The Painted Pearl Colour of the Year 2021

I always look forward to Pantone’s Colour of the Year, and after 2020, the sense of needing something to look forward to is stronger than ever.  But, before I share with you Pantone’s selection,  I want to nail my own colours to the mast and present The Painted Pearl Colour of the Year 2021.

Say hello to Soft Terracotta.

For Soft Terracotta look at the colour 'Venice' from Autentico

For me, the colour Soft Terracotta encapsulates grounded optimism.  It’s earthy warmth is simultaneously uplifting, soft and sensual but it also gently anchors us to the land, tradition and life’s simple certainties.  Its peachy tones are the warm embrace we’ve been craving during our isolation, its nectar on a summers day, its the antidote to technological and viral overload.

Sound far fetched? 

Pantone are colour forecasters, not specifically for interiors trends, but they endeavour to crystallise the direction of the global zeitgeist and our experience of reality, which in turn, influences trends.  

Here’s the rationale for Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2021...

Their view is that we are yearning for solidity and dependability in uncertain times, that we have a much needed desire for optimism in our lives.  These sentiments are spot on, and I’ve chosen two colours from the Autentico range which I feel express these sentiments really well.

Sailors Blue for its timeless dependability.  A classic navy, it’s calming, reassuring and solid.  Morpeth Mustard is grounding with it's ochre tones but it's muted warmth is also heartening and enlivening. These two hues are complimentary, they balance well, they represent the equilibrium we are striving for in these turbulent times.

So, how did Pantone use colour to interpret these sentiments?  

Pantone’s Colours of the Year are Ultimate Grey and Illuminating

I see the balancing, I see the search for optimism, and I do feel Ultimate Grey and Illuminating seem to be a perfect summary of the year we’ve had.  With Soft Terracotta I’m pushing further forward, beyond just hopeful, and instead, I’m soothing with the knowledge we have firm roots to see us through shaky times.

The Language of Colour

The language of colour is so interesting.  It encompasses universal messages about such things as danger and love but is also completely subjective and filtered through such variations as personal, cultural, historical, economic and geographical perspectives.  

Anyway, I found this years Colours of the Year from Pantone, thought provoking.  It prompted this blog and an optimistic flirtation with what the future might hold and what we might need to surround ourselves with on our way there.

With grounded optimism I wish you all a happy and healthy year ahead.

Michelle x

PS Autentico have added Ultimate Grey and Illuminating to their colour palette and you can check them out here:

PPS If you like Sailor’s Blue, Morpeth Mustard or Venice (my inspiration for Soft Terracotta) find them here:


  • Love that colour, just bought shrimp pink for our entrance hall from little green company which is very similar.

    Peter Greenwood
  • Hi Helen, thanks for your feedback. What did you think of Pantone’s choice of Illuminating, it’s definitely more vivid?

    Michelle Fullbrook
  • Hi.. whilst the colour is ok in its self i think for the times we are in a more uplifting brighter colour would be more fitting. So many people need a lift right now and i dont think the colour is up to the job!


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