The ColorWatch by Pantone display, an annual fixture at The Inspired Home Show (formerly International Home + Housewares Show), provides Show attendees with the color palettes that will guide the industry in the following the year. Because the 2020 Show was canceled due to Covid-19 concerns, Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, recently shared the 2021 color palettes and product examples that would have been displayed in the 2020 exhibit.
Pressman has worked with IHA staff to create the ColorWatch display since its inception 20 years ago. She studies exhibitors’ websites and submissions to select products not only on the basis of color, but also considering form, finish, texture and scale. Meant to inspire retailers in cross-merchandising, ColorWatch includes items from the Show’s many product categories in visually appealing arrangements in display cases aligned with each color palette. Additionally, the exhibit is a companion to color expert Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman’s two keynote sessions on color trends.
For the 2020 Show, ColorWatch was moving to a new location on Level 2.5 of the Grand Concourse, allowing attendees to see the colors and products before walking the Show’s expos. Along with the nine 2021 color palettes and the Pantone Color of the Year, ColorWatch also was to debut two new displays accommodating larger items—tables, rugs, chairs, lighting—to suggest room settings.
After the Show’s cancellation and the stresses and uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, Pantone’s staff reviewed the forecasts and inspirations to determine which ones might resonate most with retailers and consumers in the coming year. Pressman said Pantone believes that the industry will focus even more on innovation and transformation and that these palettes will help lift spirits and renew energies as consumers seek comfort and safety in their homes that now must serve more varied functions.
Here are the nine Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors color palettes for 2021 and Color of the Year, along with examples of products illustrating the colors.
Folkloric draws upon rustic textures and speaks to the poetry of pre-tech life and long-forgotten traditions. It combines woodsy textures with the rich colors of deep-dyed yarns. It speaks to the mythic, genuine authenticity and new forms of folk art. Focus on the handmade, crafts in surface, materials, patterns and styles. Products shown included tabletop, cleaning supplies, cutlery, small furnishings and accessories by the following exhibitors:
- And! Sales: ceramic vase, woven straw tote; Artland: woven straw caddy; Casabella – Bradshaw Home: duster wand; Cuisinart: chopper; Design Ideas: basket tote, wire-legged tree ring slice table; EvriholderProducts: wooden handled scrubber; Faneema Cutlery: Pakkawood handle Damascus knife set; Larch Wood Enterprises: cutting board; Le Creuset: rectangular, covered porcelain enameled bakeware, ceramic pitcher, five-lobed curved covered bakeware; Lipper Int’l Inc.: natural bark-edged cheeseboard and slicer; Lodge Mfg. Co.: burnt orange porcelain enameled Dutch Oven; MUkitchen: oven mitt; Now Designs: placemat; Smiles: insulated bottle carrier, cutting board; SoYoung: cutting board; Sophistiplate: paper napkins; TAG: cheese spreader, candle holders; Talisman Designs: vintage inspired, laser-etched salad servers; Typhoon Homewares: ceramic pour spout mixing bowl; Vitrinor: skillet; Widgeteer: storage jar with wooden lid.
Terra Cotta reflects the natural baked earth and the need for warmth in nature essential to humankind. Its rustic inspiration is casually convivial. It relates to concern for the environment and sustainable practices. Terra Cotta embraces natural fibers, crafts and the support of local artisans. Pantone feels strongly about its popularity for 2021, because it is well grounded, as people seek warmth and the enduring values especially in these uncertain times. Pressman featured products by the following exhibitors, nothing that in the display accent props and linens would soften the edges of some products.
- Baum-Essex: ceramic dinnerware; Brabantia USA: step-on trash bin, storage box; Chantal Corp.: porcelain enameled kettle; Companion Group: salt plate, salt chiller; Crazy Cap: insulated water bottle; DesignIdeas: woven mats, blown-glass side table, cork side table, woven rope tote; Full Circle: scrubber; Horwood Homewares: Smidge cup; Japi: pottery planters; Larch Wood Enterprises: cutting board; Lock&Lock: cookware set, insulated water bottle with carry strap; Now Designs: pastel ceramic pattern cup; Root7 Ltd.: salt candles; The Rope Co.: woven door mat; Smiles: bamboo powder plates; Umbra: ridged ceramic planters, vases; TAG: dish cloths.
Composed orchestrates a blended harmony of neutrals and pastels with cool greys or tones of darker blues. The balanced classics are timeless colors that bring us together. It’s a relaxed, comfortable palette that blurs genders with colors that appeal to males or females. The clean and simple contemporary styling is easy to live with as balance is the key message. Product selection conveys calm sophistication.
