Options widen in wall colors, patterns

October 25, 1992|By Rita St. Clair

At long last, it appears that design consultants and manufacturers are acting on the message I get all the time from readers and clients. For several years now -- at least since the mid-'80s -- lots of people have been complaining about the lack of options in the available colors of fabrics and wallpapers.

The trend that produced all those Victorian-style florals and the ubiquitous peach, mauve and gray color schemes became tiresome quite some time ago. But finding alternatives has not been easy until fairly recently. Only in the case of "high-style" products, which are also high in price, was it possible to choose from a full range of colors. Many of those with limited budgets but adventuresome tastes in home furnishings have been frustrated by what amounted to an edict on the part of most manufacturers: Either pay a premium, or accept the colors we define as popular. Anyone trying to spruce up a summer cottage must have felt particularly unhappy about the dominance of those so-called art deco color combinations. They simply don't look right in such settings! And as has finally become obvious to the trendsetters, this type of palette also doesn't suit the easier, more natural look that has been gaining favor for the past few years. The photo shows one of the new wall-covering patterns coming on the market in response to the demand for change. No florals!

This simple yet colorful design of silhouetted fruits and vegetables has a crisp and fresh quality. Both the wallpaper and border are from Motif Designs' Vintage Rosie II collection. Because it depicts nature's bounty, this deliciously decorative wall covering would obviously be appropriate in kitchens and dining rooms. The border, incidentally, can be used either with the coordinated wallpaper shown here or with a stripe or other linear pattern. It would even look good on a plain painted wall. Although this particular design is reminiscent of vintage textiles, it is clearly a creative reinterpretation and as such can be used in contemporary as well as in traditional settings. In fact, a touch of nostalgia will often help to give a modern room the personal and lived-in look that it needs.

In general, we're beginning to see more gold, teal and greens of various

shades in fabrics and wallpapers. Primary colors, too, are making an overdue comeback. Let's just hope that these choices don't now solidify into a trend that will exclude any other options.

/ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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