Last week, Pantone announced its 2020 Color of the Year, a “timeless and enduring blue hue,” Classic Blue. We spoke with 10 design professionals about their thoughts on the choice, how best to use the color, and what other trends they see in store for the 2020s.
Design by Toledo Geller. Photo by Jacob Snavely.
What tone does Classic Blue convey in your professional opinion?
“Ahhh, Classic Blue is so divine and serene…it’s cerebral. It makes you feel safe, it makes you feel calm. It’s strong and soothing all at the same time, and of course, tried and true.” – Toledo Geller
“Straightforward, direct, something easy to understand and familiar.” – Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs
“Classic blue is a cool customer, it is full of assurance and authority.” – Karen Robert of Aux Abris Wallcoverings
“Classic blue is a rich color that feels luxe, familiar, and playful at the same time.” – Katharine Earnhardt of Mason Lane Art Advisory Services
“Classic Blue is a strong, sturdy, serious color. It conveys stability.” – Tina Ramchandani of Tina Ramchandani Creative
What do you think is the best way to use this color? (Large spaces? Small spaces? As an accent? etc.)
“Classic Blue has the same sort of tonalities as the sky, so I would use it in a room with big windows so the sky can be part of the color palette. But then I would add some warm colors to cozy it up, in the same way a sunset warms up the sky.” – Karen Robert
“This color can be used anywhere, large and small or as an accent. Painted walls, millwork, tiles, fabrics or pillows and artwork. Plays well with others!” – Katie Wozniak of Katherine Elizabeth Designs
“While Classic Blue is inherently calming and evokes a quiet feeling, you don’t need a big dose of it for it to be bold. A little goes a long way. But if you love the color so much that you want it as more than just an accent, we like to use it in a very big way. Floor to ceiling, high gloss or lacquer. Paint with a broad brush.” – Toledo Geller
“Go big or go home. I would saturate a room with this color. Kitchen Cabinets, family room walls and even the ceiling. I would also use it on the larger pieces of upholstery.” – Tim Green
It’s been mentioned that other Color of the Year picks have typically been bright and trendy, does the selection of such a familiar color surprise you?
“I was definitely surprised – not because the color was in the blue family, but because of the shade of blue chosen. Blues have been making a come back for some time, and I expected a deeper, more saturated blue to be chosen. Although Classic Blue is growing on me, I don’t know if this primary color will be my color choice in 2020.” – Tina Ramchandani
“It does, it feels more approachable and relatable than past colors. Less ‘of the moment’ and a more classic color to incorporate into spaces.” – Gabriela Gargano
“In times of political unrest and uncertainty we always see a move back toward something comfortable and familiar, so it’s not surprising to us that in an election year the color of the year is Classic Blue. It’s safe and secure. In general we see a swing back to basics – back to the things that we’re familiar and comfortable with. Transitional was “it” for so long and we see people moving toward a more modern version of traditional.” – Toledo Geller
“Not at all. It’s fresh and bright in its own way and can be layered with bright and ‘trendy’ color very successfully. This is not a bashful blue!” – Joni Vanderslice, principal J. Banks Design Group
Design by Susan Jamieson.
The Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute called this hue “solid and dependable,” what do you think makes this color so reliable?
“This kind of color is very grounding. It has the effect of feeling everything is going to be okay. It creates a feeling of familiarity which evokes a sense of security. I call it a “best friend” color. If this color were a person, it would be the one that helps you clean up after a dinner party or sits with you at the Doctor’s office. A steady and calming support.” – Lori Weitzner
“Blue in general is the predominant color of our planet, which makes it familiar and enduring. Classic Blue evokes deep seas and night skies, nature’s constants. From a design perspective, it can infuse a space with a sense of soothing reassurance and strength as well as promote peaceful reflection. Pretty solid and dependable powers!” – Susan Jamieson
“This blue is a blue we all grew up with. It’s the classic blue in toys, on the color wheel, and everywhere we turn. It’s an easy color to relate to, as we’ve all seen it our whole lives!” – Tina Ramchandani
Design by Toledo Geller. Photo by Jacob Snavely.
If you were to select one room in the home that you think Classic Blue makes the most sense in, what would it be and why?
“I love the color for kids room, where vibrancy and boldness is needed for kid’s development.” – Tina Ramchandani
“A living room or gathering room – it has a nice liveliness and energy alongside its inherent calming characteristics. It accordingly sets the ideal tone for a space where family and friends gather.” – Katharine Earnhardt
“My first choice would be the den. It will promote restorative feelings, comfort and quality conversations.” – Lori Weitzner
“A guest room. It’s a playful yet mature color that would make a memorable impression for guests.” – Gabriela Gargano
“Using it in the kitchen and dining rooms, looks beautiful on cabinets, tiles, paint and lighting.” – Katie Wozniak
Design by J, Banks Design. Photo by Shawn O’Connor.
If you were using Classic Blue as your primary color in a new design, what other colors or materials would you pair it with?
“I paired a classic blue ticking stripe with magnolia yellow and crisp white in my own home. And there are sprinkles of hunter green and blush pink in there, too. It’s the happiest room. If designing a new project, we’d love to see it with pale and lighter woods instead of rich woods, heritage brass, white plaster, camel leather and a dash of smoldering red. Oh, we’re excited now – who has a home ready for this scheme?” – Toledo Geller
“Blue and white is always right! But it tends to be quite obvious and creates a crispness that is often hard to live with. We like to layer a color like this with natural elements such as grass cloth, and warm metals to soften it, and then add a shot of something on the other side of the color wheel to make it pop.” – Joni Vanderslice
“I think it pairs wonderfully with a sienna and a moss green. I am imagining a living room with Classic Blue painted paneled walls, a patterned linen wallpaper in warm tones and a sienna colored leather ottoman and some wood pieces. Then I would add a moss velvet green sofa and some green and blue patterned pillows and chairs for pulling it all together. Of course, there should be big windows so the green and the blue from the trees and the sky become part of the color scheme. It would be a lovely room.” – Karen Robert
“We love Classic blue paired with crisp whites and blacks to keep it looking fresh and contemporary. Grey walnut wood is also a particularly nice compliment, and this is an especially important factor when considering framing artwork that incorporates the color.” – Katharine Earnhardt
Master Bedroom by Meg Caswell for the 2019 High Point Designers’ Showhouse.
Classic Blue is the first Pantone Color of the Year for a new decade. What other style trends to you expect to see in the 2020s?
“I expect the next decade to be more about comfortable, clean living. We’ll see more spaces integrating natural light, accents of color, and soft materials like grainy woods and linen. Artist-made pieces will help spaces feel more personalized and meaningful at a range of price points. Colors like Classic Blue are a key part of this, though they’ll be integrated strategically to maintain a feeling of relaxed, familial living.” – Katharine Earnhardt
“One of the themes we hear over and over is the connection between the living environment and our health. Creating healthy spaces, rooms that nurture and restore our sense of well-being is a trend that is only going to grow in this next decade. Thinking about sustainable design, the impact of color on our mood and using natural materials combined with developments in performance furnishings are worth watching.” – Joni Vanderslice
“I think we’ll continue to see an inclination towards classic, heritage colors, but more so on the warmer side of the color palette, such as terracottas and ochres. I’m seeing a movement away from the crisp, cool whites and greys and a desire for softer warmth. I believe that trend will continue in materiality as well – more wools, aged metals, ceramics, oil paintings and similar elements that inspire a nostalgic feeling.” – Gabriela Gargano
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