2014 Color of the Year: We can't help but love it

We swear we didn't rig this. But it looks like there's going to be a lot of purple in your life next year.

Pantone, one of the world's foremost color authorities, just announced its 2014 Color of the Year today: Radiant Orchid, what Pantone calls a "captivating, magical, enigmatic purple."

The color speaks to innovation, says the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman -- an "expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society."

That echoes Sherwin-Williams' recent choice for Color of the Year 2014: Exclusive Plum. The paint company's director of color marketing, Jackie Jordan, told Yahoo Homes that she chose Exclusive Plum for its "mystical" and "experimental" qualities. It reminds her of elixirs and brews, she said.

Sherwin-Williams' Color of the Year is focused on paint applications, particularly home interiors.

Pantone's has implications for fashion and beauty as well -- although the company is clearly making a bid for the home market. Valspar announced simultaneously today that it would be adding Radiant Orchid to its Pantone Universe Paint Collection, available only at Lowe's.


Since the colors are similar, we thought we'd first take a look at how they vary.

Radiant Orchid is what Eiseman calls "an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones." But Sherwin-Williams sought to steer clear of overly pink tones, finding certain purples too "tricky to work with" -- "too bright, too garish" -- Jordan said. Jordan calls the shadowy Exclusive Plum a more sophisticated "adult purple" rather than "juvenile" that's both darker and less saturated than other variations.

Now let's get to the good part: how to use these colors.


Jordan sees Exclusive Plum as a more practical kind of purple that's rich but "easy to live with." Here are some of her favorite combinations:

• With orange, magenta or chartreuse, "bumping up" the energy.

• Paired with yellows -- not bright, sunshiny yellows but golder tones.

• Combined with warm, earthy tones.

• Used to soften and freshen whites and grays for a combination that's "lighter in spirit." Sherwin-Williams' inspiration photos include a bathroom with an accent wall in Exclusive Plum against dark-grouted white subway tile and bathroom fixtures punctuated with chrome.

• Paired with copper accents and worn leather to take advantage of its "potential to be a very masculine color." In fact, one of Sherwin-Williams' inspiration photos uses Exclusive Plum in a den that looks like a luxe and sophisticated man cave. (Well, OK, we'll concede that maybe no true man cave can be sophisticated. Maybe a gentleman cave?)

As she does every year, Jordan chose Sherwin-Williams' Color of the Year from the company's full Color Forecast, released months earlier. Sherwin-Williams' Color Forecast 2014 grouped 38 colors into four palettes: Curiosity, Reasoned, Diaphanous and Intrinsic.

Exclusive Plum is part of the Curiosity palette, which contains what Jordan calls "honed, chalkier jewel tones" like the "raw amethyst" that Exclusive Plum evokes, as if they were gems straight from the earth rather than highly polished.


For home interiors, Pantone says that Radiant Orchid is "as adaptable as it is beautiful." Here are some ways Pantone suggests using it (we've collected the specific pairings mentioned below in our Color of the Year 2014 slideshow, beginning at slide 15):

• With shades of blue. The combination defies conventional wisdom, Pantone acknowledges, but Radiant Orchid can "give your room an exotic flair" when paired with Pantone Moroccan Blue, or enliven Pantone's "soft, ethereal" Illusion Blue. And Radiant Orchid is a "striking and resplendent complement" to Pantone's Peacock Blue, the company says. "Radiant Orchid’s incandescent spirit can be applied through accessories, upholstery and, of course, paint in living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens."

• With other purples: In a dining room, Pantone's Amaranth paired with Radiant Orchid would provide a "dramatic and sophisticated look," Pantone says. Radiant Orchid also coordinates nicely with other lavenders, purples and pinks, like Pantone Wild Orchid, and "adds a touch of sensuality to romantic Pantone Sweet Lavender," according to the company.

• With olive and "deeper hunter greens." Radiant Orchid is a "unique accent" to such colors, including Pantone Hunter Green -- perhaps as a paint color for pottery or patio furniture, Pantone suggests.

• With spring greens. "Uplifting without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid epitomizes the glory and freshness of spring when paired with [Pantone's] Tender Shoots, bringing a burst of tropical garden color indoors."

• With gray, beige or taupe. Both lighter and deeper neutrals like Pantone's Mushroom, Timber Wolf and Bleached Sand get a boost from the vibrancy of Radiant Orchid, the company says. In hallways, Radiant Orchid provides "a unique visual pathway"; it can also "accentuate small spaces, such as the interior of a closet or a cabinet, for a pleasant surprise."

"Nothing can transform the mood of a room more than color, and the purple family has continued to grow in popularity and acceptance among interior designers and consumers alike,” Eiseman said in a press release. “As we move into 2014, we are beginning to embrace bold paint colors in the home for accent
walls or to revamp key furniture pieces. Radiant Orchid is a surprisingly versatile, modern hue that evokes a sense of creativity and movement that will elevate any room to a new dimension.”


Are Pantone and Sherwin-Williams on the right track? Is purple the color of 2014? What color would you choose? Let us know in the comments!

Have a story tip? Email us at yahoohomes@yahoo-inc.com or -- even better for visually oriented material -- submit photos to Yahoo Homes' Flickr group at http://bit.ly/yahoohomesflickr.

You can also watch Jackie Jordan of Sherwin-Williams and Leatrice Eiseman of Pantone explain more here:

And here's an infographic provided by Sherwin-Williams: