Wondering about the hot paint colors for next year?  Wonder no more:  The 2012 paint palette will draw heavily from the natural colors in the American landscape, according to Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.

2012 Paint Color TrendsIf you’re thinking about repainting your home interior, Zimmer advises that you look to the great American outdoors because native plants and flowers, oceans and lakes, and rocks and minerals are the sources of inspiration for the paint colors that will be popular next year.

Here are some highlights:

Blue, the Jewel of the Sea

Blues gained popularity in 2011 and continue to be red hot in 2012.  The color comes in a wide range of hues, from sparkling sea-glass blue to colonial blue-gray. A soothing color that almost everyone loves, blue is suitable for any room in the house.

Green, From Farm to Forest

Greens, ranging from celery and asparagus to fir and fern, allow homeowners to bring the comforting feelings of the world outside into the world within.  According to Zimmer, dining rooms and kitchens are the natural spots for trendy greens, but the color would also work well in family rooms and bedrooms.

Violet, Majestic Purple Mountains

"A harmonious blend of patriotic blue and red hues, violet can add 'punch' to any room when used as an accent color, or serve as the dominant color in a bedroom," says Zimmer.

But natural hues aren't the only news for 2012.  Zimmer predicts that three paint and decorating trends will gain prominence next year:

Patterns

In 2012, patterned paint will take center stage, with increased interest in hound's-tooth finishes, lacy designs, and bold color blocking techniques.  Pattern can either be the main decorating feature in a room, or it can provide a subtle, textured backdrop for furnishings and artwork.

Black and White

The classic combination of black and white isn't just for Cape Cods anymore.  You'll see much more of it in all sorts of settings, from contemporary apartments to historic homes, Zimmer predicts, adding that the pairing is a great way to freshen an interior with something smart and stylish.

Exterior Paint Combinations

On the home exterior, colors for shutters will begin to shift away from the traditional look of high-contrast green, red, or black to a more monochromatic palette.  More homeowners will paint their shutters just a shade darker than the siding, and those whose homes have stone exteriors can achieve a similar look by matching the shutter color to the dominant color of the stone, Zimmer says.

Despite all the new colors and trends, some things in the paint world will remain the same in 2012. Zimmer points out that top quality 100% acrylic latex paint will continue to provide the best performance and the best value to budget-conscious homeowners.

And since paints are locally produced, consumers can easily support the growing "Made in America" decorating trend.

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