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Since the year 2000, Pantone, a subsidiary of X-Rite (a company who creates, communicates, and strategizes colour), has been releasing a colour of the year. Selected by a prestigious group of international experts hand-picked from areas of fashion, home design, popular culture, international travel, technology, and even automotive design (among others), this committee spends the better part of a year scouring the globe, particularly the style capitals of the world such as Paris, Milan and New York, for cues and inspiration on what colour is creeping in to the modern subconscious in a pronounced and definitive way.
 
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It is difficult to pinpoint the major influences in this decision, because in a way it’s everything. It’s the world around us, the climate of politics, the mood of the prominent generations—the goal is for this colour to encapsulate and speak to the ambiance of the year it represents. Kind of a big job for one colour, isn’t it?
 
Maybe that’s part of the reason why Pantone has made the drastic, and frankly bold, decision to go with two pantone colours for 2016, a move unprecedented in the last 15 years of selection. 2016 will be painted with Rose Quartz and Serenity.
 
Rose Quartz is a delicate, soft, warm, feminine pale pink, while Serenity stands in juxtaposition to this as a cooler, tranquil pastel blue, blending the 2000 choice of Cerulean with periwinkle influences.
 
Apart from their growing presence in the current zeitgeist, and their obvious visual appeal, Rose Quartz and Serenity were also chosen for their psychological influence. Both should induce a calming, soothing sense of peace, stillness, reflection and tranquility, while the pink offers a warmer side and the blue, a cooler.
 
The growing acceptance and awareness of broader definitions and understandings of gender have also been reflected in this decision. Pantone explains that “this more unilateral approach to colour (in fashion) is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to difference approaches to colour usage.”
 
When it comes to incorporating these colour choices into your home décor, it can be a daunting prospect. The knee-jerk reaction when you think of these two hues on your walls is to dismiss it is as child-like or dated, but the way the soft blush and
washed-out periwinkle are being used is wholly fresh. They’re creeping in via subtle accents, usually in very pale, unassuming shades of the colours. Accent chairs, vases, beautifully but not intricately designed rugs, soft throws. The boldest appearance of these colours seems to be via easy-to-embrace-and-change details, like pillows and a single repainted accent piece, such as a side table or small bookcase.
 
Even more surprising are the colours that are being paired with them—gold accents, pronounced greys, toned-down blacks, crisp whites, and brown-based olives, just to name a few. These unexpected mixtures are grounding the ethereal Rose Quartz and Serenity, giving them a more liveable, approachable, mature vibe.
 
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While it can be hard to be conscious of it, Pantone’s Colour of the Year usually creeps into our subconscious because it begins appearing everywhere in tasteful, subtle details. You may start to notice that a lot of sweaters this year are available in these colours; suddenly you realize you’ve bought a pillow in that same pink and a scarf in the blue; popular housewares stores start showcasing irresistible mugs using one or both of these colours.
 
It’s partially because Pantone’s choice influences designers in fashion, housewares, home décor, and more, but it’s also a sign that this was the right selection for 2016 because they base their decision on noticing what is already insinuating itself into current colour palettes. The more we start to come into contact with Rose Quartz and Serenity, the more likely you’ll start feeling the urge to incorporate it into your home somewhere.
 
I always recommend starting with small details unless you are smitten with the colour(s). Unless you want to redo your home décor every time a new shade turns your head, it can be better to blend your new favourites with your existing style. Switch some pieces around, add an accent wall or furnishing, change your art, repaint some furniture. Details like this can really create a presence for these colours in your space but in a way that can be easily changed.
 
If you want to dive headlong into Rose Quartz and Serenity, I recommend using a very pale version of the rose on your walls then giving it depth and dimension with darker furnishings—look to blacks, heavy greys, rich browns and even deep burgundies. The blue can be easier to work with and is a less daring change. Any soft blue is going to look airy and breathy with whites and creams, or mature and nautical with taupes and creams. Consult your taste and the way a room makes you feel—these should always be the most important influences when it comes to decorating any part of your home.
 
As this year winds down and we bid farewell to Marsala with all its chic and sophisticated connotations, we start to look ahead to what is next. If Pantone’s choice for 2016 is an accurate snapshot of this time in history, we’re commencing a year with open eyes, full hearts, and beautiful colours.
 
 

Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald

 

Alexandra Kelter

 
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.