has served for many years as color consultant to a number of major manufacturers of home furnishings, building products and finishes.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Foster and Clark Real Estate
CTDA - Online Education
CTDA - Membership