Decorate with Spring's Hot Colors

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It's punch-it-up time! We make it easy to add the season's new hues with these 21 colorful ideas.

The Color of Optimism

Retailers, designers, and manufacturers research and watch color trends carefully. What's hot this spring and summer? "We see a continuing move toward colors that are cleaner in character and much more optimistic in the feeling they create. Brighter mid-tones predominate and zingier pastels are now very evident," according to Glidden Paint's Color Futures. Of course, these refreshing hues aren't just for your walls. Check out our 21 colorful ideas.

"E" is for "Evocative"

If you want a color with a name that summons up a refreshing summer treat or your favorite plant, no problem. With evocative names such as Lime Sorbet, Blooming Fuchscia, Spring Green, Polished Pewter, True Turquoise, Clear Blue Sky, Sugared Lime, Peach Crayon, and Navajo Sand, Glidden's newest paints scream "Summer!" "We think these refreshing, full-of life-hues will brighten up anyone's dull day," says Krim Danzinger, senior color consultant for Glidden.

Primary Punch

This year's hues are definitely not subtle, says interior designer Tobi Fairley: "Everything is bright," she says. "Jewel tones, primary colors, and other brights like hot pink, orange, and yellow. These shades are not quite neon but definitely in the values of primary colors." If that scares you, use the colors on bedding, lampshades, one piece of furniture, or accessories. You'll have the punch without so much pow.

A Botanical Contrast

One design palette for spring and summer uses "crisp, almost clinical white as the basis for adding botanical colors," says trend analyst, designer, and president of the Color Marketing Group, Mark Woodman. "This takes environmental and 'green' to a brighter conclusion," he says. In this room, for example, the white walls get a dash of green, not as bright as grass, not as dull as moss.
Woodman's recommendation for a great "green" color combo: Sherwin-Williams Super White and Kale Green.

Color Infusion

Jazz up your white space with the addition of zesty orange or hot pink—hues straight from your garden. "Orange, the color of Gerbera daisies, is adult yet still joyful," Woodman says. "And hot pink is already in the market but is worth noting." In this all-white room, accents of pure vibrant color give the space a livelier and more playful attitude. Woodman's jazz-it-up color recommendation: Benjamin Moore Jupiter Glow or Springtime Bloom

Quiet with a Pop

Another summer trend: "Spread soft beiges and whites throughout a room, layered over one another," Woodman says. "Then give the room a pop with bright reds, both cool and warm." Here, a classic deep pink from the blue end of the red spectrum combines with a warm coral against a background of pale beige. "Layering the two colors adds interest and gives red depth in a neutral space," he says. Woodman's color recommendation: Benjamin Moore Tomato Red and Exotic Red.

Shock Value

"The classic elegance of the all-white room now needs a startling bit of pure color," Woodman says. "It's the lipstick for the room." The whites themselves can mix together in a broad range to create subtle shading and depth, while the zingy color keeps the look modern.

Understated Attitude

If you prefer a more restrained approach to the color palette, use stripes of white and pink in equal measure. Bring in touches of pale gold or French metallic gold accents to play off beige walls and add glamour.

Warm and Embracing

"Use color to create a sanctuary of home, family, and health," Woodman says. "Try soft honey tones instead of Tuscan yellow; they feel lighter and can be spiced up a little to almost a honey-Dijon color. These hues connote a sense of wellness, nature, and nurture," he says. Woodman's color recommendation: Benjamin Moore Buttercup.

Make It Rich

"Mix tobacco colors and red with the honey tones for a richer cast," Woodman says. "Or use periwinkle blues and navy for an international vibe." Here, the deep brown sofa and red chair bring out the vibrancy of the honey-colored walls. Woodman's color recommendation: Benjamin Moore Marsh Brown and Poppy or Sherwin-Williams Lobelia and Benjamin Moore Midnight Navy.

Reclaimed Glamour

"All those toned, gray-washed, reclaimed, rustic elegance interiors need a dose of color," Woodman says. "With an abundance of unbleached linen, beige cotton, and taupe silk, the addition of lush color is the next step." This chic neutral bedroom gets a bit of sass with a violet duvet cover. Woodman's color recommendation: Benjamin Moore Sonoma Clay or Mulberry Wine.

Add Warmth & Energy

"If you're starting with a rustic neutral color scheme, add warmth with toned soft pinks or dusky lilac," Woodman says. "Or bring some nature in with pale, dusted blue. Try pumping up the energy with burnt orange." This simple homespun country-style bedroom gets a new look with the addition of blue and orange bedding accents. Woodman's color recommendation: Sherwin-Williams Aleutian or Rhumba Orange.

Colorful Accents

"You see the new spring colors on the runways and in homes but how do you incorporate them into your home without breaking the bank or getting rid of things you already own?" asks designer Tobi Fairley. The answer: Start small, she suggests. "Use small items like pillows or cotton throws to punch up the color in your room."

Shades of Color

"Change out lampshades to a bright color for a change," Fairley says. "You can paint a paper shade with a high-gloss paint for an exciting dash of color in your space." If you prefer a more restrained approach, try stenciling a pretty floral pattern on your shade in a pair of complementary colors.

Fab Furniture

If you have furniture that needs an update, give it a new look with a vivid coat of paint. Side or cocktail tables and chairs are ideal candidates for this treatment. With a couple of cans of spray paint, you've got a whole new look in an afternoon.

Artistic License

Take your cue from master artists like Mark Rothko. "Create your own artwork by painting bright solid colors on a canvas and hanging it in a prominent place, such as over the sofa or mantel," Fairley says. "When you get tired of it, no biggie, it wasn't an expensive investment." Paint it in a new combination or that season's trendy colors or try a different motif and hang it in another room.

Coordinate Your Collections

"Pop color in your accessories," Fairley says. "Many companies, such as Global Views, offer affordable accessories in bright colors that make your room sing!" Want a do-it-yourself project? "Take all your old accessories, vases, and figurines, paint them all the same bright color and display them in a collection," she says. "You can turn a lot of mismatched hodge-podge into one cohesive design element that gives your room just the right amount of wow!" In this room, furnishings and accessories get a paint makeover to create a well-coordinated space.

Look Out Below

Give your flooring an update with a colorful rug to anchor your seating groups or your dining table. Use patterns of stripes, plaids, florals, or geometric designs to add energy and color underfoot and pull together colors from walls, furnishings, and accents. This is another color pop that easily can be changed out with the seasons or when trends change.

Frame Your Windows

Add another color to your vertical space with draperies in bright colors. Use a hue that complements your walls and add a throw, pillows, or cushions that bring the two shades together.

Bedding Down with Color

A bedroom can get a complete makeover each time you change your bedding. Bring in a new quilt, a pair of new shams or pillow covers, and a soft cotton throw and you've got a whole new look. Keep an extra ensemble of vivid bedding in your linen closet to freshen your room every few weeks.

Tabletop Color

Embrace new colors for your tabletop, whether through placemats, napkins, and dishes for entertaining or by adding a cheerful runner or tablecloth. And don't forget a bowlful of flowers or fresh fruit in the season's punchy hues to grace countertops or side tables.

Wake Up Your Walls

"If you're not afraid of color, take it to the walls," designer Fairley says. "Select a bright shade for one or all of your walls for a bold and daring appearance." Give it even more focus by using an outlined tone-on-tone look as seen here that creates a frame for an art arrangement and seating area.

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