Every December, Pantone announce their Color of the Year (COTY) for the twelve months ahead. 

Magazine editors, product developers and buyers all eagerly await the influential report. It often sparks a wave of new trends across various industries, from interior decorating to fashion and graphic design.

The choice comes from an internal body known as The Pantone Color Institute. They’re regarded as the world’s leading source of colour expertise. The Institute combs the world of colour for new influences and performs regular trend forecasts and provides insights. The Institute selects a COLY after thoughtful consideration and analysis.

This year, Pantone surprised us with not one but two choices for Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray (17-5104) and Illuminating (13-0647).

According to the company, Ultimate Gray is a solid and dependable colour that will provide a “firm foundation” and encourage feelings of “composure, steadiness and resilience”.  The mid-grey shade evokes images of pebbles on the beach and other weathered natural elements that have stood the test of time.  Meanwhile, Illuminating is a vivacious yellow shade “imbued with solar power”, said to be “aspirational” and to give us hope that everything will get brighter.

Pantone says the two independent colours “highlight how different elements come together to support one another”.

Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of Ultimate Gray + Illuminating is one of strength and positivity; a story that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.


Planning to redecorate your living room next year? Why not consider using Ultimate Gray and Illuminating together? Looking for inspiration? We have plenty for you below!

Wallpaper Murals:

Looking for a simple way to use the two colours together in your living room? Try a wallpaper mural. Why not add a little floral flourish, or try an eye-catching abstract watercolour design?

We found these three murals at Wallsauce.com.  Prices from £30/m2.

Yellow tones will always remind us of happy summer days whilst grey tones have been making an appearance in interiors for a while now – offering solidarity and familiarity. 

Rachel Kenny, head of the design studio at Wallsauce.com 

Painted Walls:

Not into patterns?  Prefer a plain painted wall?  Pair Annie Sloan’s English Yellow Portrait and Chicago Grey chalk paints together instead.


Another option is to keep your walls somewhat neutral and let your furniture and furnishings do the talking. Make a bold statement with a grey and yellow rug:

Above: 1) Xisto Rug, Rug Society 2) Valencia Rug, Rug Society 3) Villa Nova Haldon Rug in Ochre, Sweetpea & Willow 4) Camden Diamond Wool Rug, made.com 5) Louis de Poortere Atlantic Streaks Sea Bright Sunny Rug from Modish Living 6) Hand Woven Grey Rug with Mustard Fringing, Audenza


Artwork is another way to bring the colour scheme into your living room. Design a gallery wall using prints in complementing grey and yellow tones.

Prints from Desenio.

Finishing touches:

The right accessories will tie the colour scheme together with ease. How stylish is this vase? We love the touch of blue in the cushion too.

Pictured above: 1) Dario Table Vase from Bloomsbury Market via Wayfair.co.uk 2) Titan Size 3 Pendant, Yellow With Visor from Original BTC 3) Square Geometric Print Cushion, Grey and Yellow from Cult Furniture.