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Pantone Colour of the Year 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

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Hello Yellow & Grey!

Lemon, mustard, honey, gold… yellow in its myriad of happy hues has long been recognised in interior design for its cheerful impact on spaces, helping to lift the ambience with positivity and playfulness.

Over the past year, with so many of us filled with uncertainty about the future, it’s not surprising to learn that the world is looking to insert more mood-lifting yellows into their homes to harness the happy vibes. In fact, ‘Illuminating’ (13-0647) yellow and it’s complementary ‘Ultimate Gray’ (17-5104) have been named the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2021.
Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of The Pantone Color Institute, describes the combination of yellow and grey as “a message of positivity supported by fortitude… this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope.”
Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 woven bed

Walking on sunshine

With the world of interior design echoing that of fashion, it’s clear to see this happy hue is universal. One only has to look to the catwalks to see that everyone from Marc Jacob to Ralph Lauren is parading ‘Spongebob Yellow’. It’s the colour of the spring/summer season. It resonates with blissful summer days, barefoot walks on the sand and frosty lemon gelato cones… not to mention that guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Yellow is the essence of sunshine on your cheeks.

Yellow is the happiest colour on the spectrum. It is one of my favourite colours right now.

— Mamta Johl, Early Settler’s homewares expert

“Yellow is the happiest colour on the spectrum,” says Mamta Johl, Early Settler’s homewares expert. “It is one of my favourite colours right now. It is bright and cheerful and adds a refreshing hint of colour to a room. It makes for a great accent and statement.”

Perfect pairings

Warming up the predominantly neutral and monotone hues in our homes, part of the allure of yellow is that, as it’s so vibrant, it’s easy to elevate the entire ambience of a room with a few well-selected accessories, like cushions, artwork and faux flowers. Golden accents, in addition, work to instantly introduce a level of luxury that enriches spaces and infuses a subtle air of opulence — even in relaxed homes.

Hello Yellow! with the Carson
“It’s so easy to give your living room an instant lift of life and playfulness with cushions or artwork. From bumblebees to vibrant bouquets, we’ve selected a stunning array of yellow-toned accessories this year that we’re very excited about. Yellow décor adds the illusion of light to darker areas, and in bright rooms, it’s absolutely luminous.”

Yellow looks fantastic when partnered with grey. They’re a match made in heaven.

— Mamta

Elegant & elevating

When accented over darker and more dramatic pieces of furniture in anchoring shades such as grey, graphite and charcoal, even the palest shades of yellow and pastels can magically elevate the entire space and infuse an element of optimism.

“Yellow looks fantastic when partnered with grey,” says Mamta. “They’re a match made in heaven. Chic and ultra-modern, they work beautifully together in patterns such as chevron and herringbone to create a contemporary neutral. You can expect to see a lot more of it in the world of interior design.”

Uplifting a classic

Yellow and navy blue, too, work surprisingly well together. The everlasting sophistication of dark blue gets a contemporary facelift with yellow accent pieces. “It creates a nice visual contrast between a warm colour and a cold one,” explains Mamta.

Pantone Colours of the Year 2021
A serious and elegant colour, navy blue is all about tradition and timelessness, which is why it’s often the colour of choice in classic, country and Hamptons-inspired homes. “Dark blue against white, cream or light grey looks coastal or maritime — it’s very traditional,” says Mamta. “Yet you add some sunshine yellow and the space becomes modern and vivacious while offering vibrant visual pops of colour that instantly draw the eye.”

Add some sunshine yellow and the space becomes modern and vivacious while offering vibrant visual pops of colour that instantly draw the eye.

— Mamta

More in-store

Fresh, fun and infusing our homes with some much-needed positivity, just check out this season’s gorgeous range of pastel, lemon, mustard, honey and gold homewares and accessories paired with sophisticated greys in-store or online and you’ll be walking on sunshine…

Yellow not your cup of tea? Don’t miss our story on classic blue — the Pantone Colour of the Year 2020; pretty in pink; and gorgeous greens.

The Pantone Colours of 2021 with the Maude
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