Tuesday, January 17

Nature's neutral: the color of the year

You may have already seen Pantone's choice of the color of the year for 2017. Although I'm not much on decorating trends, I was thrilled to see this color highlighted:

I've found that many people are a bit scared at the thought of using such a vibrant color in their decorating, though. For years we've been inundated with neutral colors such as white, grey, beige, tan, and taupe. Finding just the right neutral can seem like the Holy Grail of decorating.

A few years ago I became fascinated by something I noticed after I hosted a birthday party for my youngest son. I found these great napkins to use at his party:

The napkins were a perfect fit and match for a green napkin holder I owned. Here's the holder with no napkins in it. (It's not exactly the same color as Pantone's Greenery, of course. It's about the color of a Granny Smith apple.)

As I was putting the napkin holder away after the party, I noticed how well it would go with these striped napkins:

But then again, these soft flowered napkins looked good, too:

So then I started experimenting with the napkins in my drawer. (I have a thing for napkins--have you seen my napkin drawer?) Imagine how great these would be for a Cinco de Mayo party!

And these would be wonderfully refreshing for summertime, don't you think?

But my green napkin holder could go more fallish, too, like with this leaf print:

Or with these autumn fruits:

You could use this green napkin holder with more than just springy, summery, or fallish colors, though. Look how well it pairs with this cool paisley print:

Or with these feathers:

Or with these printed beauties that Melissa gave me:

Can you believe that every single one of these photos features the same green napkin holder?  Even though it's a bold, vibrant green color, it pairs well with all these different napkins.

I think it's fascinating that this bright green napkin holder--an item that doesn't seem at all "neutral"--functions just the way a good neutral should function. It mixes well with many different colors, allowing those colors to take center stage. Green may not be a "neutral" color, but it is a wonderful background color.

I think I know why this is true. What color do you see throughout the natural landscape? Green, green, and more green--all different shades and tints of greens, serving as a beautiful backdrop for the vibrant hues of flowers. The natural landscape includes an amazingly diverse palette of colors, and all of them pair beautifully with various shades of green.

And of course, the backdrop for all the colors of the earth is the beautiful blue of the sky. I don't have a blue napkin holder to demonstrate this, but the same principle is true for blue as for green.

Pantone called its 2017 Color of the Year "Nature's Neutral." I think they're spot on with that description. 

Isn't it amazing the lessons we can learn from the Master Designer?


  1. What a great illustration using some of your napkins! You're right, the green goes with everything! I never would have thought of green as a neutral!

  2. I love it! Greens and blues are my favorite colors, but I love how ALL of your napkins looked good with the green. I agree it IS nature's neutral.

  3. Green is my favorite color - all different shades! You certainly did a great job showing how green is so versatile!

  4. I have always said that green is my favorite neutral. I think it goes well with every color as you so beautifully demonstrated. I'm so glad to see some color! I'm getting a little tired of all of the white rooms I see everywhere😉

  5. That is amazing. I never would have guessed that color would coordinate so well!

  6. I'd never think as this as a neutral, but I love it!

  7. I sure enjoyed seeing this post. I believe people are afraid of color but you showed how green is a neutral. After all we look outside and see green with all the pretty colors of flowers and love it right?


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