Pantone Colour of the Year 2020: why Classic Blue is set to be the next big trend for home interiors

Classic Blue has been revealed as Colour of the Year 2020 by Pantone, the American colour coding company whose swatches are the reference point for designers worldwide.

A rich shade close to cobalt, between navy and royal, Classic Blue is “a timeless and enduring hue elegant in its simplicity”, according to Pantone and has been used in homewares through history, from Ancient Egyptian glazes and Bronze Age glass to Tang and Ming dynasties Chinese pottery.

Described as “solid and dependable” and a shade “we can always rely on” by Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman, Classic Blue will make a strong statement on its own — as a bold feature wall or as an accessory against a neutral backdrop — or layered with other lighter shades of blue, such as denim or sky, for a tonal look.

Heralding good news for interiors fans who embraced grey with enthusiasm, the deep blue will pair well with many shades already in our homes.


Classic Blue: nature-inspired, the shade is familiar and reconnects us with the great outdoors

Pantone says the shade “brings a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit”, particularly as technological advancements gather pace. “It’s easy to understand why we gravitate to colours that offer the promise of protection.”

Classic Blue on the catwalk

We’ve already seen the colour on the catwalk in next year’s collections.

British fashion designer Stella McCartney included rich, blue looks in her Spring/Summer 2020 show at Paris Fashion Week in September 2019

Using the shade in homes

Instagrammers the world over have been championing mid to dark blues for the past few years.

“These deep blues became popular in 2013 and have been becoming more mainstream and familiar ever since,” says Dulux creative director Marianne Shillingford, “They are perfect for spaces where we want to sleep, dream and relax — it’s a colour you can dive into and of course blue is the world’s favourite colour.”​

Stylist Alex Stedman, of The Frugality Blog, and writer Kate Watson Smyth, author of Mad About the House, are among interiors influencers to have used blue hues such as Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue — which now has over 24,000 posts on its very own Instagram hashtag — on walls and features in their homes to stunning effect. 


Design choice: dark blues can provide depth to neutral schemes says Boxx Creative, a London-based design studio which recently tackled a hotel redesign in Italy (Mariell Lind Hansen)

“Dark blues have proved a popular choice within the home, especially in the kitchen as dark blue cabinets look very elegant and make an impressive design statement,” say interior designers Nicola Keenan and Nicola Lindsell, co-founders of Boxx Creative design studio.

“The dark blues work really well when paired with warm natural woods and can also provide grounding and depth to neutral colour schemes.”

“Pantone’s Classic Blue works well as an accent colour or as a main colour within a room scheme, for instance by painting the walls and ceiling,” adds Keenan.

Colour of the Year 2019

Last year’s Colour of the Year was Living Coral, a lively shade pitched between orange and peach. 

It was described as “sociable, spirited and life-affirming” by Pantone, but it wasn’t an industry-wide favourite.

Design TV presenter Michelle Ogundehin, writing on the Dezeen website, argued that it was “simply too saccharine, bright and ripe to be remotely relaxing”.

Australian design studio Jack + Huei described the choice of colour as “tone-deaf and downright irresponsible”, and proposed Bleached Coral — a very pale blue — for next year to highlight the environmental destruction of coral reefs.

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