How Not to Use Pantone's Colors of the Year

rose quartz and serenity
Rose Quartz and Serenity. Pantone

What do The Golden Girls and Pantone's Colors of the Year have in common?  Unfortunately, they both conjure up images of the eighties, a decade known for its regrettable fashion trends.  This is one reason Pantone's dual pick of Rose Quartz and Serenity--light shades of pink and blue--is striking a nerve. In addition, pastel hues in general aren't loved by everyone, and furthermore, these particular colors are often seen as either infantile...or for old ladies.


On the other hand, however, designers and style makers have figured out ways to make Rose Quartz and Serenity a trend to consider. Not just for shabby-chic or cottage interiors, these two shades can look surprisingly modern, boho-chic, or even glamorous.  In fact, although at first glace the two colors seem one-dimensional, they are actually quite multi-faceted.  So before you dismiss this year's controversial color combination too quickly, read on for tips on how to use them successfully in your home by avoiding certain traps.

Don't Rely on Old Cliches

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, right?  Don't fall into this old trap!  Indeed, one of the reasons Pantone cites for choosing these two particular shades is because the landscape of today's culture is changing to reflect a more fluid understanding of gender roles and identity.  For this reason, Rose Quartz and Serenity would be perfect in a master bedroom, not only for their ability to evoke feelings of peace and tranquility--making for a relaxing, stress-free oasis--but also because they strike a balance between masculine and feminine qualities.

Don't Be Afraid to Separate Them

Just because Pantone chose two different colors, doesn't mean you have to use both colors in the same room.  You may like one, but not the other, and that's fine.  It's true that the shades complement one another nicely, though, so you could consider applying them in adjoining rooms for a tranquil whole-house palette.

Don't Go Overboard

If you like the colors but don't want your space to look like The Golden Girls' wardrobe room, don't go overboard!  Dip a toe in the trend by simply accessorizing with both colors.  An abstract painting of a sunset, a lamp base, and a pair of pillows would look really pretty in a neutral room dominated by sophisticated grays or tans, for instance.

Don't Be Too Sweet

These two shades have a tendency to look too sweet when paired together.  Unless you're using them to decorate a nursery (which is a great idea, by the way!), give these colors an edge by pairing them with more saturated shades, or even black and white.  Finding a geometric pattern in one or both of these colors--such as a light pink rug with a Moroccan pattern--is another way to give Rose Quartz and Serenity a modern, grown-up look.  You can also add some sparkle to these pastel shades to give them a glamorous look.  By pairing them with gold or silver, or even finding some pillows embellished with sequins, the two colors lose their sweetness.  

Don't Be Too Literal

Use a little artistic license when using these colors in your home by interpreting them through the use of metallics or wood finishes.  For instance, try a copper light fixture to represent Rose Quartz in a light blue room, or attach rose gold furniture pulls to a dresser stained in a Serenity-like blue-gray finish.