Simpler Color Trends

The economic slowdown and a push to reconnect with nature will result in simpler design styles and color choices heading into 2009.

Architecture and design emerging next year will be taking cues from four concepts: “raw,” “urban silence,” “simplexity” and “private identity,” says a color and design specialist with Benjamin Moore Paints.

“We are going to see more of a ‘make do with what you have’ attitude and paring down austerity in design,”

Raw– This palette is derived from unfinished wood, cinder blocks and other “make-do” materials and includes shades of white, sand and gray. The raw palette will layer white on white, with textures and shapes to add visual interest. Gray and monotones will be embraced with tonal shifts ranging from beiges to near-black.

Urban Silence– This group of colors reflects the changing delineation between life in the city and life outside the city.  As more urban buildings incorporate rooftop gardens and shipping containers are converted into living spaces, the city becomes a softer, more livable place. These changes are reflected in the palette by mixing the gray tones of urban living with vibrant, organic colors like green, rust and terra cotta.

Simplexity– The best way to think of “simplexity” design is repetitive patterns clustered into simple formats.  The repetitive pattern brings order to chaos. Simplexity colors are very complex, they have a lot of depth to them, but they’re easy to use.An example is a color that looks black, but it’s really purple. It’s almost black but it has an undercurrent of blue and red running underneath it and the way that the light hits it, you start seeing the nuances of how those colors flip underneath it.

Private Identity – deals with how we express our individuality and differentiates between the individual and the world. Colors will include organic brights teamed with pales to create unusual pairings. Metallics will be warm and cool, while surfaces, especially blacks and vinyl, will have slick, wet looks. Denim and brass will be key features in this forward-thinking trend.


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