Interior designer Kelly DuByne shows off Pantone’s Color of the Year, classic blue, with a setting featuring an antique Victrola cabinet painted with the color and staged with neutral colors and strong white accents. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Interior designer Kelly DuByne shows off Pantone’s Color of the Year, classic blue, with a setting featuring an antique Victrola cabinet painted with the color and staged with neutral colors and strong white accents. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

This year’s Color of the Year is a timeless hue — classic blue

A Lake Stevens interior designer calls it a “grounded” tone, easily worked into existing color palettes.

Each year there’s a buzz of anticipation about the Color of the Year, which can influence the hues used in home decor and fashion.

Last year, the Pantone Color Institute, which announces its annual selection with fanfare, went bold with the splashy, bright “living coral.”

The decision was praised by some and ridiculed by others. Slate magazine called it a “hilarious misfire.”

This year, Pantone chose “classic blue,” calling it “a timeless and enduring blue hue, elegant in its simplicity.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that some rushed to critique this choice, too. Fast Company slammed the decision in two words: “a travesty.”

But that sentiment wasn’t universal.

“This is the first color in a long time that’s more of a color for everyone,” said Kimberly McIlrath, owner of Faded Elegance in Snohomish. “It’s kind of exciting. Something we can actually use.”

Last year’s coral was a great accent color for fashion, but not for wide practical use. “I didn’t really have it in the store,” she said.

This year’s classic blue is a shade between blueberry and cobalt blue that can be a great on the walls, in curtains and upholstery, McIlrath said.

“I think we’ll see a lot of it,” she said. “I know I’ve ordered quite a bit, and I had plenty in the store.”

That basic hue can be interpreted, meaning variations in its shade can be used as well, McIlrath said. “You don’t have to match that color,” she said. “Layers of blue are more usable, too.”

Kelly DuByne, owner of Distinctive Interior Designs in Lake Stevens, called classic blue “a grounded color — something that can be easily worked into existing color palettes.”

It can either be used boldly as an accent color that stands out or simply blending in with everyday decor.

“I can see it being used in the entryway, in living room pops of color, the dining room or even a bedroom,” she said.

It easily can be paired with off-white, cream and gray. “If you’re super bold, you could do the complementary color and pair it with orange,” she said. “Complementary colors are pleasing to the eye.”

Although Pantone’s annual color selection may be the most highly anticipated, it’s not the only business that announces an annual color choice.

Benjamin Moore chose “first light,” a rosy pink, while Sherwin-Williams chose “naval,” a darker blue hue than Pantone’s.

DuByne collaborated with McIlrath to illustrate color mixing and matching with items in the Snohomish store.

McIlrath painted a Victrola antique cabinet from the 1800s in classic blue and added updated handles for a more modern look.

She surrounded it with an upholstered chair in accent blue, woven rugs in different shades of blues and whites, and added ironstone china from France on the cabinet’s ledge.

McIlrath said classic blue fits well with Northwest decor. “We’re surrounded by water,” she said. “We always want something blue.”

If you’re inspired by “classic blue,” before you go out shopping, make sure you think of ways the color fits your style, DuByne said.

“I think our homes should reflect our personalities,” she said. “When I walk into a home, I want to know about the person who lives there. Mixing and matching furnishings and time periods make it personal.”

Her advice for homeowners about color is: be bold.

“I would encourage people, let’s try this bold color and get out of our comfort zone,” she said. “It’s only paint or decor. It’s not a lifetime commitment to color.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

More in Life

Her arts legacy includes Sorticulture, Music at the Marina

Wendy Poischbeg is among those honored for their contributions to Everett’s art scene.

The 16 cookbooks of 2019 we’re facing off March Madness-style

After 10 years, Food52’s Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks as we know it is no more. So we’re doing our own thing.

The hot toddy — it won’t cure you, but you’ll feel better

Some call it the chicken soup of the cocktail bar because it offers relief from the common cold.

Record numbers seeking roles in Island Shakespeare Festival

More than 200 actors are vying for 20 positions in three plays at the 11th annual Langley fest.

Soft plastic recycling service expands to Snohomish County

A Seattle-based company that recycles plastic film, batteries and lightbulbs now offers its services here.

Watch big birds hit the potato jackpot in Skagit Valley fields

Farmers’ loss is trumpeter swans’ and snow geese’s gain, as the migratory birds feast on spuds left in the ground.

The Roller Barn has been an important part of Oak Harbor for generations.
Can the 107-year-old Roller Barn on Whidbey Island be saved?

A Whidbey Island businessman wants to raise $80,000 by March 31 to buy Oak Harbor’s iconic building.

Rick Steves chooses leisurely Lucca for a true Italian experience

A leisurely evening stroll along the ancient town’s walls is one of the best travel experiences.

Dr. Paul on 5 ways to ensure your marriage blooms and grows

Showing up for our loved ones in the ways that are important is the secret for a loving union.

Most Read