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Decoration, Trends / 18 Feb 2020
Incorporating 2020’s Color of the Year into Workplace Design

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020 is a deeply saturated medium blue. This wildly popular color is a change in color choice from the past few years, and suggests an established, confident, and tranquil mood. Blues connect us to the sky and sea, and they have a reputation for promoting calm in office spaces. What is the best way to use Classic Blue in a workspace?

This blue is a medium hue, meaning it is darker than typical walls. An accent wall can be very successful in Classic Blue, though many spaces prefer a lighter neutral with Classic Blue accent pieces. Pairing this blue with cool neutrals will be the most popular choice.

Shades of dove gray and charcoal can provide a lighter and darker hue of complementary colors to Classic Blue. This combination suggests both subtle power and an established, confident workplace. Warm colors can also pair with the cool shades of Classic Blue, though the other primaries of red and yellow should be avoided. Secondary colors in a neutral or earthy range, such as olive green, ocher yellow, and terracotta can be successfully matched with Classic Blue.

Classic Blue can be a long-term choice, as complementary colors may change in popularity more frequently than this favorite. But with light neutrals on the walls, many designers are choosing Classic Blue for textiles and accent pieces. A common design study involves the degree of warmth versus coolness of the colors. Blues are cool colors, and shades of the other two primaries, yellows and reds, are usually thought to be warm. Both white and black, and their shades of gray, can lean toward cool or warm. A design principle is to determine if the overall color scheme will be cool or warm before picking complementary colors.

Biophilic design, or design that incorporates elements of the natural world, works well with Classic Blue. A palette of beach colors includes Classic Blue, Sand, Dove Gray, and touches of watery green. A palette of tropical colors can pair evergreen with Classic Blue, and bring in touches of coral and lemon yellow. In an office space with large windows, the colors of the view can also impact design decisions in a biophilic scheme.

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