HMR Inspiration Report: Color Stories // February, 2021

Annually, trend reporters across the globe proclaim a “color of the year” along with specific, distinguished palettes for each spring/summer + fall/winter season. These palettes are often projected years in advance and used as inspiration in many facets of the design world, including fashion, interiors, graphic design, etc.

While we appreciate trends and seasonality of colors relative to the way humanity is feeling, reacting to and embodying what is happening inside and around them; we find ourselves akin to most every color of the rainbow. We believe that with the right place, right team and appropriate execution, no color is truly ever off-limits.

HMR Designs’ CEO, Rishi Patel, says “I’ve always personally leaned more towards cool tones in interiors, however within that world, I am used to living and gravitating towards blues. I’m currently enamoured with tones of a color that I’ve traditionally adored mostly in floral, however, have had a new appreciation and obsession for shades of green as perhaps a new neutral.  I am mesmerized by calming shades of pistachio, mint, sage, crocodile, juniper and even in some cases deep mossy greens, and it’s incredible to use as a neutral when pairing with other colors in varying accent palettes.


Marley Finnegan, Director of Sales + Partnerships, is digging the femininity of pastels such as lavender and blush accented by unexpected bright shades of reds and yellows. “I am really loving the unique color combinations which have stemmed from the iridescent trend. It has broken the mold as far as what were perceived limitations in colorways, especially in floral design. I am completely embracing the feminine, bold palettes not often used together in so many recent, interesting combinations.”

                                                                             floral design credit to @flowerwitchnyc (left) and right is via pinterest (designer unknown)


“Dark teal is really speaking to me lately,” says Sr. Event Designer, Jessica Griffin Pfluegl. 

“I am seeing it as a great backdrop that works beautifully with many color ways from neutral to bold.  It can go dark and moody and light and airy depending on how it is used, which I think, makes it a very versatile color to use in design.  I love it with pink, coral and yellow but it is also a show stopper when used with purple and deeper blue hues.  There aren’t many colors that it doesn’t complement.”

“After a year of isolation and stillness, I am ready for a color story representing pure exuberance and joy. Please do not temper my lavender and blush pink with an earthy neutral, instead my senses ache for happiness layered with a heavy dose of elation,” quips Sr. Event Designer Bari Singh.

PASTEL AND NEON is the answer! Infusing the calming openness of the softer hues with the jubilant energy of shocking pink and acid yellow offers just the right jolt needed to shake up the monotony of pandemic life.

                                                           floral design credit to @FLWRPSTL (left) 


Sr. Event Designer Natalie Walsh is inspired by greens and blues juxtaposed by golden hues, taken from the timeless inspiration of Mother Earth.

“When asked what my favorite colors are, I always find myself explaining that it’s a tie between neighboring green and blue. The colors of the sky, water, grass, leaves, and much of life flourishing on Earth. What could make those two colors even more joyful (especially in the midst of our Chicago winter) are neutral, golden hues, the warm vibes we all crave so deeply right now. These tones are timeless and limitless, a magical mood enhancer, deeply rooted in our daily visuals on Earth.”

Sr. Event Designer Burt Rubenstein believes, “There are many trends in color coming out of 2020 and into 2021. The pandemic has caused us to seek out more calming, soothing colors.”

“When we do add a brighter tone to lift the spirits it is muted and less like a jewel tone. We are seeing colors which are soothing and more humanistic in nature because of 2020. I also foresee utilizing more colors from the natural world. We are involving a more organic palette in our decor and less multiples of color. Colors are a bit more monochromatic and then add just one or two additional colors to the scheme. Some of my favorites for 2020 and 2021 include blush, tobacco brown, grey, yellow, coral, moss, baby blue and mauve,” Burt says.

Nick Watts, Sr. Event Designer also finds inspiration in the great outdoors.

“I am excited by color combinations that appear together often in nature. I imagine that from an evolutionary perspective, they should resonate most with human perspective. These common color affinities feel comfortable, familiar and evocative. The sun setting against a darkening blue horizon, pink hues of sand meeting blue waters, terracotta crags reaching skyward are all beautiful examples of these color combinations.”


Sr. Event Designer David Epstein is feeling the optimism of the upcoming spring season.

“With spring just around the corner, it’s safe to say we are all looking forward to brighter days ahead. I’ve always loved designing with bold palettes, and it seems perfect to roar into this year on a wave of vivid color. A vibrant combination of fuchsia, tangerine, lemon yellow, apple green and aqua blue create so many possibilities to make a bold statement. As with any color story, subtle variances in shades often create additional interest and depth to the overall design. Wishing everyone a bright, positive and beautiful 2021!”

Event Producer Nick Finley believes Pale Lilac is an enchanting color that embodies the purity and serenity of winter, yet is still bright and cheerful enough for the transition into spring.

While this color appears naturally in many floral varieties from delphinium to sweet pea, it has the versatility to be used throughout an event’s design. It can be paired down to enhance its subtlety or juxtaposed with vibrant tones for a more exciting color palette.

In lighting, this color can be transformative by giving life to more neutral tones. In films, lilac lighting is oftentimes utilized to create a backdrop to scenes with moody and dark undertones. Of course I’d be remiss to not mention the beautiful representation of pale lilac in the new series, ‘Bridgerton’, where they employ pale and pastel tones in beautiful ways alongside gorgeous and vibrant sets. It is, in my opinion, one of the most appealing and calming colors for the winter months.


We are encouraged for the bright and colorful days of spring and summer ahead of us, while appreciating the simplistic beauty and renewal of the pause of winter. Until next month, when we dive into our favorite “Places + Spaces” giving us inspiration from around the globe (in the comfort of our own homes).