Decorate with the Color of the Year

Sarah Van Arsdale - If one of the purposes of good design is to lift the mood, then the designer's job has become much more challenging in the past couple of years, with the bad economy dragging everyone's spirits down. Those of us in the design field know that a beautiful, well-lit room, furnished with harmonious pieces, awash with carefully-chosen color, will help cheer the heart and lift the soul.

So, when things are looking grim, we just need the right color to perk us up… Okay, it isn't really that simple, but we all know that color really does influence mood. And Pantone, the color authority, has announced its color for 2011, and it's one that's sure to lift everyone's spirits, if not their bank account balances: honeysuckle.

Pantone describes honeysuckles as "a dynamic reddish pink." It's got a tone deeper than pink, but brighter and paler than red. And yet, it isn't too sugary-sweet; honeysuckle is an intense, strong color—strong enough, perhaps, to cheer us up when we need it most.

If you've ever felt under the weather and put on a honeysuckle scarf or sweater, you know how this shade lends a rosy glow to your face—no matter what your skin tone. It does the same thing for an interior. It brings the color and light of a winter dawn's pink and white streaked sky to a room.

In a living room or bedroom, you could paint just one wall honeysuckle and the others a bright white or eggshell for an energetic burst of color. Or you could do the entire room in honeysuckle with an eggshell trim while having furnishings and accessories in matching or contrasting colors.

If you don't want to commit to painting the walls honeysuckle, consider some accent pieces to bring in the color's dynamic energy: a couple of throw pillows and an area rug. Or paint the trim around the windows, doors, or the back of a bookcase with a splash of honeysuckle.

According to the folks at Pantone, the color was indeed chosen for 2011 in part to perk up people's mood. "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in announcing the color for 2011. "Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum."

Any student of Feng Shui knows that in the discipline, red is the color of strength, love, and success; honeysuckle brings in that feeling, but softens it with a rosy glow.

You don't have to worry that pink will take over the room if you consider pairing honeysuckle with the other colors found near it in the natural world.

A bright green that mimics the shade of the leaves of the honeysuckle, the yellow of the flower's stamen, the blue of the sky above, can all be brought in to prevent the room from looking too princess-pink.

Honeysuckle also does well when undercut with a bold move of a shiny, hard black. A carpet with a black border and honeysuckle pattern, or a fabric with a honeysuckle splashed against a black background, will help the honeysuckle pop, and yet will lend a bit of gravitas to the room. You could even go so far as to use black wallpaper with pink head and footboard as in this photo of a pink and black bedroom.

You can find tiles in just about any color and honeysuckle is no exception. We're all in favor of bringing a surprising shade to the palette for home décor this year, and we're happy to welcome honeysuckle.


This article has been reprinted with the permission of the Sheffield SchoolNew York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded its course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng ShuiWedding and Event Planningand Jewelry DesignWith thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.