color comeback

Pantone's Color of the Year Is Viva Magenta, Baby!

Is it finally time to ditch the greige trend that's dominated interiors recently? Three local interior designers weigh in.

By Kim Doleatto January 10, 2023

A magenta with gray too.

For those stuck on gray, magenta can be a match.

Somewhere between stop-sign red and "va-va-voom," you’ll find Pantone’s color of 2023, Viva Magenta. But will this pinkish-purplish-crimson hue be the Narcan that finally pulls interior design from the depths of the greige coma?

According to the color vicars at the Pantone Color Institute, who every year bless a new "it" color, Viva Magenta is "an animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint. Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same verve for life and rebellious spirit.”

Sounds like a wake-up call to us.

Magenta color samples in hand.

Magenta color scale.

Sure, it’s a color that you may not roll out on the walls before putting your house on the market, but that’s the point. "It’s bold, rich and personal," says Tracee Murphy of Trade Mark Interiors.

“After a rough couple of years with the pandemic and inflation, people want to break out of the mold," she says, "and this joyful color can do that."

If it resonates with you, ease into this crushed raspberry color in small doses, suggests Brittany Cocozza of Trinity Design. She points to throw pillows, vases, drapery and artwork as fast and easy ways to bring the color home.

“Maybe add some accent chairs, and if you want to go really bold, a new sofa,” she says. “But I wouldn't suggest that unless you're in the habit of replacing large pieces of furniture.”

Throw pillows are a fast, easy way to bring magenta home.

Keffie Lancaster, of Lancaster Interior Design (who happens to have a magenta bedroom), sees the color bringing tabletops to life. Think chargers, dessert plates and napkins popping against crisp, white servingware. "It would be welcoming on a front door too," she says— like the magenta in the bougainvillea blossoms that spill over trellises and walls throughout Sarasota. She also suggests pairing the vivid color with white flowers and greenery in the home for an energized, romantic look.

Pink bougainvillea on a trellis

Bougainvillea 

If you really want to put a ring on it with Pantone's 2023 color, however, Murphy sees it on the walls. 

"A great tip is to paint the ceiling and trim the same color too. Whether it's neutral or magenta, it's an enveloped feeling," she says. "Viva Magenta is a stimulating color, so I see it in a foyer, powder room or other transient or small spaces. If you're really brave, do the whole room. If you're bold, do one wall."

What Colors Complement Magenta? 

"Match it with gold tones and blue with a hint of teal in it," Cocozza says.

Lancaster agrees on the teal, and adds that "it goes well with lavenders and pinks."

And yes, for those stuck on gray, beige and white, Viva Magenta matches with those, too. Black and brown also work.

But how meaningful are Pantone's color blessings in the real world?

Its selection process takes into consideration fashion, cultural and socio-economic events, marketing, tech, social media and politics to forecast color trends that represent the times and capture a corresponding feeling.

In 2022, Pantone invented Very Peri, a light purple representing "courage and creativity." Before that, 2021's pick was a dual-color concept with Illuminating (a yellow hue), and Ultimate Gray.

Cocozza says Pantone's colors don't necessarily trickle down quickly and most clients still like to keep their homes minimal, with grays continuing to dominate walls and furniture. "It takes a couple of years for bold things to get into home design," she explains. People are afraid to go bold—but "we're getting there," she says. Just last year, a design conference she attended in Milan revealed bold colors in faucets, tubs and toilets.

Fun Facts About Magenta

Magenta sits right in the middle of blue and red in terms of color family—but it isn't purple.

Magenta is part of the set of modern primary colors used for printing: cyan, yellow, magenta and black, known as CYMK. These four colors are used to create all other colors on the color spectrum. 

Magenta comes from the cochineal beetle, which produces carmine dye, one of the brightest of the natural dye family.

Some skeptics say magenta doesn't technically exist, since there's no wavelength of light that corresponds to that color. Yet here it is. 

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