8 Gorgeous Ways to Decorate with Pantone's 2021 Colors of the Year

Learn how to incorporate Ultimate Gray and Illuminating—the trending colors of 2021—into your home as a soft, beautiful color combination.

In 2021, Pantone announced two diverse shades for its 2021 color of the year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. The juxtaposition of a soft, livable neutral with sunny yellow is meant to represent strength and positivity, offering a message of hope at the end of a long, difficult year. The two colors balance each other beautifully, and you may have noticed the combination popping up throughout the fashion, beauty, and interior design industries in 2021. To work this duo into your own home, try one of these ideas for decorating with Pantone's 2021 colors of the year, both indoors and out.

updated gray marble fireplace in corner
Jeff Herr

1. Add color with small updates.

Color trends come and go, so one of the best ways to incorporate them is with accessories that you can easily and inexpensively swap out. Pillows, area rugs, throw blankets, wall art, and other accessories offer a simple way to try out Pantone's colors of the year without going all-in on new furniture or wall paint right away. Start small with a few colorful updates and see how the shades play in your space. If you still love the look after living with it for a while, consider a more substantial dose of gray or yellow.

grey kitchen cabinets, yellow chairs
David A. Land

2. Use gray and yellow in the kitchen.

Ultimate Gray is a timeless neutral that makes an excellent choice for kitchen cabinetry. The versatile color easily pairs with a variety of other hues, so it's easy to switch up if your tastes change over time. To incorporate Illuminating into your kitchen color scheme, pull in chairs or barstools in a sunny shade or roll out a runner with a bright yellow pattern.

Linen White + Sunny Yellow + Dove Gray bright clean bedroom
Kim Cornelison

3. Layer in cozy fabrics.

Choose textiles in gray and yellow tones to add another layer of comfort to rooms. The warm tones lend an inviting feeling that's especially cozy in bedrooms and living spaces. Drape a quilted throw at the end of your bed, pile your sofa with plush pillows, or dress windows in gray and yellow curtains. These versatile hues work well with most neutral color schemes as well as colors like blue and green.

gray bathroom with white tile
Adam Albright

4. Try gray and yellow in a bathroom.

Use Pantone's colors of the year to update your bathroom with a modern look. Ultimate Gray looks gorgeous as a bathroom paint color, on a backsplash, or as floor tile. Add in splashes of yellow through rugs, hand towels, and countertop accessories. For added contrast, opt for a gray paint color that's a few shades darker to make the yellow accents really pop.

muted blue exterior with bright yellow door and lush landscaping
Laurie Black

5. Paint your front door yellow.

Set a welcoming tone from the street by painting your front door in a bright, happy yellow. The color stands out particularly well against exteriors with gray siding or roofing materials. Outline the door with white trim to emphasize the contrast.

bedroom with neutrals and yellow
David Tsay

6. Decorate your bedroom.

Gray is an inherently soothing color that makes a relaxing addition to bedrooms. Apply the soft neutral on large surface areas, such as walls or bedding, to create a calming backdrop. Then mix in a yellow patterned area rug or mustard throw blanket ($24, Target) for a pop of energetic color to help wake you up in the morning. Metallic or mirrored accents provide a variation on gray that adds shine and dimension to the bedroom color scheme.

deck with woven patio furniture and gray and yellow cushions
Dustin Peck

7. Outfit your outdoor space.

Bring Pantone's 2021 colors outside for an inviting patio, porch, or deck. Create a neutral foundation with gray patio furniture, then accessorize with yellow pillows and other bright accents. For example, shiny yellow garden stools can stand in as side tables or provide extra seating options. Place a gray outdoor area rug ($70, Target) underfoot to make the arrangement feel homier.

kitchen with yellow accents
Jean Allsopp

8. Accessorize with yellow.

Layer in yellow accessories to add personality to a neutral kitchen. Start with a base of gray on cabinets, walls, countertops, or tile treatments, then introduce yellow in smaller ways. These colorful accents can be as simple as yellow dishware displayed on open shelves, a bowl of lemons on the counter, or a touch of yellow on a patterned Roman shade.

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