How to Decorate With Pantone's 2021 Colors of the Year


Whether inside or outside, choosing paint colors for your home is a decision that will affect not only your home's appearance, but also how you approach interior decorating. When you're building a custom home or renovating a house that has already been built, it's important to decide on a color scheme that you can use to choose furniture, wall hangings, rugs, and other interior decorating elements that complement these colors and add cohesion to your home.

For more than 20 years, Pantone's "Color of the Year" announcement has been a hallmark event that helps define color trends for interior design and other design processes. When you choose your color scheme using the colors and tints from a single paint manufacturer, you can use their matching tools and other resources to make sure your paint colors, contrast walls, and other visual elements are a visual and aesthetic fit with one another.

With the announcement of Pantone's Colors of the Year for 2021, here's a guide to using these colors—or other colors and tints of your choice—to beautify your home and brighten your living space.

Traditional Living Room Ideas for Choosing a Color Scheme

When choosing the colors to paint in your home's interior, you can base your decisions on a few different concepts or source of inspiration. Common approaches to choosing a color scheme include:

  • Picking colors that complement your furniture. If you already have furniture you love and plan to keep, you will want to choose interior paint colors to complement these pieces, rather than creating a color clash.
  • Creating contrast between multiple visual elements. Whether you choose an accent wall or want interior paint colors that complement and enhance the appearance of a fireplace, wainscoting or other design element, the paint colors you choose can help add structure and contrast to a room.
  • Making a room feel larger—or smaller. In general, brighter colors reflect more light and create the appearance of a larger room, while darker colors can create a stronger sense of intimacy. Choosing lights and darks can also help create stunning contrasts with other interior design elements in your home.
  • Picking colors that evoke a specific emotional response. Your color choices affect the aesthetic of a room, which can affect your mood and how you choose to spend time in that room. There's a big difference between a room painted cornflower blue and one painted burnt orange. Although this criteria can seem abstract, it's important to paint your home in colors that evoke the emotions or "feel" you want for those interior spaces.

Top Pantone Color Trends of 2021

While Pantone has made a tradition out of naming a trend-setting color of the year for more than 20 years, the company's 2021 distinction has been given to two colors that each make a bold statement independently, but also work beautifully as a two-color scheme.

Pantone's Illuminating color 13-0647 and Ultimate Gray color 17-5104 have been selected to share the distinction as the 2021 Color of the Year from the Pantone color collection. Illuminating was chosen for its bright, cheery yellow hue, which graces interior spaces with warmth and energy without overwhelming your visual senses. Ultimate Gray, meanwhile, harnesses the versatility and dependability of gray color hues while evoking natural textures and objects such as pebbles from the beach.

Together, these colors provide consistency in their tinting and a soft, elegant color scheme that can beautify a number of different interior spaces. Whether you use Illuminating to complement Ultimate Gray or vice versa, this color scheme's versatility is perfect for homes in 2021.

Pantone's Color of the Year History

Every year, Pantone chooses a Color of the Year that becomes highly influential across numerous industries, including not just interior design but also fashion, graphic design, and industrial design. Each color is chosen through a qualitative process that involves trend analysis across a number of different artistic and entertainment fields.

From seasonal trends forecasts to color psychology to social media, the process of choosing Pantone's Color of the Year is both rigorous and globe-spanning. The end result is a dynamic color choice that helps shape fashion, design and art in the year ahead.

Incorporating Pantone's Color of the Year Into Your Home Décor

If you're interested in using Pantone's Colors of the Year in your own interior design scheme, you have several options for incorporating these colors and creating cohesion in your design scheme. When building your own custom home, for example, you can identify these colors as your preferred base color scheme when designing your new home. An interior designer, if you choose to work with one, can help you align your furniture and home décor with these colors.

If you want to decorate with bright Pantone colors that aren't a good match with the company's Colors of the Year, you can use the company's swatch cards, color guides, and even its color consulting services to identify the perfect color scheme to create the interior living spaces you've always dreamed of.

Pantone's Color of the Year isn't just a trend-setting design event worth following. It can also help influence important design decisions as you plan or renovate your home's interior spaces, bringing you comfort and joy for years to come.