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IMM Color Trend Report Spring 2014

Hey everybody, I’m here with another trend show report, this time from the IMM Cologne in Germany. I have to say, it is a serious design show and very well visited… This time, I’d like to focus my report on color because there is not much going on that I haven’t reported on so far in my previous columns on decor8 when it comes to form, material, finishings, etc. (you don’t want me to write about copper or indoor gardening again, don’t you?), so let’s see what happens with color schemes in the interior design world. Interesting enough, there is not THE color anymore. Yes, you do have pastels, and yes, there is grey, and other colors considered trending right now. Interior trends once relied on a certain Pantone code, or Dulux (and others), but now brands are working within their very own hue interpretation exploring a single color. Let me show you what I mean and share the photos I snapped at IMM.

Pale pink is still the pastel color! It used to be almost the only one for the past few years. Now we see a bolder pink, we have peach, there is blush, bubble gum, and a long way of other shades. When it comes to pale pink, it is often combined with grey looking for a cooler approach now (see the last report from the M&O).

Pink color chart

pink_Vitra Vitra


(click collage to enlarge)

Above: Arper | Baxter | GandiaBlasco | Montana | Normann Copenhagen | Pension | Softline


pink_Vitra2 Vitra

There is no show where you won’t find some red pieces. Seriously. It is probably the color you’ll find literally as a ‘red thread’ through all the interior design events but never considered a true trend. This time, I have seen red allover, probably linked to the burgundy trend we have been observing in fashion this FW 13/14 season. As a statement piece, it will bright any space, you decide if you like it on your side table, armchair or if you’d even go for a bolder sofa. So, are you open to bright red, burgundy, coral, dark orange, oxblood (brownish red)?

Red color chart





(click collage to enlarge)

 Above: B&B Italia  |  Baxter | Danskina | Delightful LampsDePadovaLiving DivaniMorosoNormann Copenhagen



red_muuto knobs




Oh, yes, purple is staying and evolving from the darker violet spotted already at last year’s show very very slowly to a brighter approach with a more feminine touch. But for now, dark hues are more common and the overall feeling is of a certain sophistication and elegance.

Purple color chart




Ligne Roset


(click collage to enlarge)

Above: Baxter |  Ligne Roset| Signet | Rugstar



Again light blue would be here the key role coming from the pastel color trend. Teal is hot spot. Petrol is another ongoing trend which I suspect will be replaced during the next year. But watch out for more moody colors to come mixed with a greenish and greyish tone and real dark blue which is beautiful for sofas.

Blue color chart




(click on collage to enlarge)

Above: BaxterKenneth CobonpueLintelooMorosoPalau | Soft LineWogg


Soft Line

Here we have grey-green, blue-green, moss green, olive, chartreuse, etc. and the only newcomer for me this time has been a darker and rich green. It looks precious on velvet, quite masculine and sophisticated and belongs to the more moody color scheme we have been talking about in November. Green is hot in all shades, and I truly believe it stems from the current indoor gardening trend. Green just feels natural, refreshing and if not applied in a too bold shade, you don’t get tired of it.

Green color chart



Ligne Roset


(click on collage to enlarge)

Above: &Tradition |  ArperBaxter | GubiLintelooMuutoNormann Copenhagen


Tom Dixon

green_SamuelWilkinson for Emu

Samuel Wilkinson for Emu

This has been kind of a surprise since yellow was already done for me. I have observed a lot going on in this color on the IMM and yes, there is a stronger shifting to saffran and moustard but Muuto came up again with a very bright proposal. Other brands lean towards curry and darker color. It’s interesting to see that the Northern labels are working their designs with yellow whereas you won’t see yellow much in the halls with most of the Mediterranean brands.

Yellow color chart



Andreu World


(click collage to enlarge)
Above: &Tradition | Ligne RosetSoftline




No show right now is complete without b&w. And then there is just black. Or just white. Plus Grey. B&W is king and comes back in stripes, dots, chevron, herringbone – you name the pattern. All black on furniture is trending, white helps to set up light spots and grey is probably one of the most used colors right now when it comes to combining color schemes. It is the perfect ‘to go with’ or complementary shade. You find grey+pale pink, grey+black, grey+yellow, grey+white, etc. Italian brands use them in an allover look&feel for a quite dark atmosphere at their stands whereas the Northern countries combine a lot with white structures (walls and flooring), accessories and furniture. We can talk about the same furniture but the overall feeling is totally different.

b&w-grey color chart





(click collage to enlarge)

Above: B&B ItaliaBaxter  | Moroso

b&w_Baxter_coffee table


SUMMARY  As a general observation: Colors get darker, and there is an authentic color democracy meaning every brand comes up with its very own interpretation.

