The world just got an early Christmas present, thanks to the dramatic reveal of Pantone’s choice of not one but two shades as its 2021 Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

Part trendsetter, part oracle, the Pantone Color Institute’s year choices sometimes prove controversial, but they’re always reflective of the global moods and currents driving the times. Once announced, the choice often sets the tone for fashion shifts in everything from clothing to electronics to (of course) home decor.

What Is Pantone Saying About the 2021 Colors of the Year?

With all of the turmoil and uncertainty that 2020 has seen, is it any wonder that people are looking for new ways to create a sense of stability in their lives? You can see that reflected in “Urbane Bronze” that Sherwin-Williams chose for its color of the year, which combines notes of gray and brown into a rich, earthy color that feels very calm and grounded.

Pantone chose to reflect those same sentiments with Ultimate Gray, which they liken to a solid foundation that gives whatever stands upon it the ability to endure all trials. In Patone’s words, “The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.”

So why add Illuminating Yellow? Well, because there’s also a huge need to embrace positivity and hope for a better future. Yellow is an uplifting and cheerful color, full of the optimism that comes from sun-filled days and positive thoughts.

The colors are meant to be used either alone or together. Alone, they each have a significant message that’s worth recognizing. Together, they create the idea that hope is always enduring.

How Can You Use Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow in Your Home?

Oh, do we ever have ideas for you! Whether you’re ready to do a major overhaul of your home’s color scheme or you just want to add a few accents that will help keep your home looking up-to-date and stylish, here are some suggestions you can use:

Re-Do Your Doors

You don’t have to use the two colors together to get on board with the trends, and Illuminating Yellow is a great color for your doors. Because it is a soft yellow, it won’t seem garish — but it will convey a sense to your visitors that they are welcome and that your hospitality is always warm.

Illuminating Yellow may be particularly pretty (and stylish) on your doors if you already have a gray exterior on your home. If so, consider adding Ultimate Gray on some accent pieces, like your lighting fixtures, mailbox or planters for a little added “oomph” and style.

Update the Bathroom

Ultimate Gray would be a gorgeous base for a bathroom. Because it is so basic and neutral, you won’t be taking a risk if you choose to use it on more permanent fixtures, like your backsplash around the shower or tub and your tiles on the floor.

Illuminating Yellow need not be left out, however, even though yellow can never be considered a neutral. You can add splashes of warmth and joy throughout the bathroom through the use of this color in your towels, your countertop accessories and your rugs.

Create a Classic Kitchen

If your kitchen cabinets have seen better days or the color on your walls seems a bit dated, you can easily brush over it all with Ultimate Gray and then accent with Illuminating Yellow and other yellows for a cheerful ambiance that your family will love.

Paint the kitchen chairs yellow, hang yellow curtains and add a few yellow dish towels to unify the look for a fashionable presentation that is always pleasant and graceful. You can even add yellow in more creative ways by updating your dishware or adding a few pieces of artwork with sunflowers or other yellow accents.

Enhance Any Room with Mixed Fabrics

Both Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow are inherently soft and soothing tones, so why not layer them together in any room through the use of fabric?

If the base color of a room already works with the two shades, you can quickly and easily update your entire look by adding gray and yellow throws or a quilt with a pattern that combines the two colors. Add a few throw pillows in the same color scheme to your couches and replace those out-dated curtains with some gorgeous, pale yellow sheers that will help keep your room beautiful and bright.

You can generally add gray and yellow to most neutral color schemes, but don’t rule them out as accent colors if you updated your walls with one of the dark blues that were popular at the start of 2020. They can be used together very easily.

Start Small and Build Up

What if you aren’t sure about how these two colors make you feel? In that case, make gradual changes to your home’s decor, like painting over that accent wall in your hallway in Illuminating Yellow to see how you like it after a month or two. If it still makes your heart sing every time you see it, go ahead and make bolder changes to bigger spaces.

One of the most important things you can remember when it comes to color and your home is that color trends do come and go — but you have to live in your space. Until you decide how a color makes you feel, it’s best to start small before you totally remodel or renovate.

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