Pantone 2011 Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 2, 2011; 2:38 PM

If you've grown tired of the grays, off-whites and earth tones that have dominated the design scene in recent years, you're in for a treat.

Honeysuckle, a bright and vibrant pink, has been named 2011 Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading authority on color.

"It's not quite as hot as a hot pink," says Leatrice Eiseman, color specialist and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It has slight coral-ly undertones, which gives it some warmth. It's what a lot of people find appealing."

Pantone provides color standards widely used in most design industries, and the Color Institute is its research group.

If you think of yellow when you hear the word honeysuckle, you're not alone. Wild Japanese honeysuckles are yellow and white, but preferred garden varieties have coral-pink hues.

Chicago-based designer Alessandra Branca, who created the Georgetown sitting room shown at right, says she's been using coral-pinks similar to honeysuckle for years.

"It's a great way to do a room that will survive the ages," she says. "It's chic, it has depth, it's not shocking. In high-gloss, it's fantastic; in lacquer, it's amazing. It has all the qualities you look for in a color that's not white."

Branca, whose current favorite coral-pinks are Benjamin Moore's Rhubarb and Sultan's Palace, says this shade of pink shines with dark gray, chocolate brown and Wedgwood blue; Eiseman says it also pairs well with taupe, off-white and green.

If you like the color but can't commit to pink walls, try a more subtle approach in your space: Add pink pillows, a lamp, a small table or a patterned area rug.

But if you're ready to go bold, start painting.

"It works in contemporary and traditional settings," says Branca. "It would look beautiful in a dining room with white trim and dark wood."

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