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Provocative ‘Tangerine Tango’ is Tops for 2012

An eclectic representation of products featuring Pantone's Tangerine Tango.

By Sandra Meineke

The Color of the Year is not just for fashion; it adds pizzazz to home decor too

When Pantone announced its Color of the Year for 2012, Tangerine Tango, the Associated Press raved, “The world doesn’t need more gray, and the blues are covered, too. What consumer products need is a jolt, a shot of energy and boldness, all of which comes from Tangerine Tango, the reddish-orange hue that Pantone announced as its top color for 2012.”

Sophisticated, as well as dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is already appearing in designer showrooms and high-end homes. It adds impact and exotic flair to any area of the home from kitchens and baths to tabletops, fireplace facades, walls. bedrooms and outdoor living spaces.

Honeysuckle, the 2011 color of the year, encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish-orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.

“Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”



Over the past several years, orange has grown in popularity and acceptance among designers and consumers alike. It is featured in both men’s and women’s fashions as well as in cosmetics. But interior designers love the color as well. They use this high impact hue to energize neutral spaces with accessories such as pillows, bedspreads and accent pieces. It’s even fashionable in appliances and personal electronics for an unexpected pop of color.

And nothing perks up a home that’s for sale more effectively and inexpensively than fresh color inside and out. “One of the best ways to get your home to stand out from the crowd is to apply a fresh coat of paint in psychologically important areas,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute. “At the top of the list are the front door and key parts of the home interior.”

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “falling in love with a home.” That feeling starts at the entrance, so your front door should create a favorable first impression. Fresh-looking paint on your front door tells potential buyers that you care about your home, giving them a comfort level even before entering. Give the front door a dynamic burst of energy by painting it a cheery Tangerine Tango, then draw potential buyers into the home by using the same inviting color on one wall of the entryway or hall.

Orange signals not only vitality, but also urgency and strength — associations that resonate in a year where many are hoping to climb out of the recessive funk that has haunted consumers in recent years. “There’s the element of encouragement with orange,” said Eisman. “It’s building on the ideas of courage and action, that we want to move on to better things.”

This year’s “it” color manages to fuse happy-go-lucky warmth with sultry exoticism — and it’s already popping up everywhere. Maryland-based interior designer Samantha Friedman says the color’s recent spike in popularity can be traced to its versatility. She calls the shade “fresh and fun, but not overly feminine.”



If you think you’re ready to add some tangerine pop to your home, Friedman recommends starting small. Pillows, throws and accessories are the quickest way to update a room. But tread lightly, because one too many additions can have your home resembling a radioactive pumpkin. “The color has a lot of energy, so it needs to be toned down with neutrals and patterns,” she says. “It’s also important to spread it evenly throughout the space. You don’t want to over-saturate one area with the color.”

For a touch of glamour, Friedman suggests pairing Tangerine Tango with hints of gold, like shimmery picture frames, hardware or trims. And “don’t be afraid to try it with new combinations,” she says.

Traditionally an autumn color, Tangerine Tango works all year long when paired with today’s most popular neutrals like white and gray. HGTV calls the color a “rich, spicy, warm and energizing hue — a shade that looks good on absolutely anything, from walls to furniture to accessories.” It can also be mixed with a variety of diverse colors, from bright fuchsia to pastel shades like mint, according to a station spokesperson.

Decorator and blogger Claudia Jacobs says this about the color of the year, “Tangerine Tango is a complementary opposite that flatters blue or green. When paired with brown it brings out an amber cast. Red-oranges work easily with white and warm neutrals, such as creams and gray-browns, and can look fantastic with other strong colors. Combine this tangerine hue with pale blue or other true shades of orange.”

If you’re still not sold on the idea of running out and buying pops of tangerine for your home, Tangerine Tango isn’t the only color trend for 2012. It may be the noisiest, drawing the most attention, but according to the Paint Quality Institute there are other — more mannerly — colors that project warmth, draw the outdoors in and will give your home a whole new look.



The 2012 paint palette draws heavily upon the natural colors in the American landscape, according to Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute. “Native plants and flowers, oceans and lakes, and rocks and minerals are the sources of inspiration for the paint colors that will be ‘in’ this year,” says Zimmer. “If you’re thinking about repainting your home interior, look to the great American outdoors.”

Tangerine Tango fits into that palette through its representation of sunsets, fall leaves and fields of wildflowers. But here are some other colors that may suit your taste better.

Blue, the Jewel of the Sea: “From sparkling sea-glass blue to colonial blue-grey, blues are suitable for all living spaces, being a naturally soothing color that is loved – in one iteration or another — by almost everyone,” says Zimmer.

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 in-vogue greens, but the hue is also at home in family rooms and bedrooms.

Violet, Majestic Purple Mountains:  “A harmonious combination 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.

Zimmer also predicts that three new and returning paint decorating trends will gain prominence this year:

Patterns:  Patterned paint will take center stage, with increased interest in hound’s-tooth finishes, lacy designs and bold color blocking techniques. “In some cases, pattern will be the main decorating feature in a room; in others, it will provide a subtle, textured backdrop for fine furnishings and artwork,” says Zimmer.

Black and White: The classic combination of black and white isn’t just for Cape Cods any more. You’ll see much more of it in all sorts of settings, from contemporary apartments to historic homes, says Zimmer. “The pairing is a great way to freshen an interior with something smart and stylish,” she says.

Exterior Paint Combinations:  On the home exterior, shutter colors will begin to shift away from the traditional look of high-contrast green, red or black to a more monochromatic palette. “You’ll see more shutters that are painted just a shade darker than the siding,” says Zimmer. “Owners of homes with stone exteriors can get in on things by matching the shutter color to the dominant color of the stone.”

Even though Tangerine Tango may not be as mainstream as neutrals, blues and grays, it’s just a livelier, more scintillating part of the trend of the past few years to combine outdoors and indoors through the use of outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas and indoor landscapes, murals and greenery. Whether your taste runs to blue, green, purple or orange, all are colors that can be seen just by looking out the front door – or, just maybe, looking from the outdoors in.

Tangerine Tango fits superbly with this deep marigold kitchen countertop from Pyrolave.


The round knobs from Atlas Indochine provide a little pop to stainless steel.

This puppy thinks his colorful food bowl from Sasquan Fun Makes Good is a good pillow.

This whimsical painting by Michelle Mospens represents what Tangerine Tango is all about – fun, fun fun. The streamers and basket of flowers invite the viewer to grab the nearest bike and hit the great outdoors.

A simple leaf design in bright orange on a white pillow draws the eye away from the neutral colors of a gray sofa and gives a fresh touch to a favorite room.

This pair of vintage Norman Cherner Pretzel Arm Chairs from the late 1950s is equally retro and modern. The light beech construction is covered in embroidered orange vinyl. Available from BG Galleries.

The Tangerine Victoria and Albert Tub from York adds class to any bathroom.

An eclectic representation of products featuring Pantone's Tangerine Tango.



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