Happy New Year! What’s New in Design for 2015?

January 2, 2015

The big news is Pantone’s color of the year, which is Marsala 18-1438.  Like the wine that gives it its name; this red-brown hue is sophisticated and earthy.  Pantone says the color is enhanced when applied to textured surfaces making it a good choice for rugs, blankets, pillows, window treatments and upholstered furniture, as well as paint.

In my Decor Revolution storyboard I have featured clockwise from left to right: Pantone’s color swatch for Marsala 18-1438; Foscarini Birdie Table Lamp; Mocha Cellular Foglia Art Glass Vessel by David Patchen; 2-seater sofa seen on helenadamsrealty.com; accessories seen on wayfair.com; Gubi Ronde pendant light by Oliver Schick on Dwell.com; Marsala pillows seen on seldensdesignerhomefurnishings.com; area rug by companyc.com; ceramic bowl seen on architecturaldigest.com; pillow seen on fashionstyleblog.com; dinnerware seen on shopathome.com and; deco accent chair seen on hayneedle.com.

This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors,  says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

traditional-living-room marsala

Marsala shades work well in traditional or transitional spaces, such as this space by Rachel Reider Interiors that was featured on Houzz.com, when paired with other warm hues, such as reds, yellows, oranges and true browns.


You can also combine it with white painted trim and woodwork to get a crisp, clean look, like in this room by meccinteriors.com.  It’s best with lots of white, and natural light, to keep it upbeat, since it’s such a deep color. This room looks fresh even though it has dark walls.

Some members of the design blogosphere are not as enthusiastic about the color as Pantone would have liked. Color is subjective, after all, and some are referring to it as conjuring up visions of elementary school mystery meat, liver and meatloaf, rather than the gourmet associations of Marsala wine and pomegranate fruit that Pantone is featuring in the color campaign’s marketing images.  This is to be expected.  Last year’s color of the year was Radiant Orchid, and it wasn’t accepted wholeheartedly by the design community either.  Still, many manufacturers will use this color to create new product lines, and many designers will use it in their designs.

Accent Colors

Marsala is compatible with amber, umber, golden yellows, both turquoise and teal greens, and a range of blues from vibrant to deep indigo and navy.  Blues have been very strong lately and they will continue to be a popular color story.

Blue accessories

Pops of indigo, or navy, make the perfect accent colors against the warm earth tones of Marsala.  Pillows, like this one as seen on Flickr or these parsons chairs by Great Deal Furniture, are some examples of the kind of blue furnishings that would work well mixed with Marsala pieces.

Marsala & Blue Spaces

Here are two beautiful rooms combining Marsala and blue by Fieldstone Hill Design and Katie Ridder.

So, how do you feel about the new color of the year? Are you excited about it? Does it feel spicy, warm and rich, or are you in the camp of people that find it “icky”? When I first read about it, I’ll admit that I was not thrilled.  But, it is definitely growing on me as I start to think about ways of using it.  It can certainly look very luxurious if used on the right surfaces.  I love the velvet throw in the picture above on the left!  I’d love to know how other people feel about this color.  Please share your comments with us below.

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