Pantone crowns Radiant Orchid its color of the year

schandler@newsobserver.comDecember 20, 2013 

With last year’s glowing emerald and 2012’s vibrant tangerine, color trend tracker Pantone has made some bold moves in ordaining its colors of the year lately.

Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s pick for 2014, is no less bright, but it’s a little more sedate than showy, meaning almost everyone can find a way to bring it into his or her home.

“Radiant Orchid is very feminine but with an edge,” says Raleigh interior designer Susan Tollefsen. “Not girly or prissy, maybe just bold and to the point, even a little aggressive but with a soft edge – kind of like some Southern women you may know.”

We asked a few such Southern women – interior designers and color experts from The N&O’s Design Team – for their expertise in how to make Radiant Orchid bloom in your home.

A compelling accent

Stephanie Finucane, The Right Hue, Cary

919-342-7196 or

“If Radiant Orchid could talk, it might say: ‘I’m confident, commanding, beguiling and somewhat of a rebel, but I am not loud. Look closer. I have a soft side, too.’”

Finucane’s tips:

• Brighten up a neutral color palette with an edgy, modern touch of Radiant Orchid. Just a touch really makes a statement. Choose flowers, pillows, a piece of furniture or framed art. Work in threes!

• Radiant Orchid’s purple and fuchsia hues complement a cream, navy and gray color palette. Again, use just a splattering of color throughout the room.

• Consider Radiant Orchid for a girl’s bedroom, especially if most of her furniture is white or cream. My 12-year-old loves her monochromatic purple color scheme in her room. I mixed it up with Chelsea Gray (HC-168) and Apple Green (2026-40) from Benjamin Moore.

• Radiant Orchid also pairs well with olive greens, creams and turquoise. I love what Beggars and Choosers, a vintage shop in Pittsboro, created in front of their store. It’s a great example of Radiant Orchid, shades of pinks and purples and turquoise complementing each other beautifully.

Try it on a ceiling

Susan Tollefsen, Susan Tollefsen Interiors, Raleigh

919-272-7881 or

“It really is a flattering color for most skin types. It casts a pretty blush glow.”

Tollefson’s tips:

• The color makes your skin rosy and youthful – perfect in a powder room or bath.

• I love it as an accent. I recently worked on a kitchen/family room combo. We used a wallpaper in orchid with a bold geometric starburst pattern on the ceiling. It looks so rich and interesting.

• This color is only for the fashion forward, for trend-setting, statement-making personalities.

• It’s a great ceiling or accent wall color, but also wonderful on pillows, throws, an ottoman – really on anything that you can easily replace or change.

Use it in a restful spot

Amy Jeffries, Minta Bell Design Group, Durham

919-933-9800 or

“Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, is the perfect antidote to a wet, dark and dreary winter.”

Jeffries’ tips:

• To use Radiant Orchid in a contemporary way, mix it with unexpected colors, like olive green, gold or red.

• For a more traditional and feminine look, pair it with cream or white, perhaps with a Radiant Orchid wall above cream paneling.

• Radiant Orchid is a very versatile color to use as an accent with many different neutrals, including gray, brown, khaki and beige. These softer neutrals will calm down the color, while black will punch up Radiant Orchid even more.

• The pink and lavender undertones in Radiant Orchid make it a very calming color without being boring. Think about using it in a place for resting, such as a bedroom or sun porch.

Add a feminine touch

Bobbie Cox, Dragonfly Designs, Charlotte

704-560-1600 or

“Radiant Orchid is a lively color that is joyously fresh and will ‘wake up’ any room in a home.”

Cox’s tips:

• Radiant Orchid can be a daring color to use: it can add a touch of the feminine to a masculine room, perhaps in a small grouping of accessories on a shelf in a den.

• Radiant Orchid can also be paired with great jewel tones such as deep plum, peacock blue and goldenrod to create a focal point for a console table at your home’s entryway or as a grouping on your dining table.

• You can add Radiant Orchid to virtually any space in your home. I love to incorporate surprises in small spaces such as a powder room, reading nook, laundry room or guest space.

• You can commit completely by upholstering an ottoman or a side chair and build your entire palette around it or introduce it in subtle ways such as in the pleat of a pillow on a large Chesterfield leather tufted sofa or with the addition of a throw on a bed.

Chandler: 919-829-4830

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