Joining Forces

By Annette M. Callari, ASID; CMG                                       

Tuftex-Anderson-DisplaySometimes combining two classics brings to life an amazing new entity.  Chocolate and peanut butter certainly hit the jackpot as a combo in the candy world.  Wine and cheese seemed to produce a great marriage of tastes as well.  And now I’m seeing home goods manufacturers pairing up to help you with your interior decorating.  It was inevitable that creative forces would merge their talents and products to give consumers a fresh new take on design.

That’s exactly why Robert Allen fabrics and Sherwin-Williams Paints teamed up.  The Robert Allen group is a leading designer and marketer of decorative fabrics to the design trade.  As of May of this year, they are featuring a suggested palette of wall colors (from Sherwin-Williams) to be included in their fabric collection sample books. What a brilliant, useful combination of products!  Individually, these companies are leaders in color trends.  Together, their collaboration on trends and colors is going to be a great asset for designers as well as consumers.  For professional designers, it’s a time saver to have two key elements of a potential design specified together.  For consumers, it takes some of the guesswork out of matching and coordinating color.  Designers make color coordination look like an easy task, but it takes a well-trained professional to put colors and patterns together successfully.  Having some of the color coordination already done is a great benefit.  You can have a sneak peek at these beautiful color and fabric combo cards at

Wouldn’t it be nice if floor covering manufacturers would offer a similar collaboration on interior products?  Well they have.  Shaw/Tuftex and Anderson Hardwood have announced the launch of a novel dual-display system—the Color Coordinates display. The concept is brilliant as consumers are able to visualize carpet and hardwood floor coordinates side-by-side, all put together by professional designers. Choosing floor coverings is important.  It’s the foundation for your whole design and a big investment as well.  So many consumers put off new floor covering choices because they don’t want to make a mistake.  They can’t afford to make a mistake in this area, so sometimes years go by and they still haven’t gotten the new floor coverings they really want.  Well now some of the guesswork is taken out of the equation for you.  Remember, these carpet and hardwood combinations were put together by designers, so you know they work–not only in the showroom–but in your home!  Look for a Shaw Design Center Retailer in your area to see this very helpful selection system. 

Well that’s the scoop on some pretty interesting new “marriages”.  These intriguing collaborations are just the start of more to come.  Manufacturers want to showcase their products in the best way possible, and make coordination and selection easier for the consumer.  I believe we will see a multitude of product manufacturers merging their creative talents to bring the best of product and color harmonies directly to you in the future.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Color Compromises

Annette Callari, ASID; CMG

color_smallIt happens all the time.  Color preferences that are so divergent there seems to be no happy medium. So how does a married couple (or a designer consulting with them) find a harmonious solution?  What I have found in many years of color consultations, is that there is more than a little competitiveness between husband and wife on this subject.  And both want to get their way on color choices.  You would be surprised to learn that husbands are just as adamant about their preferences as wives are.  They are looking to the designer to take sides, be a tie breaker, (or in some cases, referee), and that is something a professional can not do.  It’s the designer’s job to create a total environment, including the right colors that will reflect the overall ambience they are trying to achieve.

There are some key clues that couples give during the initial consult, and it’s their words, rather than specific colors, which helps determine the final color palette.  For instance:  cozy, homey, warm, inviting are words that indicate the predilection for warm colors:  red, orange, yellow, warm neutrals and any secondary combinations of those colors.  Conversely, relaxing, restful, calming are words that convey the need for cool colors: gray, blue, green, purple, and any secondary combinations of those colors.  A third hugely popular category uses descriptives such as timeless, understated, earthy, natural, and that’s where interesting neutrals come into play. 

colorWhat I have found is that, given the clues any married couple provides me, we can come up with a palette that accomplishes the ultimate goal of their interior design, and incorporates individual color preferences–either in one room of the house, or as an accent color in a main living area.  I have yet to work with a couple that feels their preferences were disregarded or that their designer “took sides”.  So how do you find this middle road on your own?  Exactly the way a professional designer does.  Make a list of adjectives (that you both contribute) to define the ultimate look of what you want your new design to achieve.  Based on those descriptives, match the feel of what you want to accomplish to the colors that historically can pull that off.  I have researched color associations thoroughly (with the help of Color Marketing Group International) and devised a chart that will help you make those color connections (see inset).

As long as you remember that color choice isn’t a contest between spouses, you can incorporate the best of both your preferences and (with luck and a bit of compromise) live happily ever after.