Pantone’s Color of the Year: Living Coral
This juicy hue imbues interior decor with energy and cheerfulness.
By Katherine Adomaitis
If you’ve been following design trends, you’ve probably noticed that “Living Coral” is the 2019 color of the year, as designated by the Pantone Color Institute, which forecasts global trends for such industries as home design and fashion. Inspired by coral reefs, this year’s “it” hue has an energizing golden undertone and eclipses last year’s moodier “Ultra Violet.”
Since the announcement, local design professionals have been contemplating the lively shade and how they might use it. “I think it reflects the times,” says Phoenix-based interior designer Dorothy Bron, a color design specialist. “Things might seem a bit dark in the world right now, and coral lifts our spirits. It’s a comfort color. It may not be subtle, but it is great for accents.”
Justin Nee, who manages Scottsdale’s to-the-trade John Brooks Inc. showroom, takes color predictions in stride, knowing that the clientele for his showroom’s numerous European fabrics and made-to-order furnishings gravitates largely to safe colors. He is, however, currently seeing the warm coral tone crop up in some new fabric colorways, in accent pillows and in wallcoverings, such as a Phillip Jeffries spring introduction called “Flight.”
Known for her bold approach to interior spaces, Scottsdale-based interior designer Esther Boivin agrees that the best way to incorporate the bright shade is with fabrics and accessories. “You don’t want to overdo this; you want it to pop,” she says. “I would integrate this color if it reflects the owner’s personality and style, and use it in a way that evokes an emotional reaction.” Boivin says she would seek the tint in a fabric or as a wall paint, contrasting it with bold colors such as black, midnight blue or emerald green and, possibly, a mix of metals for a dramatic touch. “It’s a lively, fresh hue that reminds me of vacations.”
Jill Christenholz loves the color and notes that a client recently requested the addition of coral Sunbrella fabric on all her outdoor furniture. But with a double career as a real estate broker, the Paradise Valley interior designer has a few caveats about craving too much of the sherbet-tinted hue. “If it brings joy, I say go for it,” she says, “but you have to think about where the color is being used. Will it be in a spot in the home that is awash in natural light, or in a space that is artificially lit? The color’s intensity will vary depending on the brightness of its environment.” Christenholz suggests avoiding going overboard by using Living Coral in cabinetry or tile—more permanent items that are costly to redo if you need to sell your house in the future, when the color isn’t so on-trend.
In the months to come, Living Coral will become more prevalent in home decor products. “You’ll be seeing this color in everything—from laundry baskets and pillows to sofas and chairs,” says Bron. “If you like coral, this is your year.”