How to Make the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year Work in Your Home

How to Make the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year Work in Your Home

Every year, Pantone releases an official color of the year. Its color choice is supposed to represent the feelings that the company believes should be inspired going into the year. And with this past year being anything but traditional, it’s no surprise the 2021 Pantone color of the year is also untraditional — the company picked two colors this time around. Read on below to find out more about the winning colors.

What is the 2021 Pantone color of the year?

In a bold move, Pantone selected not one, but two shades to be the signature colors for the year. The company chose “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating,” a bright yellow shade, which creates nothing short of a stark contrast.

In a press release following the unveiling, Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, had this to say on the contrasting selections:

“The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude…“Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted. This is essential to the human spirit.”

Whether or not you agree with Eiseman’s assessment of how we should feel amidst a global pandemic, you can’t deny that these two colors make for a striking combination.

How to use the 2021 Pantone colors of the year in your home

Now that you know a little bit more about Pantone’s colors of the year and how they were selected, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of how to use them in your own home. Below is a selection of the tips that Pantone gave in its press release, as well as some ideas from our end.

1. Use them separately.

The first thing that Pantone makes clear in their press release is that you don’t necessarily have to use these colors together. Instead, you can feel free to use one or the other, depending on your sense of personal style and the room in which you are planning to decorate.

For example, if you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, you may want to lean on “Ultimate Gray.” After all, it is a neutral shade that will go over well with a vast majority of potential buyers. If, on the other hand, you are decorating your child’s playroom, you may want to let “Illuminating” take center stage.

2. Let one color take precedence over the other.

With that said, these two colors do go together well. There’s no reason why you couldn’t use both of them in the same room. However, if you do, you need to let one take precedence over the other. By that, we mean that you need to choose one shade to play the starring role and let the other one be a supporting actor.

In this case, if you were decorating a living room, you could use “Ultimate Gray” as the paint color to adorn your walls and use “Illuminating” as an accent color. Alternatively, you could also do it the other way around. However, in either case, one color needs to play a supplemental role to the other.

3. Follow the 10/30/60 rule.

Most of the time, interior designers will use a rule known as the 10/30/60 rule when they are dealing with color. The rule states that approximately 60% of the room should be one color, an additional 30% can be made up of your supporting color, and the final 10% should be your brightest accent color.

Here, it would make sense that “Ultimate Gray” would be your supporting color or the one that makes up 30% of the room. On the other hand, “Illuminating” can be your bright accent color and make up the last 10% of the room. Meanwhile, you might need a corresponding neutral like white to fill in the last 60% of the space.

To give you a better sense of how the 10/30/60 works consider the following example:

  • 60% – White walls
  • 30% “Ultimate Gray” furniture, rugs, etc
  • 10% – “Illuminating” throw pillows and decor pieces

The bottom line

Ultimately, the way that you choose to use Pantone’s 2021 colors of the year is up to you. However, no matter how you utilize them, you’ll know that you have a striking combination that’s equally eye-catching and calming.

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Tara Mastroeni

Tara Mastroeni is a real estate and personal finance writer. Find her at TMRealEstateWriter.com or on Twitter at @TaraMastroeni.