2019 trending colors feature fresh, warm tones
2019 trending colors feature fresh, warm tones
21 DECEMBER 2018 9:23 AM

This year’s color trends give designers and hoteliers a fresh and new palette, which pairs well with the popular mid-century modern, retro style.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—To freshen up hotel spaces in 2019, designers are plunging the depths of the oceans and caverns for inspiration.

This year, Pantone’s trending color is “Living Coral,” and Sherwin-Williams announced “Cavern Clay” with its color forecast.

As with any trends, designers can take it or leave it. But what makes these colors more likely to be taken on is that they “play well with others, without being overwhelming,” Meg Prendergast, principal at The Gettys Group, said via email.

In 2018, when Pantone Color Institute rolled out “Ultra Violet” as its trending color and Sherwin-Williams debuted “Oceanside,” designers said they were surprised at how bold the colors were.

(Illustrations: Rachel Daub)

Hotel News Now asked a handful of designers via email for their takes on the trending colors, and some best practices on refreshing a hotel space to include the shades.

Prendergast said 2018’s colors “really stole the show unto themselves.” But this year, The Gettys Group sees 2019’s “Living Coral” and “Cavern Clay” as a way to incorporate fresh, new color schemes into hospitality design.

A deeper look at the colors
“Living Coral” includes ranges of saturation that play well with many design palettes, Prendergast said. And her preferred way of mixing a bright and pure color like “Living Coral” would be with other neutrals, and even ones with cooler tones to add balance, she said.

“Cavern Clay” has deeper saturation, lending a “masculine, calming vibe to a blackened red-orange tone,” she said. Prendergast said it reminds her of a maturation of the “Millennial Blush” tone seen in previous years.

“It conjures up mid-century metal finishes, as well as cues toward natural stone outcroppings, antique French pavers and desert sunsets,” she added. “Cavern Clay will marry well with wood and medium neutral tones and can handle saturated, complimentary accents as well.”

Jennifer Di Stasi, project designer at Wilson Associates’ New York office, said both of these colors remind her of a “fresher take on those mid-century colors that we are all being drawn to.”

When the colors debuted, she said her team wasn’t that surprised, since they’ve been seeing a comeback in retro design.

The two colors also relate to the “earthy, Scandinavian design that is very popular right now,” she said. “Everyone is loving these warmer, natural tones; and hotel designers have already started selecting these colors for their designs.”

How to use these colors in hotel design
Before considering using a trending color, hoteliers should ask themselves if the color makes sense for their hotel or brand, said Justin Colombik, studio director at Puccini Group

“If so, they’d be well-advised to incorporate these colors with elements that can be switched out easily and cheaply—like pillows and paint,” he said. “After that, using color tone-on-tone and experimenting with textures will unlock the color’s meaning to them.”

Lesley Hughes Wyman, principal and interior designer at MatchLine Design Group, agreed designers “shouldn’t use a trend color or concept just for the sake of doing it because everyone else is doing it.”

“If it works within the brand message and is appropriate for the property and location, go for it,” she said. “Large architectural elements should not be trendy but more classic as they are expensive to change in a renovation.”

Di Stasi also felt location is key.

If the property’s design calls for an earthier, desert-like scheme, “Cavern Clay is a great color to pair with warm grays and taupes with a hint of some other colors like navy blue or deep green,” she said.

If the property is a resort with more of a beachy, relaxed vibe, she suggested pairing “Living Coral” with some lighter neutrals and muted blues or greens.

However, Di Stasi said when incorporating trending colors, it’s important to remember not to make that color the “main focus” in order to extend the life of it. Instead, pair it with more neutrals and use “Living Coral” or “Cavern Clay” as a pop of color “to compliment for years to come,” she said.

She advised designers to use the colors in “unexpected ways to give them more life.” And because the colors have a comforting, warm and residential feel, each can work well in both public areas and guestrooms in a hotel, which is “what hotel guests are wanting more and more,” she said.

“Guests want to feel like they’re in the comfort of their home with the perks of the hotel amenities,” she added.

Shown here is the Houlihan’s restaurant inside the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center in Denton, Texas, which features a take on “Cavern Clay” at the bar. (Photo: MatchLine Design Group)

Tamara Ainsworth, principal and interior designer at MatchLine Design Group, said it’s easier to rotate trends in and out through accent colors, “whether it’s a change of seasons or renovation.”

Sometimes a space needs to be re-envisioned, Prendergast said. A color like “Living Coral” could “be that accent color needed to enliven … what might have been a lifeless space needing a bit of eye-catching zing,” she said.

If that color is the anchor of the design scheme, designers should make sure there is plenty of natural light in the area as “Living Coral wants to partner with white light to be the freshest and most enlivening version of itself,” she said.

For a softer approach, either color can help enhance the intimate feeling of a space, if paired with warm woods, burgundies and soft greens, like vintage Moroccan rugs or rustic leathers, Prendergast added. She also suggested incorporating dimmed lights or candles—so that the space “becomes an inviting discoverable hideaway for guests.”

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