Pantone says its 2021 colors of the year—Illuminating and Ultimate Gray—are meant to bring balance, strength, and positivity in a time of continued uncertainty. Here are some ways to incorporate them into your homes.
It has been a long standing tradition for companies to release color forecasts for the upcoming year, which points toward the hottest emerging trends and palettes that will take over. Other companies, such as Sherwin-Williams, Behr, Farrow & Ball, and BlueStar, have all released their own colors of the year, but one of the most influential is the highly anticipated Pantone Color of the Year.
The brand says the marriage of the two vastly different hues speaks to the contrasting emotions and events the world continues to experience. Pantone describes Illuminating as similar to sunshine, while Ultimate Gray can be connected to natural elements, such as 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, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”
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How to Use Pantone’s 2021 Colors of the Year
When utilized in residential settings, Ultimate Gray can ground an interior, while Illuminating brings optimism. The company suggests using either color as a main, and the secondary color can be used for decor and details. For example, Ultimate Gray walls can be complemented with Illuminating faucets, woodwork, or kitchen appliances.
And as home remains Americans’ epicenter through the pandemic, a work from home office in an Illuminating shade is said to infuse vitality and creativity.
Even the usage of both colors on the exterior of a home can evoke the same emotions, says Pantone.
“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,” says the company.
In addition to these two colors, Pantone released a series of five different palettes to speak for 2021. And none of these hues are reserved for a specific industry. Pantone releases its colors to be used across every sector, meaning there are plenty of options for home products in these trendy palettes.
We found 15 for you to consider.
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According to the company, BlueStar’s kitchen products are professional-level appliances, ideal for those who heavily use their kitchens. All appliances, such as ovens, ventilation hoods, and refrigerators of any style, can be color customized. BlueStar offers more than 1,000 colors to choose from. For the ultimate Pantone mix, consider customizing the appliance’s hardware to a gray finish while keeping the body yellow.
Elmira Stove Works offers ovens in antique, retro, and even fireview, wood-burning styles. The company’s Elmira and Northstar lines are available in both Illuminating and Ultimate Gray custom color options, which includes microwaves, ovens, and refrigerators. Elmira Stove Works’ Northstar ovens include self-cleaning features and a convection option.
Big Chill offers lookalike Pantone colors in Broom Yellow and Quartz Gray. These color options can be used on the brand’s Retro line, which features an appliance for every need, including wall ovens and cooktops. Big Chill’s Retro stoves come in 36 and 30 inches with a 30 inch electric induction range available as well. Stove bodies are made of stainless steel, are available in either natural gas or propane, with a burner rating of 30,000 BTUs. Big Chill appliances are all designed, assembled, and shipped from Pennsylvania and Colorado.
Based off of the iconic sports car Ferrari, Ruvati’s Midas Yellow epiGranite sink is an easy way to add contrast to a monochrome kitchen looking for a pop. The company says the sink’s construction from 80% crushed natural granite makes it extremely durable, along with the appearance of real stone. Ruvati promises no chance of discoloration and the sink is resistant to stains, bacteria, and temperatures up to 536 degrees Fahrenheit.
Compared to Ruvati’s Midas Yellow sink, which features a lip onto the actual countertop, Houzer’s sink lays more deeply into the countertop, offering a more discreet pop. Houzer’s porcelain enamel undermount kitchen sink features a non-porous glossy surface, and chip, crack, and scratch resistance. The sink comes with a 10 year warranty and a much lighter weight as compared to fireclay or cast iron sinks.
Available in either an Ultimate Gray lookalike finish or a vibrant yellow, Vola’s kitchen faucets pair Danish design and bright hues. Vola’s dark grey and yellow finishes are available on any of their plumbing products, which cover every area from the kitchen to the bath. The Danish brand can be purchased through Hastings Tile + Bath, the only U.S. importer and distributor of Vola. Vola faucets feature a minimalist design and water efficiency.
The Open vanity line by Hastings Tile + Bath features sleek and simple wall-mounted vanities with matching storage cabinets. Vanities are available in 23 ⅝, 35 ⅜, or 47 ¼ inch sizes in matte or glossy lacquered finishes, or 12 wood options and a concrete laminate option to pair with a matte white solid-surface counter and sides. Along with a drawer, the vanity comes with a full length open bottom shelf. The company’s shade Sole in a lacquered finish is nearly the same as Pantone’s Illuminating.
Both Jaclo’s stone grey and limon finishes mimic Pantone’s colors of the year. These finishes are standard options for any of Jaclo’s products, including their showers, bidet faucets, and more. The Diva handshower is a single function product with flow rates of 2.5, 2.0, 1.75, and 1.5 GPM. Jaclo says it’s lightweight and offers 50 rubber jets.
Pantone’s decision behind Ultimate Gray came from wanting something to feel grounding and natural. Native Trails’ NativeStone Mendocino Tub in Ash offers a natural, yet smooth texture thanks to its concrete and natural jute composition. The tub is stain, scratch, and crack resistant and although it is cement, Native Trails says it’s lightweight. Thick walls help to insulate the tub as well, according to the company.
Natural elements in the home are not limited to the use of a natural color such as Ultimate Gray, but also the use of organic materials. Handcrafted Casablanca Hex Saharah Mix tiles feature watercolor tones with imagery of leaves. Nemo says it’s a clever mix of both art and design. In addition, no two tiles are alike. The Sahara Mix tiles are also available in a square shape and are ideal for flooring and walls.
The Vashti tile mosaic by New Ravenna, part of the company’s Glazed Basalto collection, is now available in two variations of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating tones. The first variation features polished Dolomite, Silver Sage, and polished Goldenrod Glazed Basalto. The second variation of the hand-cut stone mosaic puts the Goldenrod on full display with a contrasting matte black backdrop.
One of Crossville’s most recent releases, the Swatches collection, aims to offer a vibrant hue for any need. Its Brilliant Deduction finish in Pineapple and Neutral Territory finish in Shadow feature nearly the same hues as Pantone’s. The majority of the tiles can be either a satin or glossy finish available in five calibrated tile options and an array of trims. Swatches can be used in an interior vertical setting.
This oversized silk screened shade from Luceplan can hang between 39 to 187 inches from the ceiling and comes in 11 different shades. Either Luceplan’s smart yellow or concrete grey can be used to achieve a Pantone color of the year look. Due to the thin nature of the polycarbonate shade, light emits in a warm glow.
The design of the Tela pendant appears like a draped cloak and can come in an array of size combinations. LED light comes from the tube which the circles are draped over and brings the light downwards. The double pendant Tela reaches just over 78 inches in length. Multiple pendants can be combined through Sonneman’s Tela Coupler Kit.
The subtle curves of the Cirque Pendant blend well with its soft gray hue. This pendant comes in three available sizes from a height of 7.4 inches to 18.8 inches. Designed by Clara von Zweigbergk, her inspiration comes from balloons, carousels, colors, and light. The pendant provides a downward, glare-free soft light.