Real Trends – The Color Palette of 2012

The colors that to me, best represent 2012

That is quite the proclamation, but this is not a self-appointed trend! After having invested significant time and energy in researching what is happening the market, on the Internet, and on foot investigating what populates the shelves at retail sources for the best of color trends, my collated impressions point to the colors above at mid-point in 2012, as the write-in candidates slated to win as people’s choice colors of 2012!

I have seen variations on a color palette comprised primarily on version of the image up top in use everywhere. It’s fortuitous for me, as these are colors I tend to favor regardless of trends. I don’t necessarily subscribe to trends personally, but I love them as teaching tools. They are a pocket guide to color for people who are not as comfortable with color, in search of a look that works. With a bit of added instruction and insight, trends can be used and modified to differentiate your own style signature.

Color is the best and most affordable tool in your design and decorating tool kit. Let’s see this emergent palette in action:

image via Maya Klauber on Pinterest

This palette strikes me as organic in nature; a defining feature shared with the Pantone predictions for 2012 – 2013. But unlike the market predictions, this color group varies from the predicted path. The focus here is narrowed to a single color palette (with variations) that persists in the face of predictions that defy moving away from ocean colors, and gravitate away from an emphasis on the purple range, but retain the greyed purples of garden succulents.

In a nut-shell the palette features coral as the focal tone – a step down in hue from Tangerine Tango, the Pantone color of the year, and is supported by succulent tones. The palette incorporates two tones of yellows and at times.

Interior applications seem to feature dipped furniture accents, patina surfaces, allot of support from painted white surfaces, with charcoal grays and black as the supporting neutral shades.

Pink Love by Grace Kang via Pinterest

Coral as a focal in this entry ensemble

As with most palettes, there is variation on the central theme in both hue, and refinement via color elimination, narrowing the focus to a color palette hinging on either the turquoise shades or corals and pinks.

colorful kitchen – House To Home UK

Art for sale from Jennifer Sanchez

Pinterest via Jessica Lewis

ginger root sculptures from

If I use Chip it! to describe the colors, it demonstrates the brighter variation.

Chip it palette color selections for Sherwin Williams Paints.

This variation creates a brighter variation of tones.

image via Pinterest via Gabriel Coco Pineapple

But I did some good old-fashioned eye-balling to express the colors below in Benjamin Moore Color and Olympic colors:

The new palette in Benjamin Moore and Olympic paint colors

So why are you still sitting – grab a brush, and some furnishings in need of up-cycling, and give this color palette a try in your stylish room!

About Kimberly Latimer

My background is in fine arts. In addition to residential work in interior design, I have designed both product and packaging for childrens' retail products at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Natural History Museums in the US and Canada. I am an expert in color and my style embraces color, art and up-cycling for a green edge to design.
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10 Responses to Real Trends – The Color Palette of 2012

  1. Aleksandra says:

    I love the photograph of the jars with paint in them. I am a Benjamin Moore retailer and would love to use this photo in a monthly blog for august. Do you mind if i use it?

    Thank you for your consideration,


    P.S. Great blog! Love all of your inspiration!

    • Hi Aleksandra! That photo really speaks to what I feel that “the people” have embraced in color preferences this year! This image is from Pinterest. As such, it is available for use to the best of knowledge. The Benjamin Moore colors were assigned by my self – I simply pulled out one of my well love fan decks, and chose the colors by eye. To make sure my choices represented valid facsimiles, I went to Benjamin Mpore’s website and copied colors into Serif. Then I compared the relative RGB distribution between my eye-balled colors and Serif software’s paint sampler (Serif is a lower-cost program patterned after Photoshop). Thus, the color conclusions represented are very good facsimiles,but not color bulls-eyes. There was one color that was so far away that I used a Valspar color as the closest approximate; they are always my third choice after BM and Pittsburgh. I give you all this detail, because you’re a dealer and I want to treat your customer with all the acumen with which I treat my own readers – hope this helps!

  2. Ellyse V says:

    Looks beautiful. What if you entire room is dark. Chocolate couches,cherry cabinets dark stone floors and with a pop of orange, red and green in your art work? Any suggestions for wall color?

  3. I love it all, as usual. Hubs won’t let me paint the stove pink.:( (and you know I’m not kidding.)

    • I want to write an entire book on this, but “Designing for The Sexes” has already been done :-) I recall a kitchen design in particular, where the wife (who was also a friend) put her foot down, in so much as she did it anyway. Then she through a party to show case it the night I finished. It featured some patterns in wallpaper and color that were neither prominent nor timid, which “hubs” hated – UNTIL all their friends and family showed up and gave him huge kudos for their great kitchen! The real problem is not getting the husband on board; it’s always WHEN he boards that’s the real obstacle! Check this out – you may both love it:

  4. Bettina Deda says:

    Thank you for sharing these gorgeous colours with us! Some of the soft pastels we also find in Australia, for example in stylist Jason Grant’s palette “My Wonderland” for Murobond Paints For recent colour trends from Europe jump to Pastels and greys play a significant role in European fashion. For the upcoming autumn and winter season shades of yellow and mustard are coming very strong according to trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort:

    • You’re most welcome – I always LOVE checking out your resources! Thanks so much for the perspective about what is happening elsewhere in the big world of color and people who love it :-)

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