Pantone’s 2021 Colour of the Year; Stylish grey and yellow – here’s how to get the look…

Sam Wylie-Harris reveals how to work Pantone’s popular palettes into your own interiors.

What happens when you take two contrasting colours – ‘ultimate grey’ and ‘illuminating’ (which is a bright, buttercup yellow)– and project this perfect match into interiors? Something surprisingly uplifting.

Colour experts at the Pantone Colour Institute have defined these two shades as Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 – and we couldn’t be happier about it! Especially now we’re all in winter lockdown, and need something to steer us in the right direction and bring a touch of brightness to our days ahead of springtime.

Said to be a ‘marriage of colour, conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting’, this is an uber union that’s easy to get right and will bring your rooms to life.

Here’s how to get the look in your home…


PA Photo/Graham and Brown

Lilium Paint (Pastel Yellow); Charmed Paint (Blue Grey); G&B White Paint, £38 each for 2.5L (other items part of room set), Graham & Brown
If you’re feeling truly inspired by Pantone’s picks, go all-out with some paint effects using both shades. A bold move is to paint one wall white, from the skirting board to three-quarters of the way up, then the rest in yellow – repeating the pattern in an adjoining room, with grey instead of white. Corresponding soft furnishing completes the look. Ta-da!

PA Photo/Graham and Brown

Horizon Mustard Wallpaper, £60 per 10m x 52cm roll (other items part of room set), Graham & Brown 
Starting with your office space, think about making working from home that much more inspiring with a wonder wall that frees your mind from the mundane and channels thoughts of carefree summer holidays. Horizon Mustard could be papered on one wall, and works like dream with teak furniture and eco-friendly sisal carpeting.

PA Photo/Loaf

Deep Yellow Coolicon Original Shade in Deep Yellow, currently from £115 (previously from £125), Loaf
Sometimes all it takes is a trendy industrial pendant light to bring a ray of sunshine to the most used room in the house. To switch things up a bit, small details – such as a stove top espresso maker in stainless steel, grey canisters and a lovely fruit bowl filled with bananas or fresh lemons – will add some zest.

LEFT: PA Photo/Barker and Stonehouse | RIGHT: PA PA Photo/Ciel Shop Interiors

Orla Kiely Una Chair in Tolka Dandelion and Sixties Stem Charcoal with American Walnut Feet, currently £575 (was £675), Barker and Stonehouse (Pictured above left)
Famous for her artistic renditions of retro-inspired pieces, designer Orla Kiely’s Una chair, with her signature stem print, will enhance any space – and offers just the right measure of comfort and style with its lavish winged back. An added bonus, it’s available in a choice of foot colours and prints, including Tolka Light Grey with the stem print in Misty Grey.

HKLiving Studio Natural Teak Wood Round Pillar Dining Table, £1,495, Yellow Modernist Movement Original HKL Artwork, £195 (other items part of room set), Ciel Shop Interiors (Pictured above right)
With home entertaining, tablescaping and growing demand to blend a little bit of luxury with necessity, investing in a timeless classic such as this central pillar table makes for a fabulous statement piece. Team it with a pale grey background, dove grey curtains, charcoal grey bench (great for a relaxed Sunday brunch), a bright contemporary print and there you have it.

PA Photo/Sofology

Perle 3 Seater Sofa Without Scatters in Plush Asphalt, £1,199, Sofology
Resplendent in velvet, we can’t think of anything more lush than sinking into this glamorous grey sofa. Not dark and heavy, more modern and chic, the Perle sofa will work in any scheme, from elaborate to simple. It’s available in a lovely ‘Plush Turmeric’ yellow shade too.

PA Photo/Benjamin Moore

Aura Matte Banana Yellow (2022-40) Paint, from £28 for 0.94L, Benjamin Moore
The all-white kitchen is trending big time for 2021, but if your worktops or tiles are looking a little lacklustre and you want a pop of colour to update existing fittings and fixtures, yellow channels a youthful glow. A durable, kitchen rug in anthracite and white bar stools brings the look bang up to date.

PA Photo/

Patrick 2 Seat Sofa in Canary Cotton Matt Velvet, currently £1,861.50 (was £2,190),
This super-soft and stylish yellow sofa (also available as a sofa bed) is bound to pop in any scheme. A couple of grey scatter cushions and some dark accents will tie it all together.

Words by Sam Wylie-Harris, PA

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