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Conquer Rose Quartz and Serenity—without making your whole house look like a nursery—with help from local pro Erin Iba. —Photo courtesy of Pantone

How to Use Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year

Local designer Erin Iba shares tips for incorporating Pantone's hues of honor into your Colorado home.

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Pantone has made plenty of wacky choices with its annual Color of the Year designation—last year’s dirt-colored Marsala, anyone?—but the design gurus outdid themselves for 2016 by selecting not one but two hues for the year’s top spot. This year, cool blue Serenity and pale pink Rose Quartz share Pantone’s title, making 2016 the first year for which a solo color has not won out. Pantone claims the shades represent consumers’ quest for mindfulness and a reflection of culture’s increasing acceptance of gender fluidity. On the street, the consensus so far is that Serenity and Rose Quartz are colors to confine to your nursery.

Local designer Erin Iba, however, insists the hues really can be sophisticated and chic. In the name of fashion, she gave us a primer on how to incorporate the colors into your home—without turning it into a pastel playground.

Courtesy of Pantone

Do: Man it up. “You can definitely make it a very feminine palette,” Iba says, “but I think the more interesting thing to do is to take some dark rich grounding colors—some charcoal, navy, deep rich brown, even burnt orange is gorgeous with these colors—and create a sophisticated palette using [Serenity and Rose Quartz] as accents. I’m imagining a burnt orange club sofa, something incredibly masculine, very simple, very chic, and then using these colors in a suede.” (See one of Pantone’s more masculine suggested palettes above.)

Iba’s recommendation? Try Edelman Leather‘s Serenity-hued suede (available at the Denver Design District) for upholstering an ottoman, a pillow, or even a door.

Courtesy of Bloom by Anuschka

Don’t: Go overboard. “If you don’t get creative with these colors, it’s going to look like my mother’s 1980–90 house,” Iba says. “If someone takes these colors and says, ‘Wow, I’ve got white trim all over my walls, and I’m going to paint the walls Serenity and the ceiling Rose Quartz, and I’ve got a white sofa, and I’m going to add some florals in the same colors,’ it’s going to be a mess.” So go ahead—pick out a pale blue bench from Bloom by Anuschka (pictured above) or a Serenity-esque rug from the new RH Denver Design Center (both among Iba’s favorite Pantone-inspired products). Just don’t put them right on top of each other.

Courtesy of Osborne & Little

Do: Embrace patterns. “You can use these in a paisley, in a plaid,” Iba says. “You can do all kinds of things. I think that if you trim them appropriately and create some really great pillows, that would be the perfect way to incorporate [the colors].” Iba recommends any of the selection of pink and blue prints from Osborne & Little, available from Shanahan Collection at the Denver Design Center.

Try Flamingo Club by Matthew Williamson at Osborne & Little for a bold statement on your wall or Osborne & Little’s Coquine (pictured above) for a patterned accent chair.

Courtesy of Aviary / Pantone

Do: Try Rose Quartz in your powder room. “Rose quartz will be stunning in a bedroom or anywhere you apply makeup,” Iba advises. “This color on your walls, and you do candlelight? Your skin is gorgeous. It’s luminous. It’s very flattering to skin tones.” Iba points out, however, that while Rose Quartz is perfect for a bedroom, Serenity won’t do such wonders for your skin.

Courtesy of Lucas Raschbacher/HW Home

Don’t: Skimp on accessories. While you can certainly outfit large items in your home in Serenity and Rose Quartz (Restoration Hardware, for example, has Pantone-friendly bedding galore), the more fashion-forward move is to weave the colors into a room’s accessories—especially unexpected ones. Bloom by Anuschka’s Serenity blue desk tray will give a great pop against a dark, clean-lined coffee table, and its rose-colored card holder allows you to spread the Pantone love to your pocketbook.

Wondering how to incorporate the colors in your kitchen? Accessories come to the rescue once again. “There are so many great pink quartz crystal products out there that would look fabulous on your bar cart,” Iba says. Think: a stainless steel bar cart topped with a rose quartz carafe of your favorite spirit.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the classics, either. Pick up a Lali and a Bargello throw pillow (pictured above) from HW Home’s three Denver metro area locations, toss them together on a neutral couch, and voila: You’ve found a foolproof—and grown-up—way to incorporate the year’s hottest hues without even looking beyond the Mile High City.

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