- Baum-Essex: dinnerware; BIA Cordon Bleu: bowl; Capital Technology/SALAV USA: Capsule Travel Garment Steamer; Companion Group: bakeware; Design Ideas: wrought iron candle holder, pebble table runner; Frieling USA: slate serving board; Japi: ceramic planters; Lasko Products LLC: oscillating fan; Le Creuset: Dutch Oven; Lock&Lock: cookware; Lodge Mfg. Co.: cast iron skillet; Now Designs: cup and teapot; Method Sourcing Corp: Bamboozle bowls; Moccamaster: coffee brewer; MUkitchen: dish towels; Picnic Time Family of Brands: folding chair with side table and pockets; Takeya USA: water bottle; TheCookware Company: cookware and utensil set; Swissmar: pepper grinder; TAG: citrus reamer, carafe and cup, table serveware; Umbra: vases; Via Deco: dinnerware.
Vivify represents a completely different side of the palette: positivity and cheerfulness in a fresh new modernity. Since color influences how you feel, Vivify stimulates happiness and puts a smile on your face. It conveys a youthful, upbeat spirit in sunny colors with contrasts of black and white. As a company chooses what’s right for its product line, these colors and textures stand out from the others. The palettes aim to inspire transformation, and this one calls for originality and invites suppliers and retailers to try a new direction in product or merchandising. Products selected featured interpretations of the bold colors and cheerful moods.
- Advantus Corp.: zipper pouch for small items; Artland: glass beverageware; Beachware: drinkware on sand spike; California Innovations: Titan ice chest; Casabella-Bradshaw Home: clear plastic handled scrubber brushes; Chantal Corp.: kettle, ceramic French Press coffee brewer; Companion Group: candle lantern; Cuisinart: chopper; Design Ideas: glass bowl; Frieling USA: insulated carafe; Holstein Housewares: cupcake baker; Japi: ceramic planters; JURA: espresso machine; Karcher: garment steamer; MUkitchen: dish towels, scrubber; Rolser: shopping cart; Storebound: blender; Swizz Style: Stadler Form humidifier and aroma diffuser; Tacony: vacuum cleaner; Tovolo: ice cream tub; Vitrinor: skillet; Umbra: planters on pole.
Fleur recalls old world glamour and explores past luxuries. A more formal palette, or in an outdated term, “upstairs” styling, Fleur looks to new romance, passion and intimacy. It combines lush reds, deep rose tones, a touch of gold and accents in dark polished forest greens. Even though today consumers are living in more leisurely clothes, this palette looks ahead to a time when they will dress up again for elegant events. Products in rich deep colors illustrated this elegant atmosphere.
- Artland: glass beverageware in several colors, gold trimmed stemware and tumblers; Better Housewares Corp.: gold long handled kitchen tools; Brabantia USA: waste bin; Casabella-Bradshaw Home: rubber gloves, golden scrubber; Companion Group: gold perforated trays; Cuisinart: ice cream maker; Escali: food scale; Epoca International: cookware, Primula thermal beverageware; Faneema Cutlery: dark green, resin-handled Damascus blade knife set; Fizzing Cool: insulated drinkware; Le Creuset: deep green Dutch Oven, covered saucepan; TAG: ceramic planter, pillow, glass candle holder, glass pitcher; Tovolo: knife.
Synergy is immersed in nature—peaceful, quiet and harmonious. Its nurturing, healing heartbeat includes soft colors in moderation from yellow greens to blue greens. Synergy expresses collaboration and a minimalist inspiration, yet can allow some drama, as nature does. Think spa colors and an atmosphere that inspires you to take a deep breath and calm down. Products in muted colors by the following exhibitors conveyed these inspirations from nature.
- Artovida: food wraps; Artland: glass pitcher; Baum-Essex: dinnerware; Chantal Corp.: kettle; Conimar: placemats; Cuisinart: chopper, 4-slice toaster, coffee brewer; Design Ideas: glass flower vase; EpocaInternational: cookware; GoWISE USA: air fryers; Le Creuset: dinnerware, Dutch Oven; Smiles: cutting board; The Cookware Company Limited: Green Pan cookware; TAG: glass pitcher and tumblers; Takeya: water bottle; Three By Three: tilted bowls; Vitrinor: enameled steel cookware; Widgeteer: serving bowl; Zojirushi America: water bottle.
Quixotic speaks of multi-cultural influences of art and fashion. A new sophistication based on adventurous tonal combinations, Quixotic appeals to intrigue and complexity with strong orange-toned reds with blues and black accents in jagged patterns and quirky splashes. Products in numerous categories portrayed these influences in color and pattern.
- And! Sales: straw basket tote; April Cornell: braided table runner; Artland: glass beverageware; Boston Warehouse: stacking mugs; Bradshaw Home-Cleaning: pan scrubbers; Chefman: immersion blender; Danica Imports: patterned fabric shopping bag; Design Ideas: desk organizers: letter box and pencil holder; Full Circle: dish cloths; Galanz Americas: toaster oven; Le Creuset: covered bakeware; Lodge Mfg. Co.: porcelain enameled bakeware; TAG: rug, ceramic soup mug, flower tea light holder; Typhoon Homewares: Mason Cash patterned ceramic bowl.
Polychrome is a complex palette with novel combinations of similar colors. It draws from global historic architecture with intricate patterning and details. This palette challenges merchandisers to be original and bold in contrasting colors to create the mood for consumers. Mix up the products to reveal the textures in wood, ceramic, glass, fabrics and plastics in shapes that can be sleek and curved or angular and jagged. Products in purple, pink, mustard yellows and rust browns are accented with soft blue tones.
