Pantone’s Color of the Year: Living Coral

by Kelsey Betancourt

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

Coral reefs are disappearing from our oceans at a startling rate. It is extremely important to the ocean’s ecosystems, and as much as a quarter of all ocean species depend upon it for food and shelter. Precious marine lifeforms are also the inspiration for Pantone’s 2019 color of the year: Living Coral.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Sarah Barnard, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and WELL AP and LEED AP, specializes in interior design that contributes to her client’s health and wellness, and strives to make nature a part of each home she creates. “A happy and uplifting color reminiscent of the ocean is the perfect starting point for a happy, healthy home.”

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

This color was named after the beautiful coral marine invertebrates that build large coral reefs, habitats for a huge diversity of life in the ocean. Sometimes referred to as the “rainforests of the sea”, coral reefs are quickly dying, and are projected to reduced to 10% by 2050. Half of the world’s coral has died since 2016, due to rising sea temperatures, pollution, destructive fishing, invasive species, and changing sea chemistry.

"The timely selection of this color by Pantone should be a pressing reminder to all of us that beautiful interiors are inspired by nature. If we aren’t careful to preserve the natural world, we will have nothing left to take inspiration from," said Barnard.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Pantone, the company responsible for color matching paints and graphics and most widely known for their color swatch books, devotes the time and resources of Pantone Color Institute to research the purchasing trends of various industries, as well as regularly pulling inspiration from the natural world, such as rose quartz or “millennial pink” in 2016, to determine each year’s color of the year. Pantone’s color of the year for 2018 was ultraviolet, a beautiful, energizing shade of purple reminiscent of bright flowers and the sky at sunset. This year’s choice is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, a potent reminder to preserve and protect ocean life.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral is vibrant, cheerful, delicate and energizing, and the perfect shade to start off the New Year. Living coral, described by the Pantone team as “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”.

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

Pantone published, “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. [...] Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

While top interior designers don’t necessarily recommend painting one’s home to match the color of the year, art, accents, and of course plants are an easy and safe way to introduce vibrancy to your living or work space.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

For those interested in using Living Color in their home, Sarah Barnard said,  "Living Coral is a perfect complement to blue shades, and pairs well with coastal or beach-y interiors. For the daring, reupholstering a treasured piece in a bright color like Living Coral can revitalize a space. For those who prefer to mix pops of color with neutrals, I recommend starting with small accents."

Pantone's Color of the Year is an excellent opportunity to add lively, earth focused tones to you home. Make having a happy and healthy home your New Year's resolution.

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy"s board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design, health and wellness and historic preservation.

Photos by Abby Sin, Chas Metivier, and Charlie Daniels