Color expert Lee Eiseman explains inspiration for latest Pantone palettes

Color and design trends in home and housewares are taking on the realms of art and science. At least that’s how color expert Leatrice “Lee” Eiseman describes it.

Speaking at The Inspired Home Show in Chicago last week, Eiseman discussed the different inspirations that went into creating the seven Pantone View Home + Interiors 2024 palettes.

“Being alive is an apt metaphor in a time when we are still, and we really are, emerging from the anxiety that has engulfed us in the last few years,” said Eiseman. “We can’t ignore that. We know that no matter where we are in this ongoing process, it’s left an indelible and emotional mark on our lives that seeks relief, renewed optimism and rejuvenation.”

In art, Eiseman said she’s noticed the resurgence of surrealism and portraying “dreams as an escape from reality.” The surrealism style is often known for unique color combinations. Not to be overlooked, though, is the continued nature-based designs that “bring new life to anything that is abused, under-used or otherwise neglected.”

On the science side, water is front and center as an emerging theme, said Eiseman. Blue palettes are often associated with balance, clarity and health, but they also coordinate with the ever-popular ocean feel. There’s also the continued popularity of pearlized finishes and metallics, which evoke the motion of water.

Eiseman outlined each palette individually, speaking to different ways consumers can move forward in the post-pandemic world:

  • Sustenance – This palette reflects “the rituals of entertaining and dining that never goes out of style,” said Eiseman. It evokes feelings of creative cooking, love and laughter, and the joy of sharing. It involves greens, blue-greens, a yellow-green, some deeper tones and a suggestion of pink.
  • Replenish – Eiseman called this “a water-born palette,” which involves many shades of blue but also incorporates apricot and pink to add “a touch of newness.” Evoking thoughts of self-care, hydration and calming bath rituals, it’s all about life balance and rejuvenation.
  • Creative Mixology – Every color family is represented here – even earth tones – in this palette that Eiseman called “great fun.” This palette is all about individuality and experimentation, allowing for free-spirited aesthetics and the mixing of old and new.
  • Sanctuary – For those who want softness and steadiness, Sanctuary offers relaxation and harmony with several pastels, mid-tones and a deeper, chocolate-like brown. It inspires a simple environment, where smart technology solutions are hidden underneath the surface.
  • Stylist – Inspired by fashion crossovers, this combination features many blues and blue-greens, but also incorporates metallics, which add a sheen and “the feeling of undulating water.” This palette feels both traditional and contemporary and has universal appeal.
  • Surrealism – Consumers looking to escape from the everyday with unexpected and unusual color combinations will likely appreciate this one. Described as “illogical, quirky and witty,” Surrealism evokes feelings of an uninhibited dream state.
  • Scenic – Inspired by the prismatic hues in nature’s light spectrum, this palette is dynamic and visually arresting (think flashes of lightning, bold sunsets, reflections of bright colors on clouds). Pinks and purples combine with oranges and orange-pinks, as well as some earthy tones for a “quite beautiful” effect, Eiseman said.

The same art and science influences went in to choosing Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year – Viva Magenta – in which Eiseman describes as a nuanced crimson that balances warm and cool colors. It reflects the influence of digital art, she said, along with the powerful cochineal beetle – the beetle who produces the strongest and brightest carmine dye in the natural dye family.

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