At the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC, manufacturers are pursuing several different color directions in decorator fabrics and upholstered furniture. Look for greens infused with blue, warmer neutrals like wheat and soft yellows, and delicious reds in the burnt orange family of paprika, salsa, tomato, and cinnabar. The palette balances vintage appeal with creative energy.
For a tour of what consumers can expect to see later this year, the American Furniture Manufacturers Association (AFMA) turned to two experts among fashion-forward upholstery producers: Jack Arthur, vice-president of merchandising for Norwalk Furniture Co., and Terry Allen, vice-president of design at Pearson Co.

Heading Norwalk's spectrum is green in every shade, but primarily menthol, a blend of blue and green. "It's the poster child for serenity," said Arthur. "It fits nicely into the movement toward well-being. We feel it's about the coolest, most pleasing tone." Lest you think the easy-going shade is limited to the casual and contemporary, Arthur said the fabric mills showed it across the entire gamut of styles-informal to dressy, modern to traditional-in chenilles, matelasses, prints, tapestries, and even taffetas.

At Pearson, top billing goes to shades of orange. Like Arthur, Allen doesn't claim to predict trends. "I pick what strikes me for our lineup; it doesn't mean anyone else is doing it." But they are; orange is ripe for the color-deprived after years of bland neutrals. From burnt caramel to tomato, shades of orange are splashed across fashion pages everywhere. "We have quite a lot of it, and it's the subject of our latest national ad," said Allen. Pearson complements fresh fruit colors like mango and papaya with the purple blues of periwinkle and blueberry. "There are no new colors," he said, "just new combinations."

"Color trends come and go," said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the AFMA, "but color is truly that what strikes us first and leaves the longest impression, whether it's ready-to-wear or room decor."