Color Inspires Home Updates

New Hues Motivate Homeowners to Modernize

While neutrals are always in fashion, it’s color that adds energy and personality to home décor. Today’s on-trend hues are anything but boring, inspiring home updates and decorating projects in every room of the home.

Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance

“Color is one of the most inspiring and stimulating features of home furnishings, and we’re enjoying a powerful resurgence of color across the industry, in all style categories,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

“People react emotionally to color. Often, it’s a specific hue that provides the inspiration for a room makeover or home decorating project. Spring is a great time to take that inspiration and refresh your living spaces. Today’s colorful home furnishings provide nearly limitless inspiration.”

As a design tool, color can be used strategically to define a space, create a focal point or add character to a room. “Vogue (magazine) has declared color a watchword, and we couldn’t agree more,” says Holly Blalock, vice president of merchandising and marketing for CR Laine, a North Carolina manufacturer of upholstered furniture. “Sometimes all it takes is a burst of color to reignite your interior.”


Here are some of today’s top shades, along with the ways they can be used to brighten up – or tone down – different areas of the home


Pantone, the world-renown authority on color and provider of color systems, has declared “Ultra Violet” its 2018 Color of the Year. Although unlikely to gain much steam as a dominant hue in the world of interior design, in smaller doses the color of royalty is a perfect complement to shades of gold and bronze – warm metallics that remain strong within furnishings and home accents. Elsewhere within the purple family, deep shades of wine and plum are frequently seen in tandem with today’s popular charcoal and dove gray sofas and sectionals. Softer gray-based purples provide soothing shades for bedrooms and offer a calming effect.

From Century Furniture, the Stalling’s chair blends light and dreamy watercolors and patterns in shades of purple, pink and citron.

The barrel-back Manhattan barstool from Fine Furniture Design features a streamlined shape, shown here in a soft shade of plum and accented with a brass-tone finished frame.

Rich in both color and texture, Sam Moore’s Cheekie exposed wood accent chair features a sumptuous berry-hued velvet. Not quite as electric as Pantone’s “Ultra Violet” color of the year for 2018, this shade can nevertheless offer a fresh and fashion-forward accent in a room dominated by either warm- or cool-tone neutrals.


No longer considered a “trend,” gray has been added to the foundational neutrals in home décor. “We are definitely seeing a trend towards mineral gray as the base color of a room, and away from the eggshell walls of years past,” says Suzanne Henson, vice president of merchandising and marketing for Craftmaster Furniture, another North Carolina-based upholstery producer.

“With that movement comes a need to use upholstery fabrics that complement gray. So, we are using a lot of black, charcoal, and white neutrals that contrast against gray. Then, we create interest by mixing together different layers of patterns and textures of fabric.”

Trending shades that might not be a natural fit for an entire room – such as “millennial pink” – can be incorporated in smaller measure as an accent to gray. “Soft green and blush seem to be the next colors moving into the spectrum of upholstery fabrics,” says Henson. “Gray also works well with various shades of blue, which still seem to dominate the non-neutral colors.”

Elegant silhouettes from Highland House include Andre, a stately wing chair shown in a soft shade of blush that quickly became known as “millennial pink” in 2017. The modern faux bois-patterned velvet updates the classic shape for 2018.

U.S. consumers shopping in all price points continue 
to gravitate toward neutrals when it comes to the 
larger upholstered pieces that anchor a room. The choice is anything but boring when showcased against
 walls in an on-trend charcoal hue and then layered 
with texture from sharply contrasting accent pillows, like the inky black square and gray and wine striated 
pillows shown here on the Darby Settee upholstered in a ticking stripe fabric called Faraway Granite. For 2018, contrast and texture are key to making neutrals au courant.

Hickory Chair’s Winterthur sofa is an unusual but striking mix of both Federal and Chippendale styles. A broad range of fabric choices — this one in a neutral 100% Belgian Linen ground—makes it easy to blend bold color, texture and pattern for fashion-forward living spaces.


A casual sofa from Craftmaster — covered in a neutral “Popstich” fabric, allows shoppers the freedom to choose fun accent pillows and even an accent chair in an on-trend print, such as the oversized floral pattern, called “Celtic.”


Indeed, blue is a perennial favorite when it comes to American homes. From indigo and navy to more yellow-based aqua, this hue continues to delight and inspire. “Navy, powder blue and teal are especially strong right now,” says Henson.

Perfect for nearly any room of the home, blue can serve as the point of inspiration or its partner. While teal and aqua work beautifully on the walls of a bedroom or powder room, they also provide a refreshing accent to a living space anchored with neutral gray. Deeper shades of navy and indigo help ground a room when paired with orange or red accents or provide stark contrast to neutrals such as white and beige.

No one is singing the blues over the rich selection of blue-based solids and prints dominating today’s most popular upholstered furniture. Denim-inspired shades are prevalent throughout the market, making Thomasville’s Marshall modular sofa a sure winner in this casual, weekend-jeans shade of blue. As one of Thomasville’s new “performance” fabrics, this base cloth repels stains and is both durable and cleanable.

This rich, navy open console brings Americans’ favorite hue to the dining room or living room. The versatile piece is 70 inches wide, scaled to accommodate a flat screen TV or for use as a display or serving piece. Crafted in solid maple and available in more than 40 custom finishes.


The Ming media cabinet from Ethan Allen takes a classic silhouette and, in an “aged teal” finish, turns it into the focal point of a refreshed room.


From traditional to contemporary styles, unexpected hues are modernizing classic silhouettes. “We love to create refreshing combinations of fabrics and finishes, mixing traditional and modern designs,” says Blalock. “From shades of raspberry, papaya orange, and lemongrass to indigo blue— as far as color, nothing is off-limits.”

It’s these freshest of colors that often spark the consumer’s imagination and inspire new home improvement projects. Whether it’s a single color or a combination of them, today’s top hues create delectable fabrics and finishes that are inspiring consumers to look at home decorating in new ways.

“Even in traditional design, where you would typically begin with a pattern that incorporates multiple colors as the jumping off point for other textiles, what is happening in design now is a selection of seemingly independent solids (such as berry and chartreuse) that are being layered,” explains Blalock. “When used in proper proportions, they create a very colorful, harmonious, balanced – yet simple – design.”

Rugs are an ideal accessory for revitalizing a room with a fresh pop of color. In addition to ever-popular shades of blue, the Colours Ketchum indoor/outdoor rug from Jaipur Living adds stripes in berry and citron – a bright update in a 5-by-7 size.

The petite, tight-back Lillian chair makes a plus-sized statement in “Stella,” a cut velvet shown in peridot. This “freshly picked” shade pairs well with the deep indigo blues and chalky grays that are today’s mainstream neutrals. But it also works with lively shades of plum and violet in more adventuresome interiors.


The custom pillow program at Miles Talbott upholstery invites customers to venture outside the “safe” zone and bring the season’s liveliest hues to accent pillows for chairs and sofas. This new 20- by 12-
inch kidney pillow incorporates layers of
 vibrant color on a bright pink 


Available in retail stores in mid-June, Bradburn Gallery’s Monet’s Garden lamp has a hand-painted abstract floral base with a French parchment shade trimmed in gold. This sophisticated design illuminates a bouquet of fresh shades for 2018.