Sun-washed naturals, muted spice tones and vivid ethnic shades make up the home furnishings color palette you'll see when the latest introductions make their way to retail furniture showrooms over the next few months.
"Environmental" colors taken from the earth, sea and sky continued to dominate the color choices offered furniture buyers and interior designers shopping the recent spring International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C.
Green remained one of the top marketplace choices, with manufacturers offering everything from olive and celery shades to leaf, loden and a bright version someone dubbed "iguana."
But the emerging color favorite appears to be brown, especially a rich, golden tobacco hue that was teamed with everything from classic black and ivory to rich burgundy and bright teal. Other earthy variations -- twig, caramel, cocoa, saddle and toast -- also made news.
Spice tones, including curry, paprika, saffron, cinnamon and sage, showed up as solid accents or combined with soft neutrals or punchier brights.
Cerulean blue -- a brilliant sky-blue shade -- was breathtaking as an accent and as the ground color for some cheerful chintzes. Robin's egg blue offered a serene counterpoint in linen and damask solids, or as part of a brighter color story in florals or plaids.
Gray looked fresh warmed up with shades of butterscotch or French vanilla, often accented with black.
Sunflower yellow, tomato red and shades of purple from periwinkle to amethyst brightened upholstery at a number of showrooms.
But an overall trend toward darkened or muted tones was evident. While splashes of canary yellow, vivid fuchsia and Granny Smith apple green were spotted, the versions seen more often were curry, raspberry and soft meadow green.
Plaids were everywhere, from homey ginghams and traditional tartans to sophisticated, big-block renditions in linen and taffeta. Ethnic-inspired patterns included bright and muted versions of trading blanket motifs and kilim rug designs. Many of the newest florals were on a brightly colored background rather than white; others were "tea-stained" or blurred for an aged and faded look.
Rich textures were the rule, with manufacturers offering bold boucles and chenilles, soft velvets and silks and some of the most luscious leathers in recent memory.