Living Coral: here's how to incorporate Pantone’s colour of the year into your home

From an accent wall to accessories that make your space pop, here are our ideas on how to incorporate the colour

As the end of the year approaches, designers and trend-followers turn their eyes to the Pantone Institute, the authority on all things colour, to find out which hue is going to dominate living and working spaces in the 12 months to come. The company uses seasonal trend forecasts, colour psychology and colour consulting to help brands, creatives and homemakers leverage the “power, psychology, and emotion” of colour in their design strategy.

Its experts use detailed trend analysis to scour the world for inspiration. Art, fashion, entertainment and film, all aspects of design, and even lifestyle trends, socio-economic conditions and sporting events work to contribute to the final selection. This month, Pantone revealed Living Coral as its Colour of the Year 2019. The team describes their new star shade as “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge”.

Other words from the tone's bio include warmth, comfort, natural, nourishment and lively – all qualities that build a rich picture of what Pantone is trying to achieve. "In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolising our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, the hue embodies our desire for playful expression," the company says.

This image released by Pantone Color Institute shows a swatch featuring Living Coral, which Pantone Color Institute has chosen  as its 2019 color of the year. (Pantone Color Institute via AP)

Living Coral builds nicely on recent hero hues: 2018's Ultra Violet, 2017's Greenery and 2016's Rose Quartz, all of which use nature as their starting point and draw warmth and light into our annual palette. However, Pantone has also provided us with extra help by creating five key palettes that incorporate Living Coral with very different effects. The first builds on the colour's natural environment, and includes shades such as Limpet Shell, Turkish Sea and Turtle Green to create the Under The Sea palette. The Focal Point palette muddies the waters with shades such as Martini Olive, Storm Grey and Mauvewood, which promise to make Living Coral really pop. Shimmering Sunset partners the Colour of the Year with similar shades, such as Conch Shell, Hot Pink, Papaya and Radiant Yellow to create a deeply rich, tropical vibe.

The most contrast-based palette is Trippy, which mirrors Living Coral’s underlying brightness in tones such as Ibiza Blue, Pink Lemonade and the zingy Sulphur Spring. And finally, Sympatico is redolent of the human race in all its variety, with skin-tone-inspired colours ranging from Mellow Buff through to the dark and chocolatey Burnt Henna.

The great thing about this coral is that it works well with both warm and cool colours, which means it shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate it into your current decor without having to indulge in a complete makeover.


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The natural base of the shade means it will blend well into neutral, earthy and botanical-based looks, but it’s also playful enough to stand up against more contemporary styles, from monotone to industrial. Living Coral’s links to tactility and human connection make it a great choice for textiles, too – think shag rugs, cosy blankets and lush upholsteries – to create a comforting and nurturing feeling in the home.

Five tips on how to incorporate the colour

Equally, its eye-catching nature makes it ideal for adding a of colour to any room through decorative accessories, such as cushions, vases, clocks and artwork. Use this design trick to draw attention to areas of your home that you particularly want to highlight, whether that be a favourite sofa or a beautiful bookcase.

Remember, trends are not rules to be slavishly followed, but they do give us exciting new tools to play with in our homes. Use this hue as an inspiration to try something new or to build on the style you've already got. With these ideas in mind, here are some practical ways you might want to consider bringing Living Coral into your home.

1) Create an accent colour wall

You can do this using paint for a full-on of colour, or choose a patterned wallpaper that uses Living Coral ­within it for a more ­subtle look. A tropical, floral or ­botanical print would also look great, or how about incorporating an undersea theme?

2) Make a statement

A good way to create a focal point with colour is to buy a statement piece, such as a sofa, a large artwork or a floor rug. Again, these could be bold, with solid blocks of Living Coral, or the new shade could be ­included more gently through a pattern.

3) Accessorise away  

Thanks to its sociable nature, this shade of coral is the ideal choice for a dining room or living room. If you don't want to get into full makeovers, ­consider buying a new dinner service or even just a few tea cups to add spots of colour. Make the most of Living Coral's natural links and pair it with lots of indoor plants. For example, if you have a feature wall, create a jungle grouping of dark green or lime foliage as a contrast in front of it – plants such as bird's nest fern, zebra plants and ­rubber plants would all work really well.

4) Make an elegant match

A really lovely way to bring a hero colour into your home is to give it plenty of space by ­surrounding it with lots of white. Think about a guest bedroom makeover with a pure white bedspread and Living Coral scatter cushions. Classy but welcoming.

5) Don’t ignore the kitchen

The spicy undertones of Living Coral provide a good canvas to get your passion for food going. Kitchens have been getting a lot more colourful recently, so if you're planning a full makeover, don't be afraid to go for Living Coral ­cabinets. As a playful and a more safe ­alternative, you could also paint just the inside of your cupboards for a of colour.