Pantone Color Of The Year 2021
10th March 2024

How to use Pantone’s colour of the year: ultimate gray & illuminating yellow

By Monika Grzankowska

For the last 20 years, Pantone has been largely influential across the design board, including fashion, home interiors, product packaging and graphic design. The Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 is not one but two colours – Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow. The thought process behind choosing two such contrasting colours is that this decision ‘is a marriage of colour conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.’

If you’d like to look at how to use Pantone’s Colour of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow, we’ve got a plethora of ideas to give you some inspiration!

How to Use These Colours

The beauty of pairing these two together is that while very different, together they work harmoniously, with Ultimate Gray providing a contemporary, neutral look and Illuminating Yellow bringing warmth and optimism into your space – the perfect combination! The key is to work out how you want to use them in your interior – with the potential for grey home furnishings or interiors to be the dominant colour, with yellow acting as an accent colour or, if you want to make a real statement, using yellow as the focal colour and grey to help provide some calm.

Furniture Ideas

If you decide to lead with grey, interjecting with yellow, why not start with a grey corner sofa like the Darwin, and team with yellow cushions – which will immediately draw the eye but not overwhelm.

Alternatively, if a grey sofa feels too safe, how about a yellow chair or a yellow sofa like the Holland? With a striking design, in sumptuous velvet, the Holland invites you to fall back into its extra-deep cushions and relax! Alternatively, you could look at introducing both a grey sofa and a yellow armchair – with the two playing off against each other to provide both a stylish, inviting décor.

Wall Décor

Because of its versatility and its timeless aesthetic, grey is a natural choice for your walls – teaming it with hints of yellow through artwork and additional accessories will help to give your room positive energy. For more inspiration, check out some of our grey living room décor ideas!

Meanwhile, there are lots of additional ways to introduce yellow into your space – such as painting your mantlepiece yellow, bringing in a rug with a yellow pattern or adding some yellow curtains.


You may like the idea of incorporating the Pantone colour of the year into your living space without either colour being the dominant shade – you may want to use a white/light background and bring illuminating yellow and ultimate grey into your room through accessories, such as:

  • Artwork
  • Soft Furnishing
  • Mirrors
  • Lampshades

Alternatively, look at introducing layers into your space – the use of a neutral backdrop allows you to be more adventurous with your furniture, perhaps with a yellow sofa paired with a grey armchair such as the Lomond.

However, you use Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray, these colours will bring both calm and colour to your space. Head to Pinterest and start pinning images that you like the look of, and you’ll start to get an idea of how to bring these shades into your home.

Want to know more about colour trends and interior design trends? Head over to our blog for more inspiration!