Bold living: How to make the most of Pantone’s Colour of the Year

The design world went gaga when Pantone announced its latest Colour of the Year in December. Here, what you need to know about Living Coral.

In 2017, it was the nature-inspired Greenery. Last year, the ultra-bold Ultra Violet. This year, Pantone, one of the world’s great colour authorities, has gone back to nature for its 2019 Colour of the Year, Living Coral.

The hue was unveiled in December in appropriately colourful Miami, Florida, and is described as an animated, life-affirming shade of coral with golden undertones.

Selected annually by the Pantone Colour Institute, whose members spend a year analysing colour trends and influences across the globe, Living Coral “welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity,” the institute announced. “Symbolising our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”

The institute’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, elaborated in an interview. “It’s a very nurturing colour,” she said. “It has a golden undertone, so it has warmth, and warm and inviting are things we like to hear about a home.”

Reaction globally was almost unanimously positive. The Guardian called it a muted terracotta that’s “an oasis of calm”; New York illustrator and Instagram phenomenon Timothy Goodman “absolutely loved it”; GQ magazine suggested that the warm, mellow hue would “cheer you up”.

Closer to home, it got rave reviews, too. “Living Coral gives me an extremely uplifting feeling, like I’m about to go on a tropical sojourn and be greeted by hotel staff bearing platters of luscious Asian fruits,” says Sydney interior designer Scott Weston, never one to shy away from strong palettes. “It’s a strong yet reassuring colour that sings out loud and confident.”

Diana Moore, an interior designer and content expert with Home Beautiful magazine, describes it as “breath of fresh air. It’s a warm vibrant hue that will add a pop of colour to any room.”

But how will we incorporate such a bold palette into our lives? Back to Eiseman: “Even though coral is so bright and bold, it’s really something we’re seeing people embrace on a larger scale. It’s the kind of colour you could paint a whole room. It would be great in an entryway or a bathroom. You could see someone with a great coral couch.”

Moore has plenty of suggestions. “A living room would benefit from a dash of coral in cushions or a feature artwork,” she says. “Combine it with warm neutrals such as beige or natural linen to take a coastal interior palette to the next level.

“Punctuate a sideboard with a ceramic or sculptural resin vase, or add a splash to the bathroom with a new set of towels in a coral shade.”

But what are the go-withs for a shade this dramatic? Eiseman suggests pairing it with blue hues. “Blues make the coral pop,” she says. “It makes for a dynamic combination. Also use it with blue- green, which is always beautiful, or with hot pink for a nostalgic vibe.”

Scott Weston loves the idea of matching it with gold, pastel pink, deep scarlet red or deep teal. Diana Moore says it will brighten and refresh an all-white or darker charcoal-based colour scheme. “And you’ll find that even navy blue works well with this hue.”

As for bricks, Austral’s Camilla range, designed in cahoots with acclaimed Australian fashion designer Camilla Franks, make the perfect colour foil. Inspired by Franks’ travels to Mexico, the range pops with hues like Aubergine, Azure and Rosado – all great complementary shades to Living Coral. Find out more about our Camilla range here.

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