January, 2019 — A heartfelt if not desperate plea: If you are an “all-white-paint forever, till the wheels fall off” guy or gal, please accept a New Year’s dare to consider the rainbow. The new color introductions by both Pantone, the color forecasting group, and this designer’s favorite paint vendors will be tempting. And yes, our Santa Fe, New York, or LA art collections can resonate ably on backgrounds of color.

Think gorgeous 17th- and 18th-century Italian palazzos and galleries plastered in coral and hung with masterpieces. Then contemplate Pantone’s color of the year, Living Coral. If it is good enough for the Medicis...

We don’t need to paint that picture for you. The Pantone people say, “Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” What an emotional and visual base for an optimistic palette that lives well in Santa Fe.

And as used up as you may feel about Millennial Pink, I know why: I liked it, but I am happy to see the transition to something a little more sophisticated. I don’t know if I love the name or the color the most, but Farrow and Ball’s “Sulking Room Pink” works well locally, and beyond. A browned-up pink with almost mauve undertones, you could use it happily in any private room, or to grace an intimate salon.

For antidotes to that sulky but sophisticated sweetness, spin the color wheel to the other side, to the blues and blue greens. Out West, back East, everywhere in the world, we live in and love our denim. The best blue in the new spectrums is another Farrow and Ball color. De Nimes Blue has it all: soft, new, but looking like forever. It is christened after France’s original denim factory, and is a soft worn blue like the best comfy jeans — as slouchy and comforting as a color can be.

You could bear up under the pressure to use one of these colors in a small space, just to test your color mettle. Laundry, powder bath, foyer, one of these could be your color break-out moment. They don’t pay me to say it, but the quality, depth and richness of these paints keeps us coming back for more.

From the locally available high-quality paints come the offerings from Dunn Edwards, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore.

From Dunn Edwards, the color of the year is Spice of Life. This strong hue reflects exotic travel and tastes and our wish to preserve beauty. Spice of Life complements the bright accents of old rugs and our art collections, and is a happiness prompt for all things Southwest. Please color a welcoming entryway in this shade.

And Sherwin Williams presents Cavern Clay, a color that “embodies renewal, simplicity, and a free-spirited, Bohemian flair.” This rusty color has the heat of a coral, but is grounded with browner undertones, like a beloved and ancient rug. It’s a shade welcome anywhere in the Southwest, with dining rooms being the highest and best use for it, in my work.

Back to our “all-white-paint-all-the-time-everywhere” segment, Benjamin Moore has gone daringly uber-safe with a neutral palette that says, “Don’t be afraid, just go off-white and be safe and beautiful and chic.” Their color of the year is a neutral creamy-gray-white called Metropolitan. It nestles inside a whole neutral palette of twelve shades that have warm undertones and are in keeping with the trend toward earth-like colors.

So back to the challenge, maybe go daring: try an off-white, off-gray, off-tan, and then put your toe into a real color paint pot.

Edy Keeler is the owner of Core Value Interiors. She is a designer specializing in remodeling and new construction with an emphasis on kitchen and bath renovations. She is also a color and a materials consultant. Reach her at (505) 577-2167 or edyk@corevalueinteriors.com.

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