Pantone Color of the Year 2021: Illuminating + Ultimate Gray

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Get ready for a brighter future because the Pantone team chose not one, but two shades for the Pantone Color of the Year 2021.

Every end of the year, design lovers anticipate the announcement of what shade Pantone will choose as its Color of the Year. For 2020, the color of the year was “Classic Blue.” For 2021, the Pantone team finally revealed that Illuminating and Ultimate Gray will be the shades of the year. After the Rose Quartz and Serenity shades back in 2016, Pantone surprised us with two shades that will dominate 2021.

Illuminating and Ultimate Gray, two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.


According to Pantone, Illuminating is “bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power,” while Ultimate Gray is “emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation.” The combination of these colors symbolizes happiness supported by fortitude. It’s both aspirational and gives us hope since 2020 has been a big hot mess.

Certainly, Pantone Color of the Year 2021: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray work perfectly well with each other, in any room of your home. We predict that people will start using these colors mainly in the living room as part of the décor, such as throw pillows and blankets, kitchen cabinets, and bedroom pillows and sheets.

According to a Pantone press release, “Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a great combination to set the mood in any room in the home, adding a dose of sunshine and positivity. Juxtaposing Illuminating with Ultimate Gray in table linens, sheeting, and home accessories (including pillows and tabletop) infuses vitality and liveliness.

Painting a front door in bright yellow Illuminating conveys a warm and welcoming message when supported by solid and dependable Ultimate Gray in the exterior finishes. The ideal combination for any office whether in the home or in a commercial space with Ultimate Gray providing the firm foundation for Illuminating, a vibrant yellow that heightens awareness and enhances intuition, lighting the way to the intellectual curiosity, originality, and resourcefulness of an open mind.

The Pantone team’s goal is to highlight our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard. They added that a combination of color 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.

What do you think of the 2021 color picks? Learn more interior design tips and ideas on Omysa’s Design blog. Happy decorating!

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