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Color Association highlights home hues

"People wish for a more stable traditional environment," said Margaret Walch, director, The Color Association of the United States. Now that it is the 21st century, people are referencing the past, she added. "They're longing for an era when people spent more time in the home," cooking and spending time with their families.

She added, "It's a great time for fabrics, they're probably the oldest and most traditional of all the home furnishings."

The colors she sees emerging in spring 2003 reference the home environment in their names: melon orange, butter yellow, creamy white and scarlet red. Mauves are also returning, she believes.

Melon orange will be the standout for the season, she said. "It won't be used in quantity, but it has a key role to play," maybe as a wallpaper, a sofa, or a drapery. "We're beyond timid accents at this point."

Some of these colors suggest the earth tone palette of the 1970s, though she stressed that today's colors are much richer and complex. The 19th-century, Victorian era is also an influence.

In general, the emerging palette is soft and feminine, and Walch doesn't see more male-oriented colors such as black, gray or forest green on the rise.

The idea of looking backward is also reflected in the growing interest in traditional fabrics, such as damasks, chintz and toiles, she said. This also includes materials that are two-toned or have dimensional effects. Gold is also important, particularly in textured silks.

Any material that shows weave will also be popular. "Linen is a good one for that," she said, as is damask, shantung silk, and sheers. In addition, velvets and embossed velvets will have their "heyday."

What people will see less of is anything high-tech, minimalist or silvery. "A minimal environment strips everything away," she said. "People want a cozy, warmer, home-like setting." Fabrics add that soft touch, she said.

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