What do you think about this statement? Is it good or confusing for the markets? 

(images/text: gudy herder/editing holly becker)

Posted by decor8 in trends on January 31, 2014

Your comments...

  1. greta commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 1:25pm

    Thanx for this lovely and inspiring report!

  2. Aga @ Passion shake commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 1:28pm

    Fantastic report! I love your trend alerts, they are always very educative and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your pictures from IMM Cololgne with all of us who didn’t make it to Germany . It almost feels as if I was there myself :)

    I think color democracy and different interpretation is great – in this way we can expect to see new interesting shades from different brands, without being bored with constantly seeing the same color.

    Have a great day! x
    Aga @ Passion shake´s last blog post ..DIY – Lemon hand lotion

  3. Alina commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 1:56pm

    A great colour trend report with lovely images, thanks very much – you’ve even included the Pantone colour of the year – Radiant Orchid 

  4. jenwilsonLWK commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 5:04pm

    It looks like this was a very interesting and exciting exhibition. (The Teal was my favourite!) Dark colours have more staying power/ longevity.
    jenwilsonLWK´s last blog post ..Grey Kitchen Colour Schemes

  5. tinajo commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 5:45pm

    I always feel inspired when seeing displays like this! :-)
    tinajo´s last blog post ..When the going gets tough…

  6. Emma commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 7:11pm

    All of these colors are really gorgeous, stylish and used well. Thanks for sharing such great pictures, too!

  7. Bettina commented
    January 31st, 2014 at 9:32pm

    Thank you for another great colour trend report from Gudy. I have visited Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, just the week before. The leading fair for residential and contract textiles was a riot of colour as well.
    My second post about the Heimtextil Trends 2014/15 will follow this coming week.
    Bettina´s last blog post ..Heimtextil 2014 – A Paradise for Textile Lovers

  8. Deborah Carter commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 12:13am

    Thanks Gudy! very informative and very comprehensive!. Lots of detail and photos to explain your comments. Fantastic!
    Deborah from Melbourne

  9. Anna commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 12:24am

    Awesome colors ! Great report! Thank you.

  10. Judy H. commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 12:30am

    Thanks for such a great color story. I need to be reminded that a color is not just a color, but rather many personalities of itself used in a wide variety of ways.

  11. mireya pizarro commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 2:29am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I got a chance to review my color chart and make a few changes.
    mireya pizarro´s last blog post ..New Valentine’s Day Designs!

  12. Mary Jo Hoffman commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 4:10pm

    Hi Gudy,
    Your comments about how the northern european companies and southern/mediterranean companies take the same colors and create completely different moods with them is fascinating to me. I’d love to see a post just on this topic, with some side-by-side examples. What do you think, are you up for it??
    Thanks for the great trend report!
    Mary Jo

  13. Mavis commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 4:15pm

    Concise and thoughtful reporting!

  14. decor8 commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 5:57pm

    @Mary Jo – I think this is mainly due to climate and cultural history. Those living in southern Europe tend to gravitate more towards pure colors – red, blue, yellow, etc. Think of Greece (loads of blue), Italian (I see red in my mind right away), Spanish (also I think of red tones) etc. I think too it has to do with the heat – colors with heat, cities with heat, food with heat. Then you go up north to Scandinavia and northern Germany and etc. and you find cooler tones. Cool weather, people are cooler personality-wise, food isn’t as spicy, etc. It’s only my observation coupled with living here of course and traveling a great extent, but I think there is some correlation that goes beyond trend predictions or pop culture and actually, again, stems from climate, culture, religion, food, etc.

