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The Pantone Color of the Year always causes a big buzz in the design and styling world. But what color could you possibly choose to represent what we already know will be a trying year – at least in the beginning – 2021? Pantone actually chose two. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, an “optimistic” hue of yellow, have been names as colors of the year for 2021. So Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021 are what we will discuss here.

Pantone believes that the pairing of shades will help people “fortify themselves with energy, clarity and hope” in a world that’s set to face increasing uncertainty.

The bright yellow shade, called Illuminating, is meant to evoke the “optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day”, while Ultimate Gray is a much quieter hue that speaks more of “composure, steadiness and resilience”. Pantone says the color can almost be compared to durable natural elements, like time-weathered pebbles on a beach.

“The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting,” explained Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

“Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope,” she continued.

“We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

This isn’t the first time that Pantone’s Color of the Year has become Colors of the Year. Rose Quartz, a pale pink, and Serenity, a powdery blue, were its choices for the year 2016.

The big question is how are these colors best used. And can they be used at all in home staging?

Here’s a look.

Using Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021: Ultimate Gray

Ultimate Gray sounds like it would be a home stager’s dream. Neutrals are a home staging staple, and grays certainly fall into that category. Griege – a grayish beige – has been ‘hot for several years now, but the Pantone color is a true gray, without that warmth.

If you go with gray for a neutral color option, either for home staging or for home decorating in general, you want to skew more towards lighter gray and greiges as opposed to darker gray. Dark gray can make rooms appear smaller, which won’t do you any favors. The good news here is that Ultimate Gray is on the lighter end of the spectrum.

As such it may be a great choice for use, with other neutrals perhaps, in smaller rooms or rooms where a very contemporary vibe is called for. However, alone it may be just too stark, so ensure that you make use of other neutrals, or use things like throw pillows and live greenery to add some much-needed color (yes, you do need color in home staging.)

Using Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021: Illuminating

As a rather bright yellow, Illuminating is harder to use effectively in general, let alone in home staging. Yellow can be a very polarizing color, and while this one is very cheerful it just might be too bright for many, and disconcerting colors are rarely a good idea for home staging, or even for heavy use in home decorating.

Buttery yellows and lemons can be great choices for accent colors, but as Illuminating is a bolder hue it would be best passed over all together when staging a Houston home for sale or used as a throw pillow choice, which may be effective without being offensive! The color could also be used in a piece of furniture. That is the case in the image below, in which Ultimate Grey is also featured. It’s nice and bright, a great choice for home decorating in a modern space.