Color is fun, and if you choose the right one, it may give a boost to your home’s look in an instant. What are the color trends that defined, refined and shaped home décor in the last decade? We’ve turned to the front-runner in all things color-related, The Pantone Color Institute, to see which colors were significant enough to nurture expression of all sorts so as to be used in a variety of areas, from interior design to fashion and brand awareness.

Using the right color can make a world of a difference particularly when dealing with home decoration, and our tips below can help you discover the right mix for your next home improvement project, starting with Pantone’s designated color of the year.

“All Pantone colors from the last decade are strongly linked to feelings and emotions as they echo humanity’s natural desire for happiness, exploration and growth”, according to graphic designer Florin Buzea. “In one word, they attempt to reflect life.”

“These colors also speak of a journey through the decade, marking a shift from the individualistic and eccentric attributes of the Pantone colors of the first half of the decade to a more grounded and inclusive focus”, added Buzea. “With the exception of the Greenery trend in 2017, the most recent half of the decade offers Pantone colors on and around which ideas can be built, a foundation, if you wish. In contrast, Pantone colors were the center of attention during the 2010-2014 time period and in 2017 too.”

Social media, TV shows increased our appetite for gorgeous, colorful interiors

Home decoration has gotten immense appeal in recent times and the truth is it’s now easier than ever to engage in home remodeling projects. This last decade was defined, among other things, by the rise in popularity of social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, which helped us acquire and develop our taste in home design. TV shows focused on real estate and renovations, such as HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” turned us all into handymen, and DIY projects gained a lot of popularity.

Rather than acquiring brand new living room furniture or tearing down walls, using color is one of the easiest ways to achieve the looks we so much aspire to on Pinterest. Just choose a color palette that’s in harmony with your personality or one that’s associated with a feeling you’re trying to create.

From the warm and vibrant tangerine of 2012 to the iconic pink and blue duo of 2016 or the bold Ultra Violet of 2018, you’re bound to find the ideal combinations for your home. After you’ve browsed the decade’s colors below, feel free to let us know what your choice is for your next design project.

Want an earthy, reviving look? Check out the first half of the decade

Honeysuckle (2011), Tangerine Tango (2012), Emerald (2013), Radiant Orchid (2014) and Marsala (2015) are the Pantone colors that marked the first half or the current decade. These shades, intense and reminiscent of nature, brought a feeling of tame ardor and enthusiasm to interior design schemes all while emboldening a color palette that might otherwise have been dominated by cool grays and whites.

Although the gray-centered interior design remained popular throughout the entire decade, the focus shifted from putting grays and whites front and center toward using them as a backdrop for more dramatic, multi-colored home décor pieces.

Interiors kept the airy and light quality conferred by modernist design and the cool hues, but became enhanced by layers of carpets, pillows, prints, and decorative objects that brought color back to our living rooms.

The shabby-chic aesthetic and farmhouse accents got increasingly popular, being juxtaposed against the modernist, minimalist trends of previous years and creating the trademark look of early 2010s: stylish with a touch of quirkiness, emboldened by statement décor elements and rich colors.

2016 marks a change of heart: toned down but still speaking for young desires and wants, the iconic Millennial Pink is here to stay

The most defining color of the decade is the famous Rose Quartz — or Millennial Pink, as it became known on social media — that started popping up everywhere around 2015. The muted, dusty pink was Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2016, in tandem with a serene blue. This lighter shade of pink was the star of the show for the following few years, showing up on walls, textiles, and home décor items, but also in fashion, advertisement, phones and laptops.

The Millennial Pink trend paired perfectly with the Millennial generation’s fondness for things that marked their childhood, like unicorns, bubble gum, milkshakes, or cartoons, and that’s probably one of the reasons why the shade had so much of an impact. Carefully curated pages of Instagram and Pinterest influencers turned the Millennial pink into a must-have, whether for your home, your clothes or accessories.

2017 kept the same vibe indicating Greenery as the color of the year, symbolic of new beginnings, as Pantone describes it. Greenery is nature’s neutral,” according to Pantone. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected in the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world. A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.”

2018 makes the switch toward sophisticated hues

The final years of the decade represent a turn toward more sophisticated colors. For 2018, Pantone chose a deep, dramatic Ultra Violet as the color of the year, and, in a short amount of time, the shade managed to become almost as ubiquitous as the Millennial Pink.

The color, which is historically associated with royalty, pomp, and luxury, also has pop culture significance.  Artists like Prince and David Bowie used the color as a means to express their unique personalities, and it’s often seen as a symbol of creativity, spirituality and mindfulness.

In other words, it’s a bold and meaningful shade, which works perfectly when it comes to fashion and accessories, but how do you integrate it into your home décor? One of the most creative ways is through wallpapers that feature it, which adds a touch of luxury and also a romantic, retro quality to interiors. Other ways to include Ultra Violet in your home décor is through curtains and drapes, decorative pillows, carpets or accent walls.

An interesting choice was 2019’s color, Living Coral, a lighthearted, warm shade ideal to sunny up your living room, yet mellow enough not to overpower your other décor.

The color decade ends royal, with 2020 Pantone Color of the Year being Classic Blue, a deep, elegant and sophisticated shade of blue which can definitely elevate any interior.

With this color, Pantone may have demonstrated a bit of foreseeing power as it described it as “a reflective blue tone” that “fosters resilience.” And we indeed need to prove to be resilient this year as the COVID-19 pandemic changes our perception of everything around us.

And, if all this talk about colors and home décor is stimulating you to pursue your own home improvement projects, keep your furniture and appliances safe and protected by putting them in a self storage unit until the painting is done.

The decade we’re now about to end was defined, in terms of home décor, by a veritable color revolution. After years of generic magnolia colored walls or pristine gray and white interiors, people dared once again to bring bold and strong hues back into their homes.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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