14 Dec Less Sugar, More Spice: How to Use the Pantone Colors of the Year 2016 + Perfect Pairings
“I think it’s perfect for this upcoming year!! Time to break away from the harsh blacks and enjoy the fresh new colors! Our world needs some serenity!!”
“I woke up, and it’s 1983. Where’s the ducks and bunnies??”
Whether you loathe the subtle nod to 1983 or believe the hues are a perfect way to soothe the world, there is something to be said for Pantone’s idea of gender fluidity and harmony. In their own words:
“In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This…approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity…which includes a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged…that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.”
Do the Pantone Colors of the Year 2016 Have Potential?
At first I was a disappointed. But the closer I looked, I saw the potential for two new subtle neutrals that provide balance and a hint of (dare I say) whimsy to a space.
But, this isn’t whimsy on a fairy princess scale. This is more about a subtle breath of fresh air injected into Old World traditionalism, or a gentle pop of color in an otherwise neutral interior; it helps break up the white, cream and beige without going overboard on brights.
It’s About Balance
In short, it’s all about balance.
Modern, masculine interiors should always have a feminine element—think soft textures, splashes of color, something to create contrast with the hard edges. Conversely, when using these feminine hues, you need a touch of masculine energy to balance out the sweetness and softness. Think leather sofas, heavy drapes, and accessories with substance and heft.
Go Bold or Go Home
Instead of approaching these colors with a vision of ‘80s throwback or dainty and sweet, I challenge you to use these colors in a bold way with pieces that have girth and texture, sexiness and grit. For example:
Rose Quartz, when paired with black, brass, copper, and rose gold, is a brash neutral (more about that on my blog post from a few weeks ago). This color is all about attitude. Keep it edgy with industrial or rock n’ roll elements. Make it part of a boho vibe or mix in some 70s chic. With some crisp modern art and sleek furnishings, you have a room that’s high on style and low on sugar.
“Serenity” paired with eggplant, deep purplish browns and blue-based reds, transforms into a calm, yet masculine color that lightens up a traditional, Old World interior and lends a sense of freshness to a more contemporary space. This is not for baby boy’s rooms. Think rustic wood floors and copper accents to roughen up the edges. Pale blue is a great way to bring some unexpected lightness to heavy, traditional style.
Inspiration for Days
For a little inspiration I rounded up a few photos that show exactly what I envision for these colors, plus some of my favorite Pantone-hued pieces for your rooms.
Take a look and comment below. Will these colors make it into your home this year?
This room has a full dose of pale blue, but it works because of the suggestive, contemporary art, the plum and brown sheepskin, which provides texture and masculinity. The rich colors in the traditional Oriental rug tone down the sweetness of the blue.
This is super hot. A combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity, accented with black, creates a sexy contrast. The graphic floral pillows are unexpected, but totally appropriate, and the Buddha adds that perfect witty touch. This is curated design at its finest.
Pairing Rose Quartz with copper and a calming blue-grey is a brilliant, contemporary balance. Rustic wood floors are grounding to an otherwise ethereal palette. It’s such a beautiful combo for a bedroom (more of my bedroom favorites here.)
The tall wainscot with relief, parquet floors and crown molding give history to the modern colors. This is an example of how these pale hues can take the stuffiness out of an old building.
Peek inside the living room next to the dining room above, and you see the same treatment of pale blue. The tufting in this sofa is comforting, a mod, neon ceiling light shows how to play with design eras. The dyptic with the faceted parfum top is gorgeous, and the deep plum pillows create depth.
A perfect example of the masculine/feminine balance, the classic crystal chandelier in this space is toned down by the modern sofa, sleek copper floor lamp and unfussy accessories. That hint of green is epic with this combo.
A stunning example of how a pale pink sofa creates a soft feminine element in an otherwise masculine space. The black wall behind the white staircase creates a graphic statement, while the rustic wood buffet to the right provides a rough contrast. Any other sofa—i.e. brown leather, white or cream mohair, black tufted—would make the room too bland and typical. The pink here is a much needed pop of color.