It’s that time of year, when Pantone announces their Colour of the Year. And for 2021, the colour experts have taken the rogue choice of opting for not one but two colours to represent 2021 – something that’s only ever been done once before (in 2016 when pastel pink Rose Quartz and Serenity, a soft sky blue, were both picked as the colour of the year).
So for next year, the Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 is both Ultimate Grey and Illuminating, a vibrant yellow shade.
Pantone says: ‘Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 [Illuminating] highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognised, to have our voices heard. A combination of colour whose ties to insight, innovation and intuition, and respect for wisdom, experience, and intelligence inspires regeneration, pressing us forward toward new ways of thinking and concepts.’
The colour combination has been chosen for its ability to represent hopefulness and strength, and despite initially wary preconceptions (you could say 2020 has been the most ‘ultimate grey’ of years and we’ve had enough of it) and associations of the colour combination with hazard signs, the two-tone palette lends itself rather nicely to interiors. When one hue is used as a background, the other can balance it pleasingly – for example, a grey sofa can be instantly pepped up with yellow throw cushions, while the impact and drama of a yellow feature wall can be balanced by soft grey accents.
Speaking about the Pantone Colour of the Year 2021, Wayfair’s Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill says: ‘Dependable and cheerful, everlasting and aspirational – Ultimate Grey and Illuminating represent a union of two tones that support and complement each other wonderfully, despite their differences. In times of turbulence, grey provides a solid, reliable base, while yellow lifts the spirit.
‘The duo works well on its own but also welcomes soft white and cream tones for a fresh take leaning towards a Scandi aesthetic. Paired with dusty pink, Ultimate Grey and Illuminating create a retro vibe as customers long for reassuring classics.’
She continues: ‘While mid-grey is a solid option for foundation pieces like sofas, sunny yellow makes for an ideal accent colour for soft furnishings, decor and textiles. Together they will bring home strength and positivity throughout the seasons as the grey clouds disappear to reveal the sunshine.’