Radiant Orchid: How to Rock Pantone’s (Questionable) Color of the Year

Color authority Pantone typically nails it when it comes to choosing its Color of the Year. Turquoise, honeysuckle, tangerine tango, and emerald are just a few recent hits. So I was pretty excited to hear what the 2014 choice would be…until I actually saw it, that is. Radiant Orchid? Laying my eyes upon it, I let out an audible uuuuggggh.

According to Pantone, after scouring the world, they’ve determined that this middle-of-the-road, not-quite-deep-enough-to-be-sophisticated yet not-quite-soft-enough-to-be-calming hue is the color that is trending most across art, fashion, and culture — and will continue be — for the duration of 2014.

Don’t get me wrong, I like purple. I mean, I’m no Marie Schrader, but I’ll take a nice dark aubergine any day. Radiant Orchid, on the other hand, is a color best used in limited doses. The proof is on Pantone’s own web site, where stylists show off its “appeal” with neatly arranged, random objects (hot dog, baguette, camera, toy plane, tennis balls, etc.) all turned Radiant Orchid. The somewhat nauseating result certainly isn’t an inspiration to use this color in excess.

However, it is possible to add it to your world in a chic and beautiful way. First, pair it only with white, ivory, gold, or navy. Second, use it as an accent, not a main focus. For inspiration on how to rock this purple hue at acceptable levels, check out the product mashups above and below. They’re all lovely items, I have to admit, but the live orchid is the obvious choice for the color as nature intended. Add that to your list of go-to gifts for 2014, year of the Radiant Orchid!

Sarah O'Neill Fernandez is a blogger, designer, and owner of Chateau and Bungalow, a home design blog and bricks-and-mortar retail boutique located in Newport, R.I. She lives in Middletown, R.I. with her family and a pretty awesome new kitchen.

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