Design Trends, Ideas + Inspiration

On Our Radar: Summer Color

Summertime is upon us, and color is in the forecast. As the mercury rises and the world is in full sun, there’s no better time to punch up your palette with juicy summer color.

Perfect Pastels

Kartell display at Salone del Mobile, Milan.

The Salone del Mobile in Milan sets the tone for the rest of the year and unveils major palettes from prominent design houses. This year, we saw an array of fresh colors adding lively charm to more neutral, earth toned backgrounds. For example, Kartell’s new Bellissima pendant comes in wood or transparent gloss. And the three pastel colorways they debuted at Salone are delicate, Easter-egg shades that will complement many modern spaces.

Pastels are a great choice to incorporate color into a light, neutral space. They won’t compete too much with a lighter existing palette while still providing a cheerful accent. In general, if your home’s color scheme is largely white or very light gray, beige, etc., bringing in pastels will be a more subtle, sophisticated touch, whereas a brighter color could wind up stealing the spotlight.

To get this look, think natural. Consider the soft hues of a summer sky, blooming roses, or tender leaves:

We’re still seeing a lot of blushing pinks on the scene, though some are edging away from the slightly dusty “millennial pink” of last year and into more coral territory for this summer. Blues and greens are perennially in season, and the slightly subdued, desaturated varieties are a natural complement to the warmer rosy tones seen here.

Primary Pigments

Jewel tones and primary colors come up season after season. This year we’re seeing plenty of yellow and teal, as shown in the Panthella assortment pictured here. It’s a bold selection, but the iconic pop-art design is meant to be noticed.

In contrast to the softer pastels, these are tones that are made to really stand out. And finishes with hard-candy shine are as welcome here as gauzy fabrics and oceanic waves. For homes with more high-contrast color palettes, bright, shiny colors are more likely to be welcome additions, rather than distractions. Often in design, such saturated colors come in fun forms, too, like these:

Permanent or Portable?

All of the colors palettes discussed here are suitable all year round. So, swapping out a large fixture for the summer can turn into a palette refresh you’ll enjoy for seasons to come.

If you would rather opt for a less permanent pop of color, though, get your hands on some portables. Floor and table lamps are easily changed out for seasonal updates, and many are truly portable in that they’re battery operated or rechargeable and can go with you from room to room and even outdoors. When selecting portables for accent color, you can get away with less consideration for your overall palette than if you were installing a permanent fixture.

The objective for summer color is to include items that give your eyes a visual break, liven up the room, and be flat-out fun to look at. But as ever, color preferences are highly subjective, and you should choose whichever ones get you feeling summery.

Kelsey Kittle

Kelsey Kittle

When she’s not polishing up promotions as a Web Content Specialist, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.

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