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Living Coral
How Designers Use the Prettiest Color Under the Sun (and Sea)
“Show me the pretty!” we implored. And Pantone did. Those of us in the design world are likely aware that the Pantone Color Institute recently named Living Coral as their  2019 Color of the Year . (If not, definitely keep reading!) Aptly unveiled at Art Basel Miami, Living Coral conjures up visions of tropical escapes—from setting suns and sea reefs to sublime serenity.

The diverse descriptors used to define this warm, peachy-orange hue seem endless: evocative, optimistic, friendly, calming, bold, inviting, romantic, and energizing. According to the folks at Pantone, Living Coral is a tone that’s full of optimism and symbolic of “an authentic and immersive experience which enables connection and intimacy” in a world dominated by digital technology and social media. That’s a lot for one color to live up to!
Skip the small talk. Find a statement piece  to establish your scheme. Lexington Home Brands’ Tommy Bahama Home Twin Palms Red Coral Chest is a beautifully finished, multi-purpose piece that can connect your color dots. Pair with a mirror in a foyer, take two to flank a bed, top with a TV in a family room, or utilize as a server in a dining room. (Never fear, it includes a protective glass top.)
From a designer’s perspective, it’s all about the combination of colors —not just a single one—that helps them compose a perfect palette. Warm and cool shades paired together can look beautifully balanced. No surprise that coral plays well with neutrals like navy or gray. So crisp and so fresh. Likewise, teaming it with warm neutrals and dusty earth tones can be equally successful. Totally embracing and totally welcoming.

If you are charmed by the effects using this hue can achieve, you’re not alone. Award-winning designer Lisa Kahn of  Lisa Kahn Designs explains: “Being in Florida, I like to bring the natural colors we see here every day into my interiors—those cool paler blues and watery greens—to create a quiet, almost dreamy space,” says Kahn. “Using Living Coral as an accent is like injecting a little jolt of electricity throughout the room, which I think is lovely.”

• Think you’re limited to a laid-back beachy vibe? Think again. It’s a color that works with any design style or theme. “Vibrant, warm, and full of energy, Living Coral is completely appropriate in both formal and casual settings,” says Mickey Sharpe, principle of  Mickey Sharpe Designs in Lexington, North Carolina. “Just as it performs in nature it is especially balanced and versatile, allowing me to easily incorporate it into any warm design palette, and I really love the infusion of warmth it adds to a cool palette.”

• Feeling timid? Try coral-colored accessories to brighten a space.  While some describe Living Coral as their comfort color, how and how much of it you use depends on your own comfort level. “Since it can be quite dramatic in large-scale use like interior walls, I think its best application will be in fabrics for chairs, pillows, and window coverings, or in accessories and artwork where it can add a pop of playful spirit to any room,” recommends Lauren Jacobsen, president of LA-area  Lauren Jacobsen Design .

• If it’s your go-to color, go for it.  “Coral has long been a go-to color for me,” says Sharpe. “It functions as either the perfect backdrop or as featured accents.” It’s not a huge commitment to paint or paper an accent wall or highlight woodwork and trim. Think waking up a dull entryway or warming up a sun-starved powder room. “It is a color that is welcoming and invites connection,” adds Jacobsen, “so it is perfect in the home.”

• How you feel about a color impacts why it’s used. “Having a little bit of my favorite color around me always makes me feel good,” says Kahn, also the founder of Naples-based  Finding Sanctuary . (She and Jacobsen both admit coral is a favorite color to wear.) “Think about what your favorite colors make you feel.” Do they calm you down or do they stir you up? “For me, Living Coral is my color of creativity—it inspires my imagination. It’s a wake-up call.”
1.   Use Living Coral to make a splash . Whimsical rugs like this  Laura Ashley Butterfly bath mat can perk up even a boring bath space. This wonderfully soft brushed microfiber and memory foam mat creates an added plushness that your feet will adore too.

2. Small accessories have big impact  when they help achieve consistency for your color accents. When Lauren Jacobsen spotted these charming faux shagreen  Alaina Boxes from Curated Kravet, she simply couldn’t resist sharing. The lids are accented with natural coral pieces.

3. Be aware of how colors make you feel  as you plan where to use them, recommends Lisa Kahn. If coral has a calming influence (and brings your heart rate down too), you may want to cuddle up with the  Dorian Reversible Comforter Set from Creative Home Ideas. The coral and taupe damask print on the comforter flips to a classic floral motif.

4.  Use fabric for chairs, pillows, or window coverings  to add a pop of color (and pattern) to a room, says Lauren Jacobsen. Her choice? The sophisticated  Ailin Lattice Weave f rom Scalamandré.

5. Don’t be worried coral can’t work with contemporary. The architectural silhouette of the  Winthrop Chair metal frame is perfectly complemented by a crisp geometric woven coral fabric. FYI, the ultra-down seat means it’s comfy too. From Lexington Home Brands’ Shadow Play collection. We rest our case.

6. Create calm and a sense of sanctuary  by surrounding yourself with the colors you love—whether at home or on the road, suggests Lisa Kahn. No matter if you’re recording pensive thoughts or just doodling, your next excursion won't be complete without Kate Spade New York's coral-covered  Travel Journal . Book the ticket, this journal will do the rest.

7.   Add accessories with an artisan flair. When we spotted the  Roseate Glass Vase from the IMAX Worldwide Home collection with its energetic hues and organic shape, we knew Mickey Sharpe would approve. Each large vase is uniquely handcrafted and hand-finished so no two are identical.  

Feel free to share any of these images and copy with your readers or followers.  Photos can be found in this Dropbox .
Design Matters is the monthly trend viewpoint from the tradeshow - traveling, fresh-finding team at The Media Matters. Feel free to use this information in part or total. We're always here to help.
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