Neon colors pop up at home

  • Article by: BY CARLA CORBAN KATH , Kansas City Star
  • Updated: October 13, 2012 - 10:33 AM

Super-bright hues are punching up the indoor palette.

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Accessories like the City Slicker side table from CB2 ($199) and softer-finish pillows and throws brighten up a room.

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Shades that slap you silly are making a comeback.

They fled from the '80s to the spring runways of designers such as Nanette Lepore and Cynthia Rowley.

Now, neon colors are coming to living rooms.

Today's neons aren't timid. Thanks to technology, colors are brighter, bolder and more intense than before, according to Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute.

The finish of bright products may create hesitation for some homeowners, Eiseman said.

Shiny surfaces make colors pop more than merino wool, so she suggests shopping for lively pieces with luster-less texture, such as wool throw pillows or cotton curtains. Prints that combine neutrals with neons give the untrained eye a bit of color and then a bit of rest, she said.

Eiseman credits the cosmetics industry for dropping neon colors back into our lives. "Some people might say 'ugh' to neons, but if you see it enough, it enters your realm of vision, and you begin to say, 'That's not so bad.'"

Some home retailers, such as CB2, are already betting on a neon comeback.

"Color has always been a key part of CB2," said Ryan Turf, chief merchandising manager. He was surprised by strong sales of a bright-pink, high-gloss side table called the City Slicker.

"We have always seen strong sales in bright-colored product, but each season we do see upward shifts in demand for certain specific colors," he said.

Some of CB2's brightest colors this year include atomic yellow, grass and pool blue.

Erin Loechner, an art and design blogger, is a fan of bright colorsful groupings and garlands. She created a DIY dinosaur garland in a host of hot hues for a home office that was featured on HGTV.com.

"Displaying bright, bold accents in your home is a subtle way to incorporate happy hues," Loechner said. "By surrounding yourself with objects you love in your favorite tones, you can subconsciously create an environment that's enjoyable for you and your family."

Loechner is pleased that the neon trend has come full circle. She suggests reserving pops of color for accessories, such as bright dining utensils, an intense table runner, punchy patterned throw pillows or framed fluorescent artwork.

Erica Islas, an interior designer whose work has been featured on HGTV's "Designer's Challenge," believes accessories are the best way to introduce neons into a room, but she also thinks that bright paint shouldn't be overlooked.

She suggests using neon paint colors sparingly in a space to enhance design elements or create a more interesting atmosphere.

Try a bright paint color on a ceiling to complement four white or gray walls. You could also try painting an entry door, accent wall, kitchen cabinets or the base of a kitchen island, a bathroom vanity or the top or bottom half of wainscoting, she said.

"My front door is Electric Orange by Benjamin Moore, and I have people always stopping by to ask me what color my front door is because they like it so much," she said.

Islas recommends using bright yellow as an accent in a room with green tones, and to consider hot pink or fiery orange in a room with blue tones.

For just the right punch of paint in a room, she favors a coral color from Pratt & Lambert called Pale Cornelian, a teal tone from Benjamin Moore called Poolside Blue and a hot pink hue from Dunn-Edwards called Fiery Fuchsia.

Although color expert Eiseman isn't sold on all of us painting our walls chartreuse, she does say that more people are open to neon, fluorescent and vivid colors than ever before.

"People now want to do something new. Bright colors add some excitement to what we're going through," Eiseman said. "Using bright colors again is like opening a box of crayons when you're a kid. They allow the fun in."

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