Biggest Trends for 2018 by Donna Halme Designs

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Out of Milan, the biggest trends for colour and furniture heading into 2018



Comfortable couches, with many low, puffy, curved and plump shapes. A reference to 1950s glamour.  


Geometric or organic.


Warm and earthy colours like sienna, tan, terracotta to rust and russet can be used all over on walls in rooms, as well as furniture and accent decor.


History of Colour - The Secondary Colour "Green" by Donna Halme Designs

As most of you know the colour Green is created by mixing both blue and yellow.  It is fresh, revitalizing and symbolizes a new beginning.  Green is nature's neutral and in interior design it is always a good idea to incorporate green plants in every room as it creates not only balance but a feeling of well being.  The 2017 Pantone colour of the year is "Greenery"!

Let's take a look at the interesting history of the colour green:


With so many various greens that we see around us, we see more green than any other colour. There are many moods that green symbolizes such as a refreshing new beginning, and reassurance that spring is here!

Prehistoric Green

Neolithic cave paintings do not have traces of green pigments, but neolithic peoples in northern Europe did make a green dye for clothing, made from the leaves of the birch tree. it was of very poor quality, more brown than green. Ceramics from ancient Mesopotamia show people wearing vivid green costumes, but it is not known how the colors were produced.

Ancient Green

 In Ancient Egypt, green was the symbol of regeneration and rebirth.  For instance, the crops made possible by the annual flooding of the Nile and for painting on the walls of tombs or on papyrus.  Egyptian artists used finely-ground malachite, mined in the west Sinai and the eastern desert. They also used less expensive green earth pigment, or mixed yellow ochre and blue azurite. To dye fabrics green, they first colored them yellow with dye made from saffron and then soaked them in blue dye from the roots of the woad plant.

In Ancient Greece, green and blue were sometimes considered the same color, and the same word sometimes described the color of the sea and the color of trees. The philosopher Democritus described two different greens; cloron, or pale green, and prasinon, or leek green. Aristotle considered that green was located midway between black, symbolizing the earth, and white, symbolizing water. However, green was not counted among of the four classic colors of Greek painting; red, yellow, black and white, and is rarely found in Greek art.

The Romans had a greater appreciation for the color green; it was the color of Venus, the goddess of gardens, vegetables and vineyards. The Romans made a fine green earth pigment, which was widely used in the wall paintings of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Lyon, Vaison-la-Romaine, and other Roman cities. They also used the pigment verdigris, made by soaking copper plates in fermenting wine. By the Second Century AD, the Romans were using green in paintings, mosaics and glass, and there were ten different words in Latin for varieties of green.

Medieval & Renaissance Green

The colour Green of "Green Earth" has been an artist's colour since the Roman Empire.  In the Medieval and Renaissance Europe it was used as the first layer for faces with some surprising results!  Artist's imported green earth pigments from Verona, southern France, and Cyprus.  This Green Earth colour derived from green clay.  Other greens were created from vegetation through a pigment called chlorophyll and has been used in paints and fabric.

History of Colour - The Primary Colours by Donna Halme Designs


The history of colour is really fascinating and of course one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about colour.  

In ancient times Artists invented the first pigments—a combination of soil, animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk—as early as 40,000 years ago, creating a basic palette of five colors: red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Since then, the history of colour has been one of perpetual discovery, whether through exploration or scientific advancement. The invention of new pigments accompanied the developments of art history’s greatest movements—from the Renaissance to Impressionism—as artists experimented with colours never before seen in the history of painting.

I will first start off with the three primary colours on the colour wheel which are red, blue, and yellow.  These three colours are the true roots of colour and can be mixed to create so many various colours or hues.  I will get into that in a later blog but for now let me start off with red.

The colour red in most primitive languages was and is the first colour named after black and white.  It is the beginning of the colour spectrum, and along with it comes all the implications of mankind's beginnings. The most association with red is the colour of blood: the elemental life-giving force that brings forth both, vitality, activity, strength.  Throughout the world the word red is typically derived from the word blood in many languages.  Red has many symbols and meanings throughout the world as well, for instance


Found in iron-rich soil and first employed as an artistic material (as far as we know) in prehistoric cave paintings, red ochre is one of the oldest pigments still in use. Centuries later, during the 16th and 17th centuries, the most popular red pigment came from a cochineal insect, a creature that could only be found on prickly-pear cacti in Mexico. These white bugs produced a potent red dye so sought-after by artists and patrons that it quickly became the third greatest import out of the “New World” (after gold and silver), as explains Victoria Finlay in A Brilliant History of Color in Art. Raphael, Rembrandt, and Rubens all used cochineal as a glaze, layering the pigment atop other reds (like red ochre) to increase their intensity. A non-toxic source for red pigment, the cochineal bug is still used to color lipsticks and blush today.


Ever since the Medieval era, painters have depicted the Virgin Mary in a bright blue robe, choosing the color not for its religious symbolism, but rather for its hefty price tag. Mary’s iconic hue—called ultramarine blue—comes from lapis lazuli, a gemstone that for centuries could only be found in a single mountain range in Afghanistan. This precious material achieved global popularity, adorning Egyptian funerary portraits, Iranian Qur’ans, and later the headdress in Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665). For hundreds of years, the cost of lapis lazuli rivaled even the price of gold. In the 1950s, Yves Klein collaborated with a Parisian paint supplier to invent a synthetic version of ultramarine blue, and this color became the French artist’s signature. Explaining the appeal of this historic hue, Klein said, “Blue has no dimensions. It is beyond dimensions.”


Few artists in history have been known for their use of yellow, though Joseph Mallord William Turner and Vincent van Gogh are the most notable exceptions. Turner so loved the color that contemporary critics mocked the British painter, writing that his images were “afflicted with jaundice,” and that the artist may have a vision disorder. For his sublime and sun-lit seascapes, Turner used the experimental watercolor Indian Yellow—a fluorescent paint derived from the urine of mango-fed cows (a practice banned less than a century later for its cruelty to animals). For brighter touches, Turner employed the synthetic Chrome Yellow, a lead-based pigment known to cause delirium. Vincent van Gogh also painted his starry nights and sunflowers with this vivid and joyful hue. “Oh yes! He loved yellow, did good Vincent, the painter from Holland, gleams of sunlight warming his soul, which detested fog,” wrote the painter Paul Gauguin of his friend and artistic companion.



Colour Artista Blog! by Donna Halme Designs

When thinking about writing a first blog for my business it was terrifying to me as I don't consider myself a writer but I do love to write!  There are so many ideas of what to write about but then I asked myself "Why do I love colour? and "Why do I love helping clients with colour?"  Those questions calmed my nerves because I knew the answers to both.

Colour is a passion for me, and certain colour combinations are simply exquisite.  On several occasions, clients have told me "Donna you have a great eye for colour!", "I really had a lot of fun doing this!", and "I see why those colours work better!" 

When selecting colour for a client's home, I take it rather seriously as it can change one's mood and therefore, always ask what colours a client likes first and work from there.  Further, when assisting clients and while explaining why certain colour selections will work or not, I see the joy on their faces because they really can see why it makes sense.  This is the essence of what it is that gives me such great joy and inspiration to do what I do!

My next blog will be about the "History of Colour" which is truly fascinating.  Did you know that in ancient times,  the colour orange dates back to approximately 500 BC.  There were really no words for the colour orange in Europe until the first orange fruit arrived from the South China Sea!

If you have any questions about colour or simply would like me to blog about a certain colour topic please let me know!