Pantone's Color of the Year 2015 and 5 Steps to Picking the Perfect Color for Your Walls

Tess Panzer

Are your walls looking a little ho-hum? Is it time for a change? Well before you pick up that paintbrush, you may want to consider Pantone’s color of the year for 2015! Each year the Pantone Color Institute releases its prediction for the upcoming year’s top trending color. From home interiors to the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan, the chosen color often explodes into the hottest hue around. This year that color is Marsala. 

marsala, a deep wine red painted on living room walls
marsala, a deep wine red painted on living room walls

Photo: Donna Vining

The color, as described by Leatrice Eiseman of Pantone is “a naturally robust and earthy wine red.” She says that “much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.” 

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Photo: Pantone

Pantone has a knack for predicting the hottest colors of the season, as is evidenced by last year’s pick, Radiant Orchid, which found its way into countless closets and onto bathroom walls in cities near and far. 

We know that when decorating a home, picking your paint colors can be the most intimidating part of the whole process. Color will change the entire mood of a room and it ultimately always feels like a bit of a gamble. If you want to give Marsala a whirl, or you’re on the fence about another bold color, we have 5 helpful tips for you to keep in mind and a little advice from a color expert. 

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Photo: Living Style Trends

1. Consider your entire house

Remember when you’re painting a room, that that room is a part of a larger house. Although you can vary colors from room to room, it is a good idea to consider how each room fits into the collective of a home. This way you create a consistent through line as opposed to a house that lacks cohesion. We contacted Christina Harris, a professional color consultant at Colorific, for her thoughts on picking colors for your home and she finds that “if you think of how you move from room to room, the colors should ‘flow’ as well.  That doesn’t mean that they have to all be the same color, but they should look good together.”

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Photo: House and Garden

2. Start with a Small Area

If you’re nervous about a color you’ve been dying to try, don’t start with the biggest room first, Pick a smaller space and use that as your experimental room. If you love the color Marsala, for example, great! If you don’t, you’re not stuck painting over four large walls in a great big room. Harris also says that “if you’re not feeling too brave, but feel like you want to make a change, then get a small pot of paint, and paint a fairly good-sized board, about 12”x12” minimum (there’s even a product designed for this purpose, often sold in paint stores).  Once you have that, you can look at your painted board in different parts of the room, against different pieces of furniture, or even see how it looks at different times of the day.”

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Photo: Attic Mag

3. Pick Your Paint Color Last

 If you paint your walls a bold color before decorating the rest of the room, you may find yourself stuck desperately trying to find pillows, throws and rugs that match or go with a difficult to match color. Figure out what the feel and color pallet of the items and furniture in your room are first, then pick a color that ties it all together.

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Photo: Decorating Tips Blog

4. Choose the ‘Right White’ Online

Finding the “right white” can actually be one of the more difficult tasks for the home decorator.  Harris believes that “everything from floor color, to counter top material to which direction the sun comes in - all these play a factor in what white will be perfect” As you may have realized when looking at paint chips, white comes in numerous shades. The tricky thing about this seemingly color-absent color, is that it has varying undertones. Surprisingly, it is easier to detect these undertones and choose the right white for your home, when researching online. The way the whites appear (see below), is truer to the actual shade you will end up with on your wall, than the way you see the shade on a physical paint chip. This is due to the effect of backlighting, as opposed to natural or electric light being shone on a chip. If you’re nervous about choosing your white, we suggest going with a shade that has as little undertone as possible, like Decorator’s White

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Photo: Her Site

5. Light Matters

Remember to consider what kind of light each room gets. Does your kitchen have a lot of natural light throughout the day, or is it mostly electric lighting? Does the bathroom have any windows, or is it pretty dark? The type of light a room gets, will greatly affect the way any given color shows up on a wall. Whites are a prime example of this. Grey undertones will still ring true as whites in dim or warmer electric lighting, however pink undertones will appear more creamy or peachy. A dark, bold purple will be that much bolder and darker without a little natural light to shine on it.

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Photo: Sweet Peach

We encourage you to go bold, if that’s what your heart desires, or find the perfect white or neutral if you want to keep your wall color subtle. If you follow these simple guidelines, we think you’ll be successful in your ventures. And remember, it’s just paint and you can paint right over it!

For more of Christina Harris’ tips and insider information, or to schedule a consultation with her, check out Colorific.com.