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Living Coral: How to use Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year to brighten up your home

The Phillip Jeffries Spring 2019 collection features Flight, a line of wallcoverings that features cranes against a background of swirling clouds. The Sunrise color evokes Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral.
The Phillip Jeffries Spring 2019 collection features Flight, a line of wallcoverings that features cranes against a background of swirling clouds. The Sunrise color evokes Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral.

Coral is the new blush. The popularity of soft pink in recent years is getting a bump toward the orange range with the announcement of Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral.

Highly evocative of a healthy ocean reef, the hue is a bold proclamation that “warmth and nourishment [will] provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

Read: We need something uplifting and joyful in our lives.

“With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Pantone Living Coral hit a responsive chord,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute.

Pantone’s choice of Living Coral is a spirited one, but the color is not really new to the Kansas City design scene. We’ve known its nature for some time, just by slightly different names: Salmon. Terra cotta. Cayenne.

Instead of diving underwater to view its hue, we look up to the Midwestern sky’s gorgeous gradient sunsets melting into a darkening blue sky.

Paint company Sherwin-Williams is feeling the trend, too, with Cavern Clay as its top pick for this year. It’s rustier, with a nod to earthy 1970s style. Think canyons and desert.

How are we residents of a landlocked region thousands of miles from a sea or a desert supposed to make these colors relevant to us?

Living Coral would be a perfect paint color for a powder bath, where you can cover all four walls — or even five, counting the ceiling. It would also make a more sophisticated alternative to baby pink for a girl’s room.

For a more understated look, she recommends using it on the back wall of bookshelves.

Kelly Specht, manager of KDR Designer Showrooms in Lenexa, recommends using coral on the back wall of bookshelves. Or, if you want to go all in, wall coverings are a way to add bold color to a large space while bringing in texture and an artistic touch.

Specht suggests Phillip Jeffries’ new line of Japanese-inspired wall coverings called Flight that features cranes and a gorgeous swirls of clouds. The “Sunrise” color in the series looks a lot like Living Coral.

“Compared to the price of artwork, the wall covering mural is more reasonable, for a similar effect,” Kelly says.

She adds that patterns on smaller accessories, such as pillows, can blend the color coral into homes with otherwise neutral interiors without looking too trendy.

“Coral in velvets and wool plaids can be very warm,” Kelly says.

Kelburn Check, a tomato and olive-colored plaid wool fabric from Colefax and Fowler, might appeal to those with traditional homes, while Jane Churchill’s Taro Stripe fabric has a subtle tribal pattern that fits with bohemian style. Black Edition’s Quanta Rocoto, a heavy woven fabric with coral tones, has a pixelated look that’s more contemporary.

Living Coral is a chameleon, a suitable partner for Kansas City’s transitional stylings.

Patrice Mendelson, a KDR sales associate who pulls fabrics for designers, says coral has been popular for awhile.

“I’ve definitely pulled many coral swatches in the last year,” she says.

Flipping through examples, she lands on one that epitomizes how easy coral is to incorporate into any design scheme. Just a touch of cayenne in Romo’s Wisteria fabric shows how beautifully the color elevates a largely neutral upholstery option.

While we’ll be seeing more of this eye-popping color in the future, it won’t be the only one competing for our attention.

“Designers are still clamoring for emerald,” says Patrice, referring to Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year.

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