The Election’s Impact on Home Decorating

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An article on suggests that the election is influencing home décor trends.

You may not be inclined to paint your house Republican red or Democratic blue. Still, the presidential election may be impacting the way you decorate your home, according to experts interviewed for an article appearing on the online magazine

The article (“The Red, White and Blue of Home Decorating” by YDR editor Tammy Adamson-McMullen) interviewed top experts in the world of home fashion who noted that there are surprises emerging on the homescape that tie directly to the current election cycle.

Of course, major news events often impact home decorating, especially when they’re emotional in nature.

“A past example is 9-11,” said Dee Schlotter, national color brand manager for Pittsburgh Paints. “After that catastrophic event, soft pink and chocolate brown combinations were huge. Soft pink represents a compassionate color, and chocolate brown is a grounding, cocooning color. This is how people felt after that event. They wanted security and compassion, and those colors represented that.”

The current election cycle has been a particularly emotional one, as candidates have battled issues ranging from Medicare benefits and exit strategies in Afghanistan to gay marriage and the meaning of rape.

As a result, YDR found that home décor has become more calming with a retreat to neutrals and other soothing colors as well as traditional patterns and themes.
Barbara Schirmeister, color and design consultant for Hunter Douglas and a member of The Color Association of the United States, told the online magazine that the home palette will remain “toned down” until serious issues are resolved.

True, some bright colors have moved their way into home fashion products on the market. But, “These are small, enticing treats of color to draw the consumer in,” Schirmeister said.

Within this soothing palette, blue is a rising color. The color is trending not because it has ties to any particular political party but because it’s one of Mother Nature’s most soothing hues.

AkzoNobel, in fact, has named Indigo Night, a deep and dark hue, the home fashion color of the year for 2013.

Indigo Night “is deep, soothing, relaxing and inspiring,” said Krim Danzinger, AkzoNobel’s senior color consultant. Danzinger noted that the color is perfect for calming pre-election jitters. “It provides us with a sense of security and a grounded comfort.”

Pittsburgh Paints, meanwhile, has shades of red, white and blue in its Modernist Tech trend palette. The blue in the palette isn’t exactly a patriotic blue, as Schlotter explained, “but it does have a fun expression, even though it wasn’t consciously chosen because of the election.”

And what about red, that other patriotic color?

Gina Shaw, vice president of product development for York Wallcoverings, told YDR that red is “re-trending." The color has been all over the fashion runways, she said, which means that it will be moving even more predominantly into our homes.

What has propelled red back into the picture? Maybe the election but more than likely the Olympics. With the recent London Olympics, experts noted that there has been a resurgence of Union Jack colors and themes.

Thanks to the already emerging hype for the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, red may remain a big player in home decorating. “With the Olympics in Brazil approaching, look for more vibrant and cheerful colors—reds, oranges, yellows, black and white with bright pops of color,” Shaw predicted.

Perhaps the biggest impact any election has on home décor is that it tends to slow spending. With so much uncertainty in their futures, consumers put spending on hold until they learn what candidate has won and how that candidate’s policies might affect their lives.

This time around, the slowdown might stretch well into 2013. Designer Sally Morse, director of creative services for Hunter Douglas, said the issues are so complex that consumers may not know how they feel six months from now, let alone in the first few weeks after the Nov. 6 election deadline.

However, Morse told YDR that over time we’ll get a sense of the mood of the country from the colors consumers choose to use at home. It’s a simple but effective barometer: Muddy colors and a drive toward neutrals will suggest pessimism; clearer, bright colors, optimism.

For more election trends, visit the article at ( is a clearinghouse of home-fashion news covering decorating tips and techniques, color and design trends, fun and useful products, “green” decorating, people making a difference in residential and commercial design and other happenings in the home furnishings industry.

Site co-founder and editor Tammy Adamson-McMullen has more than 25 years of experience reporting on and extensively covering the home furnishings industry. She has written hundreds and hundreds of decorating articles and edited several related trade publications.

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