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Pantone Color Of The Year: More Than Gray & Yellow

The Pantone Color of the Year is released every December. After 2020, I think it’s appropriate and well deserved to receive not just one but two colors for 2021.

The colors say a lot about where we currently stand, an absolute need for stability and grounding (17-5104 Ultimate Gray) after an unprecedented year, while shining a light on future hope (13-0647 Illuminating) to encourage us that there is brightness at the end of the tunnel.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021

This fabulous pair speaks to more than just the message of resilience and hope, as stated by the Pantone Institute.

“Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard. 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.” (Pantone)

Why Is The Pantone System So Important? 

The Pantone Color Institute created the most important color matching system in the world and have continued to be the kings of influence in all things color, including important industry trends all over the globe.

The system originated in 1963 to solve the complex problem of color matching in the printing industry. Their catalog of colors in a fan format, each with a number to classify it, soon became the easiest and clearest way to communicate and match colors across the design industry.

What Does it Mean to be Color of the Year?

Being awarded Pantone Color of the Year is certainly significant! Since 2000, Pantone Color Institute has combed the globe looking for each year’s color influences, from pop culture, movies, fashion trends, travel destinations, socio-economic conditions, art, and more to decide which color represents the cultural pulse. 

This will influence the use of that color in industries across the design world, from fashion to packaging to our personal favorite, interior design. The Pantone Color of the Year is a source of inspiration for our designs and every day lives! Here’s how we let it inspire us:

Integrating the Colors of the Year

Using the Color of the Year as inspiration can be as simple as adding some bright yellow throw pillows to your gray couch or going the extra mile and investing in some longer term commitments like painting and reupholstering. (Helpful hint: the two colors don’t have to be used in equal proportion.)

Add Flowers 

Choose a gray or glass vase to showcase your favorite mixture of flowers. Roses are timeless beauty and come in all shades. Pair Zinnia or Chrysanthemums for a fun bouquet while Calla Lily or Iris speak to a more elegant effect. 

Pantone Color of the Year - Urban Stems

Have you discovered Urban Stems yet? UrbanStems is an online gifting company that creates a seamless, one-of-a-kind experience from coast to coast delivering some of the most beautiful bouquets in clever packaging. They have a collaboration with Vogue to create some  impeccably-designed arrangements. Photos: Urban Stems


Pops of color go a long way to lighten and spruce up a room. Bright yellow can be overwhelming in large doses, but adding an accent furniture piece or decor can offer flair to any space. Throw pillows, blankets, dishes and art can liven up your living room or kitchen.

Pantone Color of the Year Lisa Frantz Interiors

To view more of the above project by our team at Lisa Frantz Interiors , click here.

Paint and Wallpaper

Gray can provide a neutral and calming background and a great canvas to add bolder colors and patterns to, such as dramatic curtains, to make a strong visual statement.

Pantone Color of the Year Lisa Frantz Interiors New York | Connecticut | Chicago

To view more of this project, click here.

For a look into how the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year has inspired architecture, we highly recommend this article on

Want to incorporate or transform your space with this uplifting color combo? Contact us for a consultation or see some of our previous journals on interior inspo. Cheers to bold strides and unity in 2021!

“I think (one) thing that’s become abundantly clear during this time…across the world is this deeper understanding of how much we need each other. How our connections to other people, our relationships with other people, give us that emotional support.” — Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Color Institute (CNN)


A New York-based boutique interior design firm