Kate Smith

AT Offline 10.02.08, New York

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Kate Smith, of Sensational Color, was our third and final expert color panelist at last week's meetup Kate is a professional color consultant. She has that rare and utterly enigmatic job of determining the colors people are going to want to put in their homes three to five years from now....

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And her verdict? What will we be like? What will we want? What colors will make us complete? Well, according to Kate, our society is moving, collectively, towards more sophisticated tastes. We all have access, through media, if not through our wallets, to a vast and diverse array of brands, styles, tastes, etc. So, the desire and knowledge around these expanded horizons plays out in the products offered at more and more price points.

Kate says that neutrals are coming back, but as rich neutrals. This means that the color won't be immediately obvious. For example, it could be a grey with a lot of undertones and appear to some as purple, to others as beige, to others as a pale blue. According to Kate, these rich neutrals will be very versatile. In addition, Kate believes there will be an increased tolerance for unique color combinations in one's home. So, teal and brown won't be the only striking combo. There will be a ton of other options, as well.

As for advice, Kate strongly encourages testing out colors in your home before painting an entire wall. First of all, the mixed paint color you get at the store is unlikely to be an exact match of the strip you presented to the paint mixer at the store. Second of all, there is no way to know how the paint is going to work on your particular wall. And lastly, it is important to test the variations between flat and gloss paint. Kate encourages taking risks and that you may be happier with a bright, intense color than we anticipate. She told the audience last Thursday to live with it for a while before getting scared, and then enjoy it!

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