Color Part 1: Practical Thoughts

Trends and fashion in clothing, accessories, cars and Interiors includes both design and color.  We have all seen pictures of turquoise T-Birds and red or dark green Mustangs.  In fashion, its a given. In the Interior Design field, it's there, too, but changing more slowly than at every season.
In a practical sense, do we have control of color in our environment or do we have to follow the herd?  Well, we can paint any color.  Just go anywhere that sells paint.  Make up your own sample boards with poster board or foam core and those little paint sample jars.  Live with them a bit and then choose.  We can be very plain in our surroundings and buy accessories with color and certainly art with color.  Also, we can play with what's in style NOW, so that buying major items won't be impossible.  It's easier to tend towards what we like the best of what's commonly available.
Maybe eight or ten years ago, everything was dark and mostly brown or black with ruby/maroon and forest green.  Some dark gold  Then, everything was still dark brown or beige or brown or taupe or brown.  It was tumbled beige, brown or black marble mosaics or carved brown woodwork or polished brown granite or polished beige granite or beige limestone (from Mexico or not).  I love neutrals, but the Mc Mansion-style materials were in keeping with the turrets and various shades of brown brick, fieldstone or limestone-colored stone.  A great backdrop, but oh so mono-chromatic (that means all the same color).  Color has always been part of the program for my clients, unless I'm asked to stay neutral, and also for my own surroundings.   
We're now evolving.  As the economy has changed, the big brown houses that are new but look old aren't sprouting up too much any more and the materials inside are of the new houses are evolving as well.
Color is coming back: bright reds and blues and pinks and patterns (look at the Tribune Home Magazine 2 weeks ago).  Maybe it's because we all want to feel cheered up.  The Mart has many colors again and the showrooms are less beige than recently and wallpaper is back, and in some new looks.  Lots of colors for tile, carpet, and new materials like recycled glass countertops are full of color.
Afraid to make a long-term commitment to the new?  That's OK, styles don't disappear in a season or two, and you don't have to do it all like a rainbow, but don't be all brown.  And GRAY  (the other neutral) is back.  Three years ago, I found ONE perfect fabric for a client looking for gray.  It's easier now and by summer, it'll be a breeze.  And I'll bet it won't be all pink and mauve (or peach/apricot) with the gray like 1984, but a new combo of colors.
Stay with CLASSICS if this scares you and do the accents.  Snoop through design books, top-notch magazines.  Baker at the Mart (and their retail stores) has become a wonderful source for timeless looks.  Also Hickory Chair (Mart and through some stores) has classics with a little bit more transitional look.  These styles and colors will work with almost everything you'd add.  How about "the pales" which are all the rage in fashion?  That's kind of "in between".
In a perfect scenario, you would find a thoughtful, affordable (for you), design professional and let him or her look for the perfect things --even if they seem to be non-existent.  They usually are Somewhere to be found! 
With a Designer or on your own, if you care to have your new stuff look "in" make sure you're comfortable with the expense.  I have had clients spend less so that they can replace purchases more often.  Not personally appealing to me.  Furnishings should last about 10 years  Maybe less time with hard wear or LOW cost items, and longer if you are careful and buy well.   That's not my preference-- I call those purchases "disposable furniture".   NO, I won't say who sells that!  You shouldn't make redoing your house an ongoing job.  In fact, if you think you are somewhere to stay, consider buying quality items to recover, rework.  That concept is another post which I can address.  Baker and Hickory Chair?  They are to KEEP.

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