17 Feb How to Make the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year Less Blah
While we are admittedly a little late to chime in on the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, it has taken us a few months to—ahem—stomach it. Such a departure from the previous year’s bold, brilliant, and bouncy Radiant Orchid, Marsala’s earthy, brown hue had us, (and many others) feeling just as blah as the color itself.
Marsala looks like it might belong in your grandparents’ living room right next to a marigold chair, pea green sofa, and orange shag rug. So the question we have asked ourselves for nearly two months is: How can we make Marsala look fresh and alive instead of muddy and passe?
Pantone maintains that their chosen color is “subtly seductive” and offers “warmth and comfort.” Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute even goes so far as to call it “nurturing.” In these ways, it seems to be a perfect addition to mountain homes where we long to feel cozy and sheltered. Rustic and robust, Marsala pairs easily with neutrals, however, that can quickly make the jump to a snooze-fest.
So what do we do with this color? Pair it with something vibrant. Sandwich it between daring colors. Use it as a foil for saturated blueberry blue, chartreuse green, hot pink, or golden yellow. This not only ups the energy factor of Marsala but also perfectly subdues the more striking hue.
Marsala can be charming with bright white and grey tones but only when also paired with another dark color. We don’t want to induce flashbacks of bad 80’s manicures or conjure up nightmares of it’s ‘dusty rose’ sister. Nobody needs to go there…Don’t let it go into the world of drab and dingy browns or lifeless sagey greens. It needs to be next to powerful, rich, vivacious colors.
Marsala is best in small doses, like an upholstered ottoman or in a little nook. Look for a thread on a pillow or pair deep marsala-hued blooms with bright, acid green foliage on a wide plank farm table. Keep it modern by color blocking, i.e. painting it in wide stripes on your wall.
Don’t overdo it. No one needs to drink a bottle of marsala in one sitting. No one needs to live in a drab, lifeless space. Maybe Pantone will kick it up with something a little more fun next year. Bright orange or yellow to reflect the optimism of a brighter future, or maybe a cool tone, like a deep midnight, to counteract the craziness going on in the world right now? Let’s get it right next time.