New year, new colors — here’s how to use Pantone’s selection in your interior design.

There’s no doubt about it — for most of us, 2020 has been a year characterized by hardship, struggle, and tumultuous change, as well as determination, teamwork, and resilience. Even as the dawn of a new year brings the promise of brighter days ahead, much of the world is still in a state of flux and uncertainty.

That said, a few time-honored traditions remain in place, including Pantone’s much-anticipated annual color of the year selection. Looking ahead to 2021 (what will hopefully be a better, brighter year than 2020), the Pantone Color Institute has put forth two shades that represent what the company calls “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” We at Cortland Design feel the selection is the perfect remedy to a strange and challenging 12 months, delivering a much-needed dose of optimism you can easily infuse into your own interior design.

First, let’s talk about the selections themselves. The colors chosen to represent the year 2021 are PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray, a neutral, steadying, achromatic shade that embodies fortitude and resilience, and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, a hopeful, lemony yellow that’s equal parts soothing and inspiring — just like a ray of gentle spring sunshine. It’s the second time in its 22-year history that the Pantone Color Institute has chosen two shades to serve as “Color of the Year” instead of one, and the first time ever that a gray shade has been chosen.

Though each of the 2021 colors makes a bold statement on its own and can work well enough alone, Pantone hopes the world will consider the two selections as a unified pair. Together, the complementing hues tell a color story that illustrates how independent elements can work jointly to create something infinitely better. When used in conjunction, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating have an effect that is simultaneously grounded and uplifting, soothing and invigorating.

“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, about the team’s selection for 2021. “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.”

Want some pro tips on how you can seamlessly incorporate Pantone’s 2021 colors into your interior design? Our team has you covered. First off, don’t be afraid to go big and bold when it comes to incorporating 2021 color trends into your home or apartment design. Pantone’s cheerful Illuminating makes a great wall color and will brighten up any room or living space, especially when balanced with its cool and calming counterpart, Ultimate Gray.

You can also take a subtler approach when incorporating these colors and invert the pair. Use Illuminating as an attention-grabbing accent shade, weaving it into your home in the form of fabrics, furniture pieces, and other standout design elements. Then, use Ultimate Gray as your main wall color to create a neutral and grounding space punctuated by bright bursts of yellow.

Grey and Yellow Bedroom
Source: RoomDsign

Finally, you can use the pair of colors together on a smaller scale — think throw cushions in alternating shades of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, colored plate layering to liven up a table, and adding tiles in both hues to your kitchen backsplash or bathroom. The opportunities to maximize this beautiful color duo are endless — with a little creativity, of course.

Kitchen with Yellow Black Splash
Source: Pinerest

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