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Each December, the Pantone Color of the Year is revealed. This much-anticipated hue not only helps guide decor and paint trends for the next 12 months, but it's also a representation of the year and the spirit of the time. At the end of a difficult year, as many look to the 2021 with hope, Pantone has chosen two colors to reflect this moment. Introducing, the Pantone Color of the Year 2021 selection: Illuminating (13-0647) and Ultimate Gray (17-5104), a beautiful balance of optimism and strength.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021, Illuminating and Ultimate Gray
Credit: Pantone

Pantone describes Illuminating as a "bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power." This optimistic hue is paired with Ultimate Gray, a color that is "emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation." Ultimate Gray is inspired by natural elements, like pebbles on a beach, that have a weathered appearance but prove they can stand the test of time.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021, Illuminating and Ultimate Gray
Credit: Getty Images

This isn't the first time Pantone has chosen not one, but two, hues for the Pantone Color of the Year. Design fans may remember that back in 2016, the company picked both Serenity, a soft blue, and Rose Quartz, a blush pink. For the Pantone Color of the Year 2021 selection, the combination of two colors is meant to represent the need for unity. "The selection of two independent colors highlights how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one," says Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in the press release.

Ready to introduce this uplifting color combo into your own home? Consider a paint project, or keep it simple with a couple new throw pillows.

How to Decorate With the Pantone Color(s) of the Year 2021

Pantone Color of the Year 2021 Illuminating Yellow
Credit: Pantone

Paint Your Front Door

Pantone points out that the two colors don't have to be used in equal proportion in decor. Their recommendation: Paint your front door with sunny Illuminating. "Painting a front door in bright yellow Illuminating conveys a warm and welcoming message when supported by solid and dependable Ultimate Gray in the exterior finishes," explains Pantone. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2021, Ultimate Gray
Credit: Pantone

Design a Timeless Kitchen

Because Ultimate Gray represents  natural colors that stand the test of time, you can rest assured that this enduring hue will never go out of style. Consider brushing it on the walls or cabinets in your kitchen. Add bursts of yellow with tea towels or canisters. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2021 Sofa
Credit: Getty Images

Perk Up Your Sofa

Velvet Pillow, $79, etsy.com

Good news: if you already own a gray sofa, your home is halfway to representing the Pantone Colors of the Year. Accessorize with some vibrant yellow throw pillows to liven up your living room.