It just so happened that the same day Barry Dixon came to Boston to give a talk on color was the same day that Pantone announced Marsala was its pick for color of the year.

Boy, did the reddish brown color choice cause controversy! Social media just about blew up after the announcement and comments were about five to one against the color. Interior designers were especially harsh voicing comments like “the 80’s called and wants their color back” and “Pantone is way off the mark on this one”. I personally was simply surprised by the choice as this was not a color that was on my radar. Oxblood Red yes, but Marsala is much more muted than oxblood and is more purple.

Now that I’ve had a few days to adjust to Marsala, I don’t love it or hate it. It’s really all about context and what colors are being paired with it. It would look quite nice as an accent color with dark greens, blues, or gold.  Is this a color that I will be suggesting my clients paint their walls? highly doubtful, but then again, I never suggested last years color Radiant Orchid either.

The thing to remember is that the Pantone color of the year is all about marketing and I would say they hit a home run in that respect. It got everyone talking and even made the national news that evening.

Now, back to Barry Dixon. The talk was so timely because his idea on color is just the opposite of Pantone. Whereas Pantone is all about what’s hot right now, Dixon is all about timeless, classic beauty. He opened his talk with a beautiful image of a room the we all assumed was completed recently. He surprised us all by saying the room was done fifteen years ago.  So what is his secret for choosing a timeless interior color palette? He looks out the window.

Barry Dixon

Barry Dixon

Pretty simple right? If you bring the natural surrounding colors into your home it will never be out of style. According to Dixon, “steal color from the outside elements-the sea, the sky, evening blues, lavenders, purples and grays”.

With his new paint line for C2 paint, Dixon did exactly that. He studied the surrounding colors on his farm in Virginia. He looked not only at the obvious like the grassy fields and surrounding trees and flowers but at hay bails, fence posts and the winter sky just before a snow fall. He “stole” the color of the eggs his hens lay and the early morning fog rolling across his lawn. He looked at the many colors of the sunset and sunrise and even the fur on his dog.

Barry Dixon

Barry Dixon

So here are my two take-aways from both the color of the year and Barry Dixon.

#1. Color preference is really personal and if you are not a fan of Marsala we have a saying, “if you don’t like the weather in New England just wait a few minutes” Mark Twain….. if you don’t like Marsala just wait twelve months.

#2. Nature never gets it wrong…if you bring the surrounding outside colors into your home it will always feel fresh.

SOOOOO what side of the fence are you on? trending or timeless?


Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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