Design Perspective

Pantone® Color of the Year: 2021

By: Anna Popov

Design Perspective

Pantone® Color of the Year: 2021

By: Anna Popov


Each year, Pantone® predicts global color trends and selects at least one official “color of the year”. 2020 presented unique challenges, reaching all parts of the world. So, for 2021, Pantone® selected two colors that symbolize a fresh start with a solid foundation, to encourage us all to ring in the new year with a positive outlook.

Illuminating is bright, sunny, and overall an uplifting shade to bring energy to everything it touches. Conversely, Ultimate Gray is a dependable, practical color; representing strength and resilience. With all that occurred in the past 12 months, it is no surprise that Pantone® selected colors to give us hope and optimism in the new year ahead.

“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.”

– Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

These two colors can be used together in so many different places – in your home, in design pieces, and in everyday life. To add a splash of sunshine to your interior space, pair yellow accents with your warm gray neutrals:

  • Use a throw pillow with a colorful geometric pattern to brighten your couch

  • Find unique artwork in a modern frame

  • Look for patterns like stripes and herringbone to present your colors in different ways

  • Textures, like a yellow thread detail on a cushion or yellow-flecked gray wool in a blanket, can be fun and interesting ways to incorporate new colors

  • Link your color throughout the space by adding hints to other accessories; like a sunflower in a vase, a sculptural ceramic sun, or a book with a yellow spine resting on the shelf

These design strategies will fluidly incorporate new colors without overwhelming the space. See how Interiors by Popov and other designers used these colors in their spaces.

Photo Credit: Interiors by Popov

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