Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral: a “life-affirming” hue that aims to wrap us in a warm embrace and call attention to the importance of real coral found at the center of our oceans’ bustling ecosystems. Symbolizing our need for optimism, this shade offers a beautiful way to enliven our homes with the arrival of warmer weather.

Living Coral being used heavily in a Mexican-inspired apartment designed by Dmitry Reutov. The company’s website reads: “PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

"Living Coral," Pantone's Official Color of the Year for 2019.

On the softer end, it’s more of a blush pink, while darker hues take on more of a salmon or orange sherbet kind of shade. Brilliant yet subdued, you’ll find that Living Coral is actually pretty easy to work into your interior decor, particularly in rooms that could use a bit of cheer.

Pairing It with Complementary Colors

Living Coral being used heavily in an apartment designed by Luiza Broetto Arquitetura.

Shades of blue-green are the perfect complements for this color of the year, which is fitting enough considering the fact that together they look like crystalline tropical waters reflecting sunlight over a coral reef. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should take this combo too literally with nautical or mermaid-inspired themes (unless that just happens to be what you’re into, of course). Make it your own in a way that feels a little more natural to your decorating style and fits in with the rest of your stuff.

Brightening Up Neutral Color Schemes

Loaf's "Jonesy Sofa," a furniture piece that makes heavy use of Living Coral. Living Coral being used heavily in West Hollywood condo designed by Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer.

Living Coral pairs beautifully with black, white, and all shades of gray. As seen above on the Jonesy Sofa by Loaf, this contrast can produce a particularly subtle balance of warm and cool tones. Take it in a bolder direction, like the bathroom of a West Hollywood condo designed by Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer and photographed by Mary Costa, and it gets punchy and graphic in a way that feels fresh and fun.

Painting a Statement Wall

A Living Coral accent wall inside a small apartment.

Living Coral is an exciting choice for an accent wall because its depth and warmth changes throughout the day, producing an amber glow when the sun is at its strongest. Some great shade matches from major paint brands include Benjamin Moore’s vivid Tangerine Dream 2012-30, Coral Reef SW 6606 by Sherwin-Williams, Amber Rose by Valspar, Celebration Orange by Glidden, Coral Serenade by Behr, and Coral Gables 2010-40 by Benjamin Moore. If you prefer an eco-friendly, non-toxic alternative to these colors, one good option is Aegean Coral chalk paint by Renaissance.

Sticking to the Smaller Things

Several small decor pieces that feature Living Coral, Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year. The new "Coral Reef" lamp set from Lamps Plus.

If you’re loving this color but all too aware of how quickly trends pass, try incorporating it on a small scale through accessories that can easily be changed out when you get bored and begin to crave something new. Pictured here are the Ombre Bath Rug from AllModern, the Emanuela Carratoni Coral Agate Round Side Table at Bed Bath & Beyond, the Peach Velvet Pillow at Land of Pillows, a midcentury modern shower curtain from Society6, and the Coral Reef lamp set from Lamps Plus.