Color Trends 2012: Neutrals Get Colorful

The last home exterior color trend for 2012/2013 that I’ll be talking about before heading off to present at the International Builders’ Show, is neutrals.  Now you may be thinking,

"What? Neutrals are a trend?  Come on, Kate, neutrals aren’t trendy.  They are always used on home exteriors."

"And, colorful?  Neutrals aren’t colorful.  What are you talking about?"

You’re right, neutral colors aren’t a trend.  They are a staple for homes both inside and out. What is new about the neutrals is the materials and combinations we will be seeing going forward.

What you aren’t so right about is that neutrals aren’t colorful. 

A variety of colored neutrals
We have gone from asking, "What more can I acquire?" to "Would life be better with less"? A more streamlined life calls for design that employs modern technology, uncomplicated materials and natural colors that make our complex lives easier, or at least seem easier.
My current favorite neutral colors are not the earthtones used in decades past simply coming around again. Today’s neutrals are sophisticated, complex colors that would never be satisfied to be called simply tan or khaki. They have more than a hint of color and are anything but boring.

I’m not the only one loving the complex neutrals so be looking for how designers are allowing neutrals to take center stage rather than using them as a foundation for other colors.

Gray with a touch of lavender sets this home apart
Any low chroma (think low intensity, less saturated) is considered a neutral and these are just the types of colors that are perfect for home exteriors.  The home above looks light gray but when the sun hits the siding you can see the mauve undertones.
A home exterior with James Hardie siding in a neutral color that compliments the fixed features of this home
A neutral color James Hardie siding compliments the variety of fixed features on the facade of this home. For the siding that is exposed you want to have a color that will fade into the facade rather than compete with the many design details and architectural elements.  Choosing a neutral with the same undertone as your fixed features is the perfect solution.

Going forward you will continue to see an interesting mix of materials in the permanent elements on home exteriors as buyers look for home constructed with more materials that have longer lifespans. Often the manufactured materials mimic natural materials but are a "greener", more durable product and can be offered in a wider variety of colors than is easily achieved in nature. This is true for the simulated slate and shake tiles that DaVinci offers.

DaVinci Roofscape Slate and Shake Color FansDaVinci Roofscape Slate and Shake Color Fans
But even with 49 color and almost unlimited possiblities for color combinations for your lightweight roofing system, the colors are all based on the hues of nature.  This means that they will blend beautifully with the many materials used on home exteriors and all of the many complex neutral siding colors that are so right for today’s homes.  This is true of most of the materials that will continue to be used on home exteriors.

With so many neutrals coming together to define the characteristics of your home it becomes more important than ever before to understand how to make the colors and materials work together.  To help you know how to select your color confidently I put together an ebook (pdf) for you and DaVinci is making it available to you for immediate download.

FRESH Home Exterior Colors: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect Hues for Your Home 

A Final Thought About Color Trends 
I have shared a glimpse into color trends over the past few weeks so that you will be aware of what is currently influencing design.  I would never recommend that you use a color just because it is currently on trend.  It is much more important that you choose colors that feel right to you, work well on your home and reflect your personality regardless of whether or not they are currently among the trending colors. 

If you missed any of my previous post please pop over and take a look.

Color Expert Kate
 Smith lends her expertise to DaVinci Roofscapes