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The Power of Color

Pantone Color of the Year 2021

By Kate C. Patchett

The turn of a new decade was both metaphorical and literal as the COVID-19 pandemic sent the world spiraling. It is a topic that still comes up in conversation almost daily, and has reshaped how nearly every industry does business, including real estate. Though the transition was incredibly difficult and has kept North Fork real estate agents on the go since last March, they have found ways to preserve for the sake of their clients. It is fitting and symbolic that in this new year, the Pantone Color Institute has chosen not one but two shades that convey a message of hope and strength – Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating. These enduring and uplifting colors have a particular significance to our local market, and agents with an eye for more than the deal share their thoughts on what these hues can inspire in 2021.

Architects, interior designers, builders, artists, and more have found a great appreciation for a shade like gray. It serves as the ultimate backdrop for every other color scheme imaginable, while telling its own subtle story. Thomas McCloskey, a licensed associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, finds that Ultimate Gray allows vibrant colors like Illuminating yellow to really pop.

Incorporating these two colors into living spaces can be more than just a coat of paint. “Illuminating is a mood booster which is what we all need right now,” McCloskey shares. “Looking at it has a calm soothing effect that brings a smile to one’s face. It does not have to just be paint on the wall. The colors could be incorporated with the use of upholstered furniture, accent pillows or artwork.”

The Pantone Color Institute describes the marriage of these two colors as a way for people to satisfy their quest for vitality as they look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty. There is a sense of warmth that Ultimate Gray offers in comparison with other shades of this foundational hue, while the Illuminating yellow offers that bright, cheerful feeling. Paired together, they can completely re-inspire a space.

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty real estate salesperson Cheryl Schneider finds Ultimate Gray will go with almost all wood furniture, highlighting its natural tones. She envisions its use on an accent wall, fireplace, or even as a contrast to wainscoting or shiplap. It would also make for a great kitchen cabinet color.

“On the kitchen theme, Illuminating would be a great accent color to use as a backsplash color between upper and lower cabinets – either in tile or a great, high-gloss paint,” Schneider explains. “It would also be a cheerful trim or wall color in a child’s room, playroom or sunroom. The perfect color to brighten up a dark space, like in a finished basement, what about painting your mailbox or front door this welcoming shade?”

With experience in the luxury consumer market, fellow real estate salesperson with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty Bridget Elkin has an eye for all things related to design. From her days at Ralph Lauren, she recalls a piece of design advice that suggests there are overlooked design opportunities that can add personality to a garment, such as adding a pop of color to the lining of a coat pocket. This theory applies to home design as well. Elkin considers typically utilitarian spaces like the pantry, laundry room, or powder room as a unique opportunity to have a bit of fun. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating would be the perfect shades for a bold and playful design in these spaces.  

Aside from paint, Elkin finds other ways to incorporate Ultimate Gray and Illuminating into living spaces. “Swapping out textiles can go a long way,” she shares. “Maybe it is your duvet cover, couch pillows or rugs, but banishing wool and adding in some linen and airy cottons is a great way to welcome spring. Of course, bringing the outside in with potted bulbs and spring branches is another surefire way to celebrate the warming temps. Clarkes Garden is my go to for all spring color and greenery.”

Also in Greenport, Elkin loves Lido World and Beale and Belle for home décor. In Southold, home design shops are now abundant, with White Flower Farmhouse and touchGOODS being among her favorites. McCloskey also loves the latter, as well as Complement the Chef for kitchen and dining. When starting from scratch, Schneider recommends Renee’s in Mattituck for their vast selection and free in-home design services. White Flower Farmhouse and In the Attic Too are her go-to for unique finds. For ultra-North Fork community shopping, she recommends Buy and Sell groups on Facebook.

With spring on the way, many are considering ways to revamp their North Fork homes. Agents suggest swapping out heavier décor accents in the form of pillows and throws for lighter textile options, which serve as an opportunity to incorporate Pantone Color of the Year shades. It’s a simple way to update a room without having to do a complete redesign. Changing out bed linens are another easy and fun idea.

Warmer weather also calls for revisiting the outside of the home. If the budget is available, one may consider residing their home, a case where Ultimate Gray may come into play, or repainting the door – an opportunity to utilize Illuminating as a welcoming color. Of course, planting spring gardens with colorful blooming plants is a must. As also mentioned, bringing cut flowers indoors can be a great mood booster as studies have shown the many benefits of having plants inside the home.

As stated by the Pantone Color Institute, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a pairing that emboldens the spirit, and “highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard. A combination of color whose ties to insight, innovation and intuition, and respect for wisdom, experience, and intelligence inspires regeneration, pressing us forward toward new ways of thinking and concepts.”

As 2021 progresses, we hope you find ways incorporate this same sense of hope and courage in your home, through color or otherwise.