Oh, Pantone. I know your heart is in the right place. I really do. I know you have a whole team of amazing experts who sit around a room and think long and hard about what colour best represents the zeitgeist of the world at that moment and do your best to interpret that into a single colour. I’m not saying that your job isn’t hard. I’m not saying that your expectation is that the world will agree with you. But here in the interior design community and for the bloggers who write their work based on your predictions, I’d like to take this opportunity to speak for the many and say that you’ve got it wrong.

Now, I realise this is a ballsy statement. I realise I probably don’t have all the facts. That I haven’t spent my life examining every nuance of every nation and I haven’t even spent my entire life tracking trends and feelings and shifts in the market. I know I am not qualified to bring down such an illustrious group or company. But but but.


This colour you chose. It’s the colour of Cadbury’s. It’s not what I think of when I want to consider a new room scheme. It’s not what I want to see filling up my inbox with PRs trying to hawk their client’s goods to me by way of the 100s of press releases that will take over for the next 12 months. I’m sorry that I don’t like it. I’m sorry. IT’S F**KING PURPLE THOUGH.

Okay, so I’m not going to continue this post as though I’m speaking directly to Pantone. I’m gonna talk to you guys because well, you guys are the ones who read my blog and they aren’t. (Shame, perhaps they’d like to take a look at my 2018 Trend Predictions?) However, I’m here to share with you my alternative to Ultraviolet, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2018 which is basically the same colour as a large children’s television dinosaur. The alternative, my lovely friends, is lilac.

Bloomingville lilac and gold room

Bloomingville via Only Deco Love

Now, I realise my choice may be a bit hard to swallow. Maybe not as hard as CADBURY’S PURPLE but ya know. It’s not a colour you may have seen used much since, oh, 1983. And I get that it’s hard to look at stuff coming back into fashion when you may be old enough to remember it the first time around. But you need to let that go. You need to remember that trends are cyclical.

Lilac and gold bathroom

Designer Tara Fingold via This is Glamorous, originally published in Style at Home

Hey, I do get it. I mean, I love burgundy these days with lots of greenery. My living room is covered in it. But do you know that in one of my very first flats, waaaay back in the year 1996, the entire thing was decorated in burgundy and hunter green? Oh yes, yes it was. And ya know what? My living room now and my living room then is absolutely NOTHING alike, not least for the reason that I don’t have a floral wallpaper border winding around the whole room.

So, yes, while trends are normally cyclical, they do emerge in whole new ways. They are combined with different colours, different materials, they will look totally different according to what you place with it. So that 1996 floral wallpaper border in burgundy and hunter green is totally reinterpreted in a bold and delicious tropical style wallpaper in my living room instead. It’s much more contemporary, it’s much more current. It no longer screams 1996. Thank goodness for that.

And this, my friends, is why we should probably embrace lilac as a contender against the abomination that Pantone has chosen.

Lilac and gold room

The Mikado Suite at Grand Hotel, Oslo / Photography by Sveinung Bråthen

We know how beautiful blush pink could be. It emerged as the Instagram Darling of 2017 and has sprung up everywhere, being proclaimed as the new neutral. Lilac, with its quintessential associations with feminity, is not too far off. It’s a little cooler, yes, it can border on grey which we all love and it warms up beautifully when combined with my favourite metal, gold.

Mimosa Lane Walk In Closet in Lilac and Gold

Mimosa Lane / Photography by Jason Kindig 

Want to toughen it up a little? Combine it with black to temper its sweetness or throw in a bit of leopard print as above to give it a bit of zhush.

Lilac and black bedroom

Photography by Melanie Acevedo for Domino


Design Amanda Ross / Photography by Brittany Ambridge for Domino

It works beautifully with French-inspired decor as well. Curvy lines, wall panels, silk curtains and you can pretend you are living in a chic Parisian apartment.

Lilac bathroom french

Olga Lopez de Vera for Domino 

If Parisian chic isn’t your bag, it can just as easily work with a more eclectic mix of decor with contemporary artwork and mid-century style furniture. Those warm woods and vintage pieces go a long way in grounding lilac and a few acid yellows create a wonderful tension. It’s brave, I know, but somehow it really does just work when mixed with the right companions.

Lilac living room mid century furniture

Mel Yates for Living Etc, via The Walk Up Blog


Pamela Bell via Domino / Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

So, yes, I do have a little bit of a yearning for a touch of lilac in my home. Could you see it in yours? I’d love to know what you think of Pantone’s choice as well – what would you have as an alternative? Or, perhaps you love it? Hey, we’re all different here and it’s totally cool if you want to rock purple your own way. Go on, talk to me. The comment box awaits!

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