A living room with natural light coming through the window, white walls, and beige curtains. The room has a blue couch, glass top coffee table, vintage tan upholstered chair, an inset fireplace, and a wall mounted television with a media console.

Blue brings us a sense of peace, offers us refuge, aids concentration, and brings us clarity. It is a reflective tone that fosters resilience and gives us hope, qualities we look toward during this uneasy time in the world. Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue, chosen to reflect our desire for a stable future as we enter into a new decade. TIME calls the Color of the Year, “both constant and classic.” It is reminiscent of a serene sea and the sky at dusk.

A close-up of an in-home bar made with white marble countertops. There is a painting of a surfer on the water in the background and a metal hanging light above. The counter displasy a potted succulent and two cups with fish on them.
A close-up of an in-home bar made with white marble countertops. There is a painting of a surfer on the water in the background and a metal hanging light above. The counter displasy a potted succulent and two cups with fish on them.

Pantone provides a universal language of color that is used by more than ten million designers and producers around the world to define colors accurately across different platforms and industries. Their Color Institute is dedicated to researching purchasing trends across various industries to determine each year’s color. Pantone has been naming a Color of the Year since 2000 and has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in fashion, interior design, industrial design, graphic design, and advertising.

Classic Blue is akin to the very first Color of the Year, Cerulean. The hue represented the excitement of a new millennium, while also offering a sense of protection and serenity amidst the feared approach of Y2K. In 2020, we are experiencing a similar feeling of trepidation from the United States to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Syria, and across the globe.

A silver table displaying a blue vase holding greenery, and a small fish figurine.
A silver table displaying a blue vase holding greenery, and a small fish figurine.

The reigning Color of the Year offers reassurance, confidence, and connection for us in a time of uncertainty. “When we look at the world around us, we know that we’re living with a lot of unrest, where some days don’t feel quite as secure,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, in an interview with Architectural Digest. “Blue from an emotional, psychological standpoint, has always represented a certain amount of calm and dependability. It’s a color that you can rely on.”

A blue couch with one grey pillow and one blue and white patterned pillow is next to a wooden block side table displaying a small flower in a vase, and two stacked books. Behind the couch is a white staircase with wooden steps. There is a glass coffee table in the forground.
A blue couch with one grey pillow and one blue and white patterned pillow is next to a wooden block side table displaying a small flower in a vase, and two stacked books. Behind the couch is a white staircase with wooden steps. There is a glass coffee table in the forground.

Classic Blue is the color of deep ocean water or a handful of ripe blueberries. It is a part of the art market, the beauty industry, automotive manufacturing, tech, and space sciences. Its associations with dependability, trustworthiness, and constancy make it a great color to incorporate into your home.

Close up of a glass table with a potted plant sitting on top, with a light fixture featuring four light bulb structures and a reflective surface. Behind the light fixture is an abstract painting made with blues, tans and grays resembling the ocean.
Close up of a glass table with a potted plant sitting on top, with a light fixture featuring four light bulb structures and a reflective surface. Behind the light fixture is an abstract painting made with blues, tans and grays resembling the ocean.

My work as a LEED and WELL-accredited interior designer is deeply rooted in wellness and biophilia. Biophilia is our innate desire to be close to nature, and biophilic design aims to create healthy and comfortable interiors by meaningfully incorporating natural elements into our home and work environments. Integrating Classic Blue into our spaces builds on the principle of biophilic design because of its presence in nature.

Dark wooden table displaying a potted green plant and a turtle shell. There is a painting on the wall of a person wading through bright blue waves.
Dark wooden table displaying a potted green plant and a turtle shell. There is a painting on the wall of a person wading through bright blue waves.

Art, textiles, furniture, and accents are all great ways to introduce soothing Classic Blue to your home or office. A project I recently completed features oceanic shades of blue that act almost like neutrals. I took inspiration from the home’s beachy surroundings, bringing in a Classic Blue velvet sofa. I then repeated the color through vintage ceramic vases, books, and toss pillows.

A living room with a blue couch, glass coffee table, and beige rug. On the wall facing the couch, there is a wall mounted television with a wall mounted media console, a blue surfboard and a guitar. There is also a home bar visible in the background.
A living room with a blue couch, glass coffee table, and beige rug. On the wall facing the couch, there is a wall mounted television with a wall mounted media console, a blue surfboard and a guitar. There is also a home bar visible in the background.

When acting as a base layer, Classic Blue can be paired with a multitude of colors, including other shades of blue. For the client’s bedroom, I selected a handmade upholstered bed, Belgian linen bedding, wool drapery, and an abstract painting by Jonathan Elder, all wed by various blue tones. The buttery vintage leather chair and wooden bench at the foot of the bed complete the space, providing visual warmth and balance.

Bedroom with a dark blue upholstered bed frame with blue bedding, a wooden end table, and tan rug. There is a large, blue, abstract painting above the headboard. Next to the bed is a large window with blue curtains and a tan, leather arm chair.
Bedroom with a dark blue upholstered bed frame with blue bedding, a wooden end table, and tan rug. There is a large, blue, abstract painting above the headboard. Next to the bed is a large window with blue curtains and a tan, leather arm chair.

Consider adding serene, calming, earth-focused tones to your home in the new year. Whether you choose Classic Blue as an all-over hue or an accent, you can’t go wrong with a color that takes its cues from nature.

A wall mounted television hangs above a black and grey dresser displaying two video game controllers, white vases, and a potted flower. There is a tan, leather chair in the foreground.
A wall mounted television hangs above a black and grey dresser displaying two video game controllers, white vases, and a potted flower. There is a tan, leather chair in the foreground.

Sarah Barnard, WELL AP, and LEED AP specializes in creating calming restorative environments that support physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Her interior design practice centers around her client’s health and wellness while incorporating natural elements into every space she designs.

Sarah Barnard is a WELL and LEED accredited designer and creator of environments that support mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.