Use Pantone Marsala for Accents

The Pantone color of the year is well-suited to bold accents.


Photo by Joseph De Leo Photography; interior design by Scott Sanders LLC


Congratulations to Marsala. No, not the wine, the color. It’s the Color of the Year for 2015.

Pantone, the venerable authority on color and color-matching systems, bestows honors on a single hue each year. Past recipients include Aqua Sky (2002), Tigerlily (2008), and Mimosa (2009). 2014’s winner was Radiant Orchid, an especially cheery purple.Marsala, with its earthy red undertones, leans a bit more serious. In explaining the choice, Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said, “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal.”Richness, stability, confidence: all laudable qualities, and ones welcome in any home. So how you do incorporate this color into your decor? The answer: judiciously. Just as you wouldn’t want to indulge in too much wine, you want to be careful not to go overboard with this color.It works fantastically well as an accent, though. Try it on your walls in a smaller room, like an entryway, for a look that’s cozy and bold. It makes for an exciting upholstery choice, too, on either a sofa or chair. And it’s great in even smaller doses too, like a throw pillow or lamp.

Wherever you use Marsala—or burgundy, oxblood, or any of its close cousins—you’ll bring a note of sophistication and warmth. It’s traditional, yes, but hardly boring, especially when paired with lighter colors or modern shapes. So raise your glass to Marsala! Just watch how much you pour.

The key to using Marsala, Pantone's color of the year, is to apply it sparingly as an accent or highlight.