    What do YOU think Gudy? I know the question was meant for Gudy but I thought it was SUCH a great one that I had to jump in since I know she’s offline right now traveling and I loved your question so much. :)

  15. Maria commented
    February 1st, 2014 at 11:53pm

    I think there is actually a number of factors that influence the difference of hue choices and colour expression between mediterranean and northern design companies. Of course it has to do with cultural differences as Holly very well pointed out. There is also a huge difference in the natural light. In Greece/Italy/Spain the sunlight is really stark creating the effect of very dark shadows. So in the mediterranean, the eye is much more used in contrasts. Also, what I think is very important to think about, is the history of mediterranean vs northern design. Classic mediterranean design companies, most of which are still based in Italy, always had an aspect of “grande” and luxury, that has a very different interpretration in the mediterranean contect in comparison with the northern. Northern and scandinavic design on the other hand was and still is majorly influenced by the pure expression of the modern movements and the abundence of natural materials, especially wood.
    I’m not an expert I may be mistaken in some points, but I believe that if anyone wanted to write about this subject, these aspects should also be researched. And I agree that it would make an interesting topic, even for a book, if someone presented not only the current design scene but also attempted a lookback in the past, as things tend to change and there is a certain influence of scandi design nowadays.

    ps: Holly I know it’s a matter of days before you meet your son and I wish you the best of luck with the birth and lots of happiness in your future!


  16. mel commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 10:50am

    Hi Gudy,well as you know I do like red in the home so I’m happy to see it back in trend…! It’s interesting to see the pinks continue, I didn’t think they’d have such longevity actually. Thanks for another great trend report and totally envious that you get to go to all of these shows. Mel xx
    mel´s last blog post ..Pinterest Talk | Michelle Halford of The Design Chaser

  17. Lisa@TheDecorGirl commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 2:00pm

    Excellent report Gudy! I love how you put this together. Interesting to see colors are different from what we say last year at IMM. The pink is a nice addition, not girly but uplifting. :)
    Lisa@TheDecorGirl´s last blog post ..Are You Making This Huge Decorating Mistake?

  18. Angela - designhaus no.9 commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 2:47pm

    Dear Gudy,

    I am really happy about your report. I planned to visit the IMM Cologne, but I couldn’t, because of some deadlines. Your post is so detailed and very helpful.

    I prefer companies with an own trend interpretation. I am now working for a long time with companies and trends. And sometimes it is so sad, that some companies are afraid to develop an individual style. Thanks for this great work!
    Angela – designhaus no.9´s last blog post ..The ‘De Luwte’ Restaurant in Amsterdam

  19. Deepa commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 9:14pm

    I really enjoyed this post, Gudy! Perhaps the darker and more subdued colors are a response to the neon outburst of the previous year?
    Deepa´s last blog post ..El Nido town: Rustic quirks & mango rum

  20. Gudy Herder commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 10:34pm

    Hi Holly, hi Mary Jo!
    Happy about this little conversation!

    I travel a lot in Italy and live in Spain, I do have some further knowledge on the Portuguese market since many furniture manufactures I used to visit are located close to Oporto , and I can only talk about those countries. I have no experience with the French market.

    Italy: colors go hand in hand with the fashion industry (for the past 3 years there has been an important influence starting with the pastel colors_ a nice feminine revolution and change!) but in the interior world since Italian designers strive for elegance, you’ll find them darker and let’s say more sophisticated. Plum, a dark green and a really dark red or burgundy is what they use and like now. How ever, I visit the Salone in April and I am really curious about what they come up with this time:-)

    Spain: talking final customers and main stream, they are kind of scared about colors in the interior and work with muted colors. Barcelona and Madrid are exceptions with a more eclectic style where colors are allowed. Interior trends start getting accepted much much later than in Italy or the Northern countries. You see lot of Industrial Style still over here.

    Portugal: dark and sophisticated, the unknown market with amazing hand crafters and manufacturers, one of the best in Europe. Lot of plain wood beautifully worked, very organic and few color. If though, not bold!

    Northern markets: more need for light, sunshine and brightness, reflected in bold and happy colors. They are educated in interior design since the fifties and are not afraid about applying it in their homes. It is just part of their culture.
    This is what I believe, it might be interesting to get Scandinavian bloggers over here and listen to their take on it.

    But that is really just my very personal opinion coming from my travels and show visits.

    Now: what the final customer buys is never what you see on a fair where all is about presenting eye candy and appealing new product.
    When you to talk to the retail structures, they will confirm on the fact that the most extravagant proposals are looking great in catalogs but don’t make it into many many homes being it a yellow Muuto sofa (Denmark) or a dark green Baxter armchair (Italy)!

