Using Pantone’s Colors of the Year and Natural Stone to Create Tranquil Spaces
Creating warm and inviting spaces involves more than just choosing furniture or fixtures. The products we use, from the colors we paint our walls to the natural stone we choose for our kitchen or bathrooms, impact the overall well-being of our spaces.
Changing Color Trends
“Following a period of uncertainty and upheaval, we yearn for connection and comfort,” says Carolyn Ames Noble, ASID, interior design director and founder of Ames Design Collective and ASID chair elect. “The trend forecast for 2021 will see colors that are rooted in nature, invoke respite and joy in our homes and spaces.”
Noble looks to soothing and tranquil colors like golden yellow, the color of honeycomb, which she says represents a sense of earnest optimism in the future.
She’s not far off from others’ predictions. Pantone recently chose two colors for its 2021 Color of the Year: a gray and yellow, which the company says come together to create an aspirational color pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine filled day.
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”
Interior designers are noticing how this shift for more warm, optimistic and tranquil spaces are influencing the types of natural stone clients are choosing for their homes.
“Right now, more than ever, we need to feel comfortable and tranquil in our home, and our choices of color for walls and surfaces can contribute to that feeling of safety and comfort,” says Jessica Shaw, director of Interior Design at The Turett Collaborative. “For us, creating environments that help people enjoy their time at home, even more, is a very important part of our job.”
Changing Trends in Stone Choice
In the past, Shaw says clients favored and requested a more dramatic deeply patterned stone. Interest in those bolder styles have definitely waned.
“Recently, we have seen a rise in popularity for lighter, softer colors of stone, notably Calacatta Gold marble,” Shaw adds. She feels these more neutral shades exude class and timeless beauty.
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, and her team chose Urbane Bronze as the 2021 Color of the Year as a way to honor nature at is simplest and most elemental, which also embodies the richness of the Earth’s stone, metal, and wood. The color forges a feeling that’s grounded, meditative and serene, not unlike the feelings one has when it comes to natural stone.
According to the company, as a pure, minimalistic expression of nature, Urbane Bronze effortlessly conveys a feeling of warmth and welcome. It can serve as a rich anchor that grounds the mind in calm and stability with its ties to the natural world.
“Complement the simplicity of Urbane Bronze with natural materials—like wood finishes, organic stone accents or woven textiles—and a variety of mixed metals to create a serene space grounded in nature,” Wadden recommends.
An example is juxtaposing Urbane Bronze with Carrara marble, travertine, or another pale-tone stone.
According to Diane Kaptur Kitchell, LEED AP ID+C, adjunct faculty at Boston Architectural College and owner and principal designer at DK Interior Concepts, the metallic dark brown with green undertones of the Sherwin Williams’ Urbane Bronze hue lends itself to elegant contrasts of lighter color marbles or warm white Carreras to reference mid-century modern neutrals with upscale refinement.
“Deep neutrals like bronze can create a sense of calm in a home,” says Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC, wellness design consultant and author of Wellness by Design (Tiller Press, 2020). “This makes them perfect for libraries, dining areas, living rooms, even bedrooms. I can easily see a golden-veined marble pairing handsomely with this color.”
For those who might be interested in incorporating Pantone’s two colors into their designs that use natural stone, Kitchell says slates are always great for tone-on-tone with grays. “And they provide a natural non-slip texture if left unsealed,” she adds.
Gold recommends people carefully consider where, when, and how one uses yellow as it can affect our moods. “A sunny yellow like the one chosen can be bright and cheerful for kitchens and playrooms, for example, but they can also overheat a room that gets tremendous afternoon light and they can promote unease in some people, according to color scientists,” she adds.
In a kitchen space, Gold would pair the Pantone Illuminating yellow hue with an Absolute Black granite for a classic combination.
No matter which colors and natural stone one decides to use in upcoming projects, many will be seeking colors and materials that inspire warmth, balance and an invitation to relax.