Fall Color Report

by Caitlin Kelch


I tackle market editing from an analyst’s point-of-view. The turning point of my career was when I was working as the Design Room Manager at a well-known fashion brand. I readied the fabric and mood boards, I chose the wood for our hangers, and best of all: I named our colors each season. Dream job? You bet. But the day I walked the floors of boutiques and department stores with our Business Director, I realized the right side of my brain was utterly and completely united with the left side of my brain. I was dizzy with bliss.

When color authority Pantone releases their color forecasts and collections, I love trying to pinpoint the genesis of the chicken-or-the-egg theory as fashion color forecasts appear in the housewares market. Fall 2016’s color collection is no exception, so let’s take a look at what the market is serving up for autumn.

Click through to learn more about the reasoning behind Pantone’s chosen colors for autumn and see where they’re popping up in the home goods market. If you don’t work in the industry, I think you’ll be surprised! –Caitlin

Each season, it became a ritual for me to “walk the floor” and investigate the clearance sections of stores. The design and sales patterns were obvious to me. The trickle-down effect was also obvious. What interested me the most was the amount of time it took for a trend to fall out of favor, and to trace that path culturally through a variety of sources. It generally takes longer for a home goods trend to fall out of favor, and we’ve seen many variations of blues appear again and again in interiors and home accessories the last four years. And they’re back again this year, with deep pigment in natural shades of a slightly milky navy and cornflower.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute™, explains “the desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette that is led by the Blue family. Along with anchoring earth tones, exuberant pops of vibrant colors also appear throughout the collections. Transcending gender, these unexpectedly vivacious colors in our Fall 2016 palette act as playful but structured departures from your more typical fall shades.”

While there are 10 fall colors in the collection, we’re going to deep dive into the first three colors — blues and grey — and share where these hues are popping up across the home goods and fashion markets.

First up is Pantone 17-4028, also known as Riverside. The heavy presence of blues in fall’s color story lends a sense of consistency during this voltile and turbulent time in our country. Think of the blue sky that is constantly above us…



Images clockwise:

1. Covered Ice Cube Trays (for infused cubes)

2. Ebru Ceramic Platters

3. Ilve Range

4. Street Fashion Portrait #1 by Michelle Oberholzer of cinder&skylark in Cape Town, South Africa

5. Street Fashion Portrait #2 by Michelle Oberholzer of cinder&skylark

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.11.06 PM


Next up is a lighter shade of blue that teases periwinkle, depending on the lighting. Meet Airy Blue. Again, the consistency of blue skies, this time mixed with the fluffy whiteness of clouds, lifts our moods with its heaven-sent, ethereal tone. Airy Blue pairs nicely with the rich earth tones of dark oranges, browns and rust. See the orange reds and leopard shoes on the gentleman on the right (above).

Images clockwise:

1. Latte Mugs

2. Mixer

3. Colorhouse Painted Interior in Aerify Blue

4. Denim High-Top Sneakers


Finally, we take a look at Sharkskin, a member of the of-the-moment neutral gang of greys. We’ve seen how these shades are beautiful in a bedroom, and now we’re seeing them moving into the kitchen, too.

Images clockwise:
1 & 2. This subtle shade appears on the warm side with luxurious undertones, and is making it’s way into the design of ultra  and chic timepieces.

3. Bright pops of color are being edited down to a singular piece and appliances and counters are going grey — even the infamous Smeg refrigerator.

Kitchen image via A Beauty Junkie in London

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to explore the other seven colors in a dedicated post. Knowing my affinity for color and the market, I’d be happy to oblige!

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  • Love this post! Please do, go on to the other colors! Can hardly wait! Thank you for all of this! Looking forward to more!

  • yes please – more colours…and if you can explain why shark / elephant skin does something for you I would be eternally grateful.

  • Love that you included Chulaap in this roundup (portrait 2), he is a really interesting South African fashion designer! I also love blue, but am so tired of grey!

  • Yes please. Hugely interested in this as someone who is working on a core range of product that can be updated seasonally, mainly through color. Thanks!

  • This is super interesting. Im relatively new to design sponge so im trying to take all this in (I am a newbie interior design geek) But this is really cool to be aware of trends and all

  • I reached the end of this post and thought, is there a link I have to click to find the other color explorations? Maybe a different post? And then I read the text more carefully and just laughed at myself :D I am so looking forward to the continued color explorations! Thanks, this is a great post!

  • Please add me to the list for learning more about trend colors for fall 2016 – thank you.

    • Hi Diane

      I have Part Two coming up today at 1pm! We’re looking at three more colors so head back. And thanks for taking the time to let me know :)


  • Color analysis, yes, please! I love Pantone forcecasts, but sometimes times I just wonder “whyyyyyyyy” . The greys in the kitchen are appreciated with all the red brick I have to balance. Thank you.

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