Colour, Decorating, Trends
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How to live with Living Coral – Pantone’s choice for 2019

Pantone Living Coral

Living Coral!? Well that was a nice turn up for the books wasn’t it? After the disastrous announcement of Ultra Violet for 2018, (so bad I didn’t even write about it) and Greenery back in 2017 (which I did write about, mainly because it meant I could add a picture of Kermit to my blog), Pantone have finally relented and given us something we can get our teeth in to for 2019.

It’s a real pop. And not one for the faint of heart. But actually, Coral is one of the easiest colours to add into your interiors. Don’t believe me? Well, come and see how some of my brilliant colleagues from the Interior Design Collective have worked their magic with Pantone’s chosen hue for 2019.


Given the UK’s love of blue, partly because of the ease it fits our UK rooms (we have very blue, light here), coral is the perfect accent colour with blue as they sit opposite one another on the colour wheel, otherwise known as complementary colours.

Now, you don’t need much of it, a glimpse in some artwork, a cushion or two, or a throw. Basically, just enough to add a bit of fun. Without these coral accents, this autumnal blue room might have felt a little too cool, but with the clever use of this warm and tropical colour dotted about this room it adds an edge and showcases this smokey, grey blue perfectly. I especially love the tiniest hints of Coral detailing in this armchair below. That fabric is just amazing!

Design – Kate Lovejoy Interiors


Emma Gurner of Folds Inside, has used a very similar blue to the room above, but this time the hit of coral is not only in artwork and accessories.

See that vase on the left, if that wasn’t there, the colour balance on this shot would be all out of wonk. In fact I will be writing a post soon about the art of styling… Anyway moving on, the pinky coral accents are anchored with that rusty, terracotta sofa. So not only has Emma used complementary colours here, she’s used analogous colours too. These are the shades and varying tones that sit side by side on a colour wheel, instead of directly opposite. Another example of the same use of colour can be seen below:

Emma Gurner – Folds Inside

Notice the use of blue again. There’s a definite sense of harmony between these two colours don’t you think?


Ruth of Studio Milne shows us how the tiniest hint of coral painted inside this traditional, dark wooden panelling, a tangerine wall light and coral accent cushion lifts this classic bedroom to a whole other level.

Ruth Milne – Studio Milne

I absolutely love that coral painted edge on the panelling, genius! I will be stealing that idea for sure, sorry Ruth! Although I did do something similar in the Upper Brook Street Project, where again coral accents and detailing in both the bedroom and ensuite featured distinctively…

Oh and what do we have here? Coral and petrol blue? We flipping do have coral and petrol blue. I commissioned artist Andy Welland to print one of his existing designs in a bespoke colour way in order to tie in the black and coral bedroom with the blue and grey bathroom. And it worked wonderfully. Well I think so anyway…

Chanel No 5 – Andy Welland


Coral can also work with neutrals beautifully as demonstrated in this last project by Brooke Copp-Barton. A traditionally styled master bedroom in soft off whites.

It’s not always about the pop, this bedroom is a brilliant example of how you can still stay classic and refined with coral.

Brooke Copp-Barton

See how the curtains and the artwork on the left balance out the coral chimney breast? A seemingly simple way of adding colour to just your chimney breast without it looking too dominant or overwhelming.


Adding coral, or any colour to your interiors is a real skill. It’s about getting the balance right, making sure your eye doesn’t feel distracted by it, that there’s a connection between every part that makes up your scheme. Hopefully these examples will have provided some inspiration and insight into how to add colour to your own rooms at home. And if you are wanting to have a play with Pantone’s Living Coral on your walls for example, then these are the closest paint colours I could find online that are available to buy right now:

Coral Flair – Dulux

Earthborn – Fruit Salad

So what do you think of Living Coral? Could you live with it?


  1. Elaine Mason says

    Three years ago, we lived in a basement flat in Edinburgh (some New Town flats are double depth basements, ours was single depth), so the front of the flat was dark while the back was well-lit. Long hallway ran front to back. All the rooms were pale, but I painted the hallway Dulux Coral Flair. It looked great – deep, rich and warm, and because it was the hall, you caught glimpses of this gorgeous colour from all the rooms, but you didn’t ever have to live with it all around you for long. Loved it. Great colour!

  2. Mairi says

    Love coral; we have the Orla Kiely Lusk sofa and while it looks very orange online, in real life it’s got a lovely corally tone. For me, the ‘coral’ in the neutral bedroom above is going a bit salmon pink. I think it needs something stronger and darker or bluer to pop it and give it depth as per the other examples. Thanks for another great post.

  3. […] green paint, for inspiration. There is also Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2019, which is Living Coral. Add to that Farrow & Ball’s new colours for 2019 including De Nimes and Sulking […]

  4. Lenaura Davidson says

    Greta ideas!
    I love the Chanel No 5 art work. Did Andy print more using those colours? The No 5 design on his website looks as though it’s a different colour.

    • Karen Knox says

      Yeah this was a bespoke colour way just for this project, if you drop Andy an email he should be able to print one for you too!

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