- And! Sales: ceramic serving bowl; April Cornell: napkins, placemat; Artland: stemmed goblets; Baum–Essex: dinnerware; BIA Cordon Bleu: dinnerware; ChopValue: hexagon wall décor units; Design Ideas: plastic magazine holder, leather + wood chair and footstool, glass tumblers; Full Circle: dish cloths; GoWISE: body fat scale; Graziani: ball candles; John Boos & Co.: cutting boards; Lodge Mfg. Co.: porcelain enameled Dutch Oven; Root7 Ltd.: glass candle holder and lid; Smiles: cutting board; TAG: speckled glass tumbler, hobnail glass tumbers, crackled glaze ceramic planter; Talisman Designs: trivets.
Galaxy looks to the stars. Our fascination with orbiting in outer space, light and technology is expressed in metallic finishes and blends. Galactic inspiration appears in dramatic contrasts of light and dark—gold, silver, blues and purples as stars streak across the dark skies. Glistening products in shiny finishes and icy colors sparkled.
- Ankarsrum Kitchen AB: Assistent Original; Artland: deep blue martini glass, golden champagne flutes; Bradshaw Home – Bialetti: ceramic drip coffee maker; California Innovations: thermal lunch bag; Capresso: electric kettle; Chantal Corp.: cookware set; Cuisinart: 4-slice toaster, mixer, can opener; Faneema Cutlery: blue resin handle knife; GoWISE: body fat scale; Lasko Products LLC: heater; Lipper Intl. Inc.: stainless steel wavy basket tableware; Rolser: Shopping tote cart; Root7 Ltd.: insulated water bottle; Seki Kanetsugu: knives; Smiles: cutting board server; Swizz Style: Stadler Form fan; TAG: table runner; Tao Clean: orbital facial brush system; Tognana: stovetop espresso maker; Vidhi Exports: agate slice coasters and serving board; Umbra: origami ceramic elephant ring holder; Zojirushi America: insulated water bottle.
Color of the Year: Classic Blue is a foundational shade for the home furnishings market. It can work by itself or transform a space. This updated classic is easy to work with and can go in many directions—contemporary, country or traditional. A universally loved color, it is seasonless and projects confidence, connection and calm. When everything in life is moving so fast, we reach for stability, longevity and dependability. We need this color more than ever. Find shades that comfort us and that can provide the base we build upon. Look beyond the obvious gain a new perspective and engage with others. Classic Blue works on its own and enables colors throughout the spectrum. Classic Blue is a pervasive favorite for home products whose finishes and textures can fit for any room of the home. Products shown to illustrate Classic Blue included:
- Chefman: hand mixer; Escali: meat thermometer; Lasko: heater; Lodge Mfg. Co.: enameled Dutch Oven; Retail Resources Group: My Bevi water bottle w carry handle; Root7 Ltd.: water bottle; Swissmar: fondue sets; Talisman Designs: serving spoon; The Cookware Company: Green Pan cookware set; Tovolo: spatula.
Pressman said the colors used in each palette are from the Fashion, Home and Interiors 2021 Forecast and can be purchased from Pantone. When asked if Pantone ranks the trends, she said: “It all depends on your product line and what lends itself to a palette. For some products, the Folkoric palette and the rustic feeling might be less interesting than the finishes in Galaxy. For countertop appliances, you may want to apply a palette with glossy finishes and textures like Fleur, which could also work well in bathroom products or for a focal points item.
“After Covid 19 hit, we reviewed the palettes to reevaluate what was changing and what we felt comfortable with for trends that are likely to move forward,” Pressman explained. “We felt most challenged with Fleur, the more dressy, elegant palette, but some products lend themselves to that mood. Vivify’s bright and vibrant colors to the warm and meditative shades of Folkoric we think remain valid for the longer term.”
In addition to managing a global consortium of color and trend experts, Pressman presents on color and trend to design audiences worldwide and works directly with leading brands on their brand and product color selections. She is also involved in the development of Pantone’s color research and color trend forecasting products and sits on the Home Products Board at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Fashion Advisory Board at Savannah College of Art and Design. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about Pantone’s products and services and any special IHA pricing.
Innovation Theater and Smart Talks programs that were broadcast this spring are posted on the Show’s website at TheInspiredHomeShow.com/education and can be viewed at any time. A schedule of upcoming webinars is available on the Show website homepage at TheInspiredHomeShow.com. All webinars will be posted on the website after airing.
In addition to the educational sessions, photo galleries for the New Product Showcase, Trending Today Preview, Inventors’ Corner and Smart Home exhibitors and the IHA Global Innovation Awards for Product Design are posted on TheInspiredHomeShow.com. To learn about new products that were to be at the Show, visit the Show’s online directory, Housewares Connect 365 at Housewares.org/housewaresconnect365, and select “Featured New Products for Media & Buyers.”