    What is your experience, Mary Jo on your market? Would love to hear and learn!
    xx Gudy

  21. Mary Jo Hoffman commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 11:47pm


    It is really and interesting topic isn’t it? I have more than once bought a rug, or a pillow, or a print, say, on a warm weather vacation and brought it home to my northern climate home to find it looks totally out of place. I was coming to the conclusion that our low-on-the-horizon northern sunlight simply doesn’t play well with tropical colors. But then Gudy mentioned how an Italian company, for example, will create a totally different vibe with the same color scheme, INSIDE a convention center. Which has nothing to do with ambient light. So, I got intrigued and thought maybe I was over simplifying.
    On a similar note, France is one of the few European countries that spans all the way from cold northern latitudes to warm Mediterranean ones. And French style has always been one of the styles that is most difficult for me to
    Mary Jo Hoffman´s last blog post morning in february

  22. Mary Jo Hoffman commented
    February 3rd, 2014 at 11:50pm


    It is really and interesting topic isn’t it? I have more than once bought a rug, or a pillow, or a print, say, on a warm weather vacation and brought it home to my northern climate home to find it looks totally out of place. I was coming to the conclusion that our low-on-the-horizon northern sunlight simply doesn’t play well with tropical colors. But then Gudy mentioned how an Italian company, for example, will create a totally different vibe with the same color scheme, INSIDE a convention center. Which has nothing to do with ambient light. So, I got intrigued and thought maybe I have been over simplifying.
    On a similar note, France is one of the few European countries that spans all the way from cold northern latitudes to warm Mediterranean ones. And French style has always been one of the styles that is most difficult for me to master. Hmmm, I wonder if this breadth has something to do with it??
    Fun musings!
    Mary Jo
    Mary Jo Hoffman´s last blog post morning in february

  23. decor8 commented
    February 4th, 2014 at 10:17am

    @Maria – Thank you Maria for your little “PS” note. :)

  24. Gudy Herder commented
    February 4th, 2014 at 10:56am


    Hi Deepa, that is perfectly possible. Neon colors are almost completely disappeared.
    It happens many times that a new trend is a direct response to a former trend. This time, bold colors are still happily living together with bold colors in the same time period. I find it is a true moment of change in this sense.

  25. Gudy Herder commented
    February 4th, 2014 at 11:01am

    Angela – designhaus no.9,

    Hi Angela, thank you so much!
    It must be quite challenging for a company to find a balance between going with the trend and stick to their own interpretation. A huge experience helps and the will to accept failure from time to time, I guess.

  26. Randhi commented
    February 4th, 2014 at 4:43pm

    Wow this is great I wish we had a house to decorate like this instead of the apartment we live in. Love the pink sofa with the Zebra Print cushions :)

  27. decor8 commented
    February 5th, 2014 at 11:00am

    @Deepa @Gudy – I’m not seeing as many neon colors this year with the exception of neon orange – that seems to be more on trend than neon pink. But Pastels & Neons are definitely still around and can look very fresh, especially if you pair them now with deeper tones – like Mint, Emerald, Copper, Peach, Black and Neon Orange as a subtle highlight. In many ways though, I think it’s up to consumers to take back some of their own creativity and go with colors they love and not so much what trends dictate – I personally work with whatever color palette I like and that makes me happy at any given moment – not at all based on the runway or a fair.

  28. Bettina commented
    February 13th, 2014 at 8:44am

    Hi Holly,
    our newest mag is out with trend reports from Germany (Heimtextil Frankfurt and imm Cologne). I could see the whole colour spectrum in Frankfurt – this is also represented in the Trend Table’s forecast Progress! and Revive!.
    Bettina´s last blog post ..A Look Behind The Scenes: Interview with Furniture Designer Anders Nørgaard

  29. Andrea commented
    February 14th, 2014 at 2:12am

    Interesting, the red palette is like the colours of a kilim, earthy red, orange and burgundy tones… That has been my palette for years.

    I have to admit, i have just scanned through the images and the palettes….but I really think I need to go back and read the article.
    Andrea´s last blog post ..Valentine’s Day, apparently it’s just a Hallmark Holiday

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