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Look for a honeysuckle spring
Pinkish tone expected to be the popular color in home furnishings, boutiques this season
Honeysuckle was chosen as the color of the year by the Pantone Color Institute, a leading color-forecasting company, and is bound to trickle down to home furnishings and decor, especially in the spring. - photo by David Perry

Not surprisingly, spring color trends are taking a note from flowering gardens this year.

The Pantone Color Institute, which has been forecasting color trends for many decades, has declared "honeysuckle" to be the color of the year for 2011.

"The intensity of this festive reddish-pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute.

If reddish-pink isn't the first color that comes to mind when you think of honeysuckle, you're not alone.

"Pink isn't a color that I think of with honeysuckle. There are many different varieties of honeysuckle, so that one is probably out of our range," said Samuel Faulkner, an "honorary" master gardener of Hall County.

"Coral honeysuckle gets planted most often in this area, but it's more of a red. You can also find cream- or yellow-colored Japanese honeysuckle in this area, but it is more of a weed. You see it all around in vacant lots and on the edges of woods. It has the tendency to spring up in places that you don't want it."

Each year, the color institute selects a different color as a favorite. Last year's choice was turquoise, which was thought to be a soothing counterpart for a troubled economy.

"In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going - perfect to ward off the blues."

The color institute predicts that honeysuckle will be seen everywhere from home furnishing stores to clothing boutiques.

"We've done our spring buying and reddish-pink is a hot trend for spring in both gifts and home accessories," said Karen Davis, owner of K D Design Studio and new owner of Cozy Corner in Gainesville.

"Lavenders and grays are also really popular, as are greens and grayish blues. Those two are pretty consistent every spring."

Many retailers are enthusiastic about the return of such a bright, spring trend.

"We've been through a really tough year, and with the economy slowly coming back, we need a little honeysuckle in our lives," said Phil Tracey, decorator for HomeGoods. "It's almost like a spring awakening. It's a cheerful and happy color."

If committing to such a vibrant color makes you nervous, interior designer Gail Wolfe suggests using the color as an accent.

"The reason to do a new color as an accessory like pillows or club chairs is because if you don't like it, you don't have the largest piece of furniture in the room — like a sofa — in that color. You can always change the seat and back cushions of a chair to play down the color some," said Wolfe, co-owner of Traditions Furniture Store in Gainesville.

"Color should be like the icing on the cake. When you accessorize with large prints or vibrant colors, it really adds a nice pop to the room."

Maintaining an overall neutral color palette with anchor furniture like sofas, love seats and other big items makes it easier to introduce splashes of colors via accent pieces. It also makes it easier and less expensive to update your room's decor as frequently as you like, say Good Housekeeping designers.

Wolfe says there are other home interior trends for the spring.

"We're seeing a lot of texture and a lot of brown tones," she said. "We're also seeing a lot of blue and yellow."

Interior design experts suggest pairing the brighter hue with colors like charcoal gray, sage green or coppery brown.

"You always want to counterbalance bright colors with more muted hues," Davis said.

"We're seeing the honeysuckle in combination with the browns that were so popular last year. We're also seeing it paired with grayish-blue, which is kind of unusual, but it's also kind of fresh."

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services contributed to this article.

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