Ultimate Gray and Illuminating by Pantone

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating by Pantone

The global authority on colour put a surprising spin on its highly anticipated colour of the year announcement: Pantone chose two contrasting shades as its top picks for 2021. Ultimate Gray, a practical and dependable neutral, and a sunny yellow called Illuminating combine to reflect a sense of resilience and optimism as we close out a difficult year.

“The selection of two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a press release. “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude.”

Perfect for painted walls or upholstered furniture, Ultimate Gray is a timeless neutral that provides a grounding foundation in interiors. Illuminating adds a dash of brightness and positivity when used on accent furniture, wall decor, accessories like pillows and throws, or even a front door. The high-contrast pairing creates an energetic look, but warm undertones tie the two colors together. It’s an ideal combination as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

Satin Paprika by Rust-Oleum

Popular spray-paint brand Rust-Oleum named an earthy, spicy hue called Satin Paprika for its 2021 color of the year. Warm and cozy, the red color accompanies nine other trending shades the brand has selected for its Color Watch 2021. Satin Paprika anchors each of the three distinct palettes, which were curated to complement outdoor living spaces, modern boho aesthetics, and midcentury modern style.

“We’ve been listening to DIYers and home decor enthusiasts who want color combinations that bring out feelings of well-being,” said Grace Khoury, brand manager at Rust-Oleum, in a statement. “We’re living in uncertain times and we all need a little peace. These collections are designed to evoke a sense of settled contentment.” Try spraying a few coats of Satin Paprika on accent furniture, such as a lamp base or side table, or update wall decor to add a vibrant yet comforting feel to your space. The colour pairs beautifully with other earth tones as well as brass and matte black finishes.

Aqua Fiesta by Glidden

This year, Glidden put a new spin on its yearly paint color prediction by announcing its first-ever accent color of the year. Aqua Fiesta PPG1147-4 is a bright, refreshing aquamarine that looks great on an accent wall or millwork. Although the vibrant blue-green might be a bit overwhelming as an all-over wall color, it makes a splash even in small doses when combined with other neutral paint colors.

The brand suggests pairing Aqua Fiesta with a cool gray to create a spa-like vibe that’s perfect for bathrooms. In bedrooms or living areas, layer in cream-colored fabrics and neutral accessories to soften the colour’s boldness.

Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore selected a soft, soothing blue-green for its 2021 colour of the year. Aegean Teal 2136-40 marries the tranquil nature of blue with green’s association with wellness, while a grey undertone keeps the colour modern. Hannah Yeo, colour marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore, calls it “an intriguing blue-green that creates natural harmony and invites us to take a moment to reflect and reset.” The colour’s calming qualities make it an excellent choice for bedrooms or home offices, and its casual elegance shines on kitchen cabinetry or built-ins.

Aegean Teal joins 11 other organic hues that comprise Benjamin Moore’s 2021 colour trends palette. The collection includes buttery yellows, creamy off-whites, and deep earthy hues that pair beautifully with Aegean Teal’s cool undertones. To enhance the palette’s warmth Yeo suggests decorating with natural materials such as wood, stone, and brick for a balanced, textured look.

Farrow & Ball

England-based paint company Farrow & Ball selected 12 rejuvenating shades for its 2021 colour trends. Featuring earthy neutrals and rich natural colours, the shades were chosen by the company’s colour curator Joa Studholme to “convey a sense of ease and familiarity,” according to a press release. The selections reflect a broader trend toward warmer, organic colours and away from cool grays and blues.

Divided into four distinct categories, the versatile colours combine to form timeless schemes that offer both comfort and a sense of luxury. The “Rich and Warm” collection encompasses chocolatey hues with strong red undertones, including Deep Reddish Brown, Tanner’s Brown, and Preference Red, that would work perfectly in a cozy home office or den. The company’s “Clean and Timeless Blues” features the fresh yet familiar tones of Pitch Blue, Stiffkey Blue, and Ultra Marine Blue, which create a lavish environment in bedrooms. Lush, leafy colours with gray undertones, including Green Smoke, Treron, and Sap Green, round out the “Natural Greens” palette and provide a welcoming vibe in entryways and hallways. In neutral spaces, the aged, earthy tones of Jitney, Dead Salmon, and India Yellow offer an elegant and moody alternative to white.

Passionate by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams predicts vibrant, daring colours will reign supreme in the coming year. The brand’s 2021 colour of the year, Passionate HGSW2032, is a rich, saturated red that blurs the line between modern and traditional. The bold yet elegant hue joins nine nature-inspired shades in HGTV Home’s Delightfully Daring Colour Collection, which can be found exclusively at Lowe’s.

“When used thoughtfully in design, colour can be immersive and incite emotion,” said Ashley Banbury, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams senior colour designer, in a press release. “Whether it be monochromatic or colours with high contrast… colour is now being used as the main accessory in a space to embody a sense of comfort and confidence.”

Passionate’s deep red creates an invigorating backdrop for neutral furniture and nature-inspired accents. For a more dramatic look, try pairing it with other vivid shades from the collection, such as a classic blue called Long Horizon or the verdant green Cloverfields.


Instead of announcing a single shade for the colour of the year, Valspar named 12 cozy muted colours as its top picks for 2021. Ranging in tone from misty blue to warm apricot, the hues were chosen for their ability to calm and encourage mindfulness. ″Our homes have become offices, entertainment centers, and classrooms, which means the colours, sights, and sounds in our rooms have an even bigger impact on our daily lives,″ said Valspar colour marketing manager Sue Kim in a press release.

As more stress and time at home in 2020 coincided with a surge in DIY projects and an increased interest in meditation, this year’s selection aims to ″turn home improvement into self-improvement.” The list of Valspar 2021 colors features a mix of versatile neutrals, including Gallery Grey, Granite Dust, Maple Leaf, Soft Candlelight, and Unforgettable. Warm, organic colors, such as Arizona Dust, Cherry Taupe, and Dusty Lavender offer more vibrancy and warmth but still read as subtle and sophisticated.

On the cooler side of the spectrum, Academy Gray, Blissful Blue, Garden Flower, and Lucy Blue are timeless, familiar greens and blues pulled straight from nature. The paint colours are all available at Lowe’s as well as many independent paint stores nationwide, though colour names and shades might vary at each retailer.

Urbane Bronze by Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams selected a rich, bold neutral as its 2021 color of the year. Inspired by nature, Urbane Bronze SW 7048 is a warm, grounding shade of gray-brown intended to reflect our current need for serenity and stability. ″The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and colour is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven,″ said Sue Wadden, director of colour marketing at Sherwin-Williams, in a press release. ″Urbane Bronze encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal.”

Gray undertones balance the earthy brown to create a dark, deeply comforting colour that reminds of burnished metal or timeworn stone. Though intensely saturated, Urbane Bronze makes a subtle, sophisticated statement when used as a primary or accent colour. Try it on all four walls in a bedroom or den to envelop the room in a cozy atmosphere. For a sleek, contemporary look, paint built-ins or kitchen cabinetry in Urbane Bronze, then finish the surrounding walls in a warm white to offset the darkness. The bold shade also works well in smaller doses, such as on your front door or an accent wall in the living room.

To bring out the colour’s organic feel, Wadden suggests decorating with furniture made from natural materials, including wood, stone, and woven fabrics. For depth, choose accents that supply a variety of textures, such as worn leather, faux sheepskin, and aged metals. The paint colour is available at Sherwin-Williams stores nationwide.

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