To Be Trendy or Not to Be Trendy With Colour?

Trends can be a wonderful thing.  They push us to see and appreciate things from a different perspective. I’m sure this can be an interior designer‘s dream: to play with new concepts and make them their own.  But the truth is, not all of these trends make sense for people who can’t afford to change up their rooms every few years.  Also, just like in clothing, it’s important to not jump on the band wagon simply because something is fashionable.  Sit down and think about which trends resonate most with your personality and the goals for your room. Over the next few days, I’ll look at various trends for 2013 and hopefully, help you figure out which trends to follow and how to do it without regretting it in the future.


1. Emerald – Emerald is the Pantone Colour of the Year. It is a beautiful and absolutely stunning colour but beware when incorporating this into your home. Too much of this colour in expensive pieces (e.g., sofas, coffee tables, etc.) and it’ll become an eyesore once the colour is out of style.


Green – the wrong way:

 Kitchen with Emerald - bad ideaugly green room
Don’t get me wrong, this kitchen looks beautiful.  The question you need to ask yourself is: Do I love emerald green enough to keep it for years?  If it’s just a matter of paint, like in the second photo, go for it and change it later. In the first photo, a great deal of money has been put into making the ceiling and the other cabinetry emerald. If you’re going to spend this kind of money, you better like it for a long time.

Green – the correct way:

Beautiful green roomemerald

Here, the green is added in a few key pieces that can easily be switched as trends change.  You don’t have to spend more than a few hundred dollars to achieve a similar look.

2. Yellow – If you’re a cheery person who loves this colour, this is the trend for you!  Yellow adds a lot of pop and I think it works beautifully as an accent colour.  I’m not a fan of bright yellow although I love mustard.  It’s slightly muted and makes a statement without screaming “Look at me!”. Whatever you decide, pairing your yellow with deep purples, blues, and charcoal grays is the way to really add personality to your room.  The worst way to use yellow, in my opinion, is to pair it complimentary colours, such as oranges.  Doing so will force the colours to compete with each other and the room will lack cohesiveness. 

Yellow – the wrong way:

yellow - ugly

This room goes overboard with yellow.  My eye isn’t drawn to anything specific and the room looks dull even though yellow is an extremely bright colour.  Hopefully this room will have it’s wall colour changed in the future.

yellow - ugly

This room shows how embracing many of the current trends can go all wrong. The room is too busy with too many features.  There is also a huge mix of contrasting and complimentary colours (blue and purple with yellow, green, and orange). I have no idea where I’m supposed to look and it’s a sensory overload.

Yellow – the correct way: 

yellow- nice

This room uses solid, but contrasting colours.  If it were me, I’d add some striped or patterned pillows for a little variety, or even a fun patterned wallpaper in the room. If you wanted to change the room, the only expensive purchase you might have is the coffee table.


This room uses three colours and some textures to create a comfortable and inviting room.  You can change the wall colour and accessories as trends change. Unlike the second yellow photo (see above), this is how different trends can come together beautifully.  Woods are used to create a natural and comfortable space, a muted striped rugs adds some drama without being overpowering, and the yellow couch pops compared to other pieces in the room.

images (1)

This is my favourite room. It incorporates a burst of colour in its walls and cushions.  The cushions are in shades of yellow and include a striped cushion to add variety.  I would love to add a neutral, patterned rug to add more depth. It’s both elegant and allows for conversations, and would be the easiest to change without spending a fortune.

3. Black and White – This is one of my favourite trends this season. Black and white is the epitome of elegance and sophistication. It looks great in any room of a home. Best of all, if you get bored of it or if there’s a new colour trend you want to incorporate, you can do so by adding a fresh coat of paint and/or by changing the accessories.

Black & White – the wrong way:

b&w - ugly

This room is obviously very small.  Adding a bold patterned wallpaper makes this room feel closed-in. I’m sure this room was supposed to be an attempt to ‘escape to nature’.  If this wallpaper had to be used, it should be placed behind the toilet, with the towel bar lowered.  The photo above the toilet should be placed on the adjacent wall with another two to three photos in the same series.  The lesson to be learned here: Never cover your walls with busy patterns in a small space.

b&w - ugly2

This is an example of too much white and too many different patterns in a room.  Because minimal black is used, the room looks incomplete.  Also, the sculpture and furniture don’t match.  Objects are placed in a cluttered fashion and the negative space doesn’t suit the room. When decorating any room, it’s important to work with a theme or a feeling your want to achieve.  “Modern” is not enough.

Black & White – the correct way:


This is a beautiful black and white bathroom. There is a balance of both colours, with a splash of brighter colours in the prints on the walls and bottles.  What I love is how simple the room is.  It does involve an investment in the tiles. The problem with checkered tiles is that after a while they can be interpreted as either “classic” or “dated”.

b&w pretty

This is a stunning and simple bedroom.  The blacks and whites are well-balanced and gray is added as a neutral colour so that the room never looks dull. Subtle patterns are included in the cushions and headboard, while more prominent patterns are in the curtains and the chairs.  Notice that the patterns all have a theme: they’re circular, as are the other accessories in the room, such as the lamp.

4. High Contrast Colours – Using contrasting colours adds both personality and drama to any room.

High Contrast Colours – the wrong way:


This room uses complimentary colours – a peachy orange and pale yellow.  The room is boring and instead of  bright and cheery. Even the wooden furniture looks orange.

high contrast - ugly

I love orange and pink but with all of the black thrown in, combined with the furry and feathery textures, this feels more like a club than a home.

High Contrast Colours – the right way:

high contrast 3 high contrast 1 high contrast 2

All three of these rooms use high contrast colours mixed in with neutrals.  This allows for a room with tons of personality.

For ideas on colour combinations, take a look at this season’s palettes based on Pantone colours from mecc interiors below:

colour trends

Two great sites for colour combinations is COLOURlovers and Adobe kuler. Or you can do what I do and find colour combinations in nature.  There are a few examples below:

inspiration 7 inspiration 6 inspiration 5 inspiration 4 inspiration 3 inspiration 1 inspiration 2

Have fun with colour and happy decorating!

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