Pantone colour of the year 2021 – 30 ideas for Ultimate Grey and Illuminating in your home

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Breaking away from the norm of announcing a colour of the year, Pantone has chosen a combination of two colours for 2021 – Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. While Ultimate Gray represents stability and dependability, essential for a strong foundation, Illuminating is a warm yellow shade representing the sun. It brings cheerfulness and vivacity. Together they present a magical pairing that merges feelings of thoughtfulness and optimism – the perfect colour trend for homes in 2021.

Here, we have put together ideas for using the colour combination in your home to produce the ideal mix of sober and bright in the interiors.

1. Solar centre

In an industrial-style loft, what could be more illuminating or cheerful than a yellow kitchen in the centre, reminiscent of a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day?

2. A warm seat

While grey is a practical colour for a sofa or lounger, combining it with bright yellow brings in unmistakable warmth and cosiness.

3. Fun in the bath

Say goodbye to dull bathrooms with a splash of sunshine yellow coating the bathtub and the shower tiles.

4. Vibrant kitchen

The combination of yellow cabinets and grey countertops can make a bold statement in a minimalist kitchen.

5. Subtle hints with linen

For those who love to layer on a neutral palette, nothing works better than introducing linen with hints of the two shades that make up the Pantone 2021 colour of the year.

6. A play on contrasts

Less is more when the cool grey flooring gets a boost of brightness from the contrasting yellow on the walls. Add a few minimalist accessories, and the room is perfectly staged.

7. Hints of grey and yellow

If subtle is your style, then introducing ultimate grey and illuminating yellow through small splashes in the furnishings such as the cushions and curtains is an excellent option.

8. Sunset beauty

Use grey on the cabinets and countertops in the kitchen, and introduce yellow in the backsplash with LED strip lighting to add a warm glow. The effect is reminiscent of a gorgeous sunset!

9. Play with accents

Create a stunning display in an open kitchen with grey counters and backsplash bordering white cabinets, while playful yellow accents are introduced through the furniture, lights and appliances.

10. A bit of calmness for the bedroom

If you wish to avoid bright yellow in the bedroom, mute down the tone and choose pastel yellow. Pair it with a lighter tone of grey to carry through the tranquil look.

11. A stunning façade

How about using the combination on the façade by painting one of the walls in warm yellow and the garage door in grey?

12. Creative borders

Instead of painting the wall behind the headboard, you can paint the section above the bedside table in yellow and use grey to tone down the brightness by painting it on the base of the bed.

13. Night and day

Using bright yellow on the wall behind the bed ensures that the vibrancy of the colour doesn’t disturb you as you won’t see it when lying down. Combining it with grey on the furniture and floor adds a modern touch to the bedroom.

14. Layering the colours

Another idea for subtly introducing the colours into the décor is to use them on alternate shelves on the wall.

15. Midnight sun

When you opt for a darker shade of grey in a small space like a kitchen, introducing bright yellow can help to break the monotony.

16. A feature wall in the living room

Since modern décor uses shades of grey in the living room on furnishings, a simple way to create the colour combination of the year is to paint a feature wall in illuminating yellow. Carry the shade through to the accents to add homogeneity to the décor.

17. A quick makeover

Playroom/ Teenage Hangout JMdesign Modern living room

Playroom/ Teenage Hangout


Paint the walls in one of the shades and use the other one for the upholstery. It’s a relatively inexpensive makeover that can make quite a statement.

18. A sandwich in the kitchen

If you already have a modern-minimalist kitchen with grey cabinets, how about sandwiching them with yellow on the floor and ceiling to create a striking contrast?

19. Nature-inspired creation

With cloudy grey walls, sunny yellow accent sofa, wood on the coffee tables and earth-like textured art on the wall, this living room has a stylish, natural feel.

20. Smart combination in the den

The Pantone colour 2021 is perfect for a study or home office as it perfectly balances the sober tones of grey with the vibrant energy of yellow.

21. A striking table setting

A simple way to keep up with the trend is through accessories. Here, you can see an idea for using grey table mats as the canvas for the yellow plates.

22. Patterns and textures

If you aren’t a fan of solid colours, then introducing the shades through patterned tiles and textures is an option.

23. An eclectic mix

If eclectic is your style, then you can consider introducing the colours in small doses like on the legs of furniture, a background wall of a workstation or even cabinet shutters.

24. The striped effect

Another option is to paint alternate shutters of the cabinets in each of the colours to create a striped effect.

25. A statement piece

In a modern living room that already has grey tones throughout the room, painting a piece of furniture yellow can add a trendy look to the sophisticated space.

26. A bright façade

Another idea for updating the façade of your house is to paint the exterior wall yellow and combine it with grey on the gates.

27. A trendy bar

In an open-plan home, install a bar counter in grey to separate the kitchen from the living room and pair it with bright yellow chairs.

28. Living room accents

Another inexpensive idea for updating the living room décor to the 2021 colour is by introducing the combination in ottomans or even the entertainment cabinet.

29. A minimalist bathroom

In a bathroom that has a raw concrete finish on the walls, painting one of the walls in yellow can bring in a trendy update.

30. A splash on the backsplash

Change the backsplash of the kitchen with yellow subway tiles and add a grey border at the bottom to complete the look. 

Which idea inspired you?

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