Each year, Color Marketing Group gathers about 400 of its members to forecast color. It's serious business. Color can be up to 85 percent of the reason people decide to buy one product over another, the group said. Marketing folks from all manner of companies - from Cadillac to Kleenex to Thomasville Furniture - gather to look at social, political and economic trends and events, and then translate those ideas into colors they think will be appealing to buyers.
Here's a breakdown of what will be landing in stores, as well as simple ways to incorporate it into your home decor, whether you want to spend a lot of money or a little.
Natural looks. "Seriously fashionable." That's the term the marketing group uses to describe anything that looks as if it's handmade, undyed or unbleached.
What color is environmentally "green"? Turns out, green is, but not exclusively. Shades of bleached shell, sand, stone and wood are too. Think whites, off-whites, beiges and browns.
But texture is as important as neutral color - natural imperfections are big in high-end home decor.
Design tip: Get the high-end look without going broke. Jute rugs, neutral sofa slipcovers, and coats of wall paint are widely available and easily done for a few hundred dollars.
Or go serene, as Williams-Sonoma Home does in its spring catalog spreads with neutral backdrops.
"When the economy is low, people want safe, soft, comforting colors," Larrabee says.
Accents of blue and green create a calming environment, but consumers this year may be flipping for bolder, zestier accent colors as well.
Vivid accents. Taking a cue from the forthcoming Beijing Olympics and the global economy, Color Marketing Group predicts hot hues will be sizzling in throws, pillows and other accessories. Think of the colors of India, Africa and Latin America - deeply saturated reds, oranges, yellows and rosy pinks.
Design tip: Vivid accent colors work well on accent walls, table-lamp bases, vases, throws and pillows. The splashy colors add zip to a neutral room. Check out Pottery Barn's throws and floral pillows. The retailer also is carrying milk-glass lamp bases in marigold (a bright yellow), green, espresso, white and orange ($90).
Mixing blues. Trend spotters at the large New York-based advertising agency JWT are predicting blue will replace green as the symbolic color of the environmental movement.
Either way, sky blues and deep navys already are showing up in home decor and products, even in the kitchen.
Design tip: Martha Stewart already is onto this trend. Her Macy's line includes light blue silicone bakeware. A three-piece set costs $40.
Bed, Bath & Beyond carries a light blue KitchenAid stand mixer. KitchenAid products are particularly colorful - especially its line of mixers, despite the fact that they're stored away in cabinets in many homes. The manufacturer also is onto another trend: bronzes and coppers.
Metallic finishes. Stainless steel, chrome and nickel are still very big, but also expect to see a warmer range of metallic finishes in everything from vases to refrigerators.
Technological innovations are making a wider range of metallics easier and less expensive to produce, says Larrabee of the Color Marketing Group.
Design tip: Bronze-finished Jenn-Air refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens already are on the market, but not yet widely available. We found them at www.us-appliance.com, where the refrigerator retails for $2,570.