Colour Trends,  House & Home,  Inspiration


pantone marsala     marsala 18-1438

Pantone has declared Marsala (18-1438) Colour of the Year for 2015.

It’s an unusual choice, and responses have been mixed in the world of design.  It has been more favourably embraced in the fashion industry. But I like its uniqueness. It’s a rosy spot in an era of greige and neutrals.

Pantone Radiant Orchid 18-3224It’s certainly better than last year’s, “Radiant Orchid,” which was virtually unworkable from a décor perspective, unless your client was, a) a six-year-old girl, or b) Baskin Robbins.

Marsala is a rich, warm tone that reminds me of red wine, cherries, and chocolate. (You don’t need me to tell you these are all good things!) Its darkest shades suggest classic leather volumes and late night cocktail parties with friends. But it’s a bit nostalgic as well… so use wisely, because a few shades lighter and you’re flirting with that scourge of the ‘80s: Dusty Rose. Because of this, not all designers are a fan. As Annie Elliott said (of the Washington firm, Bossy Color): “… pair it with hunter green and you can be right back in 1987.”

Stay away from 1987! Here are some current ways to incorporate this heady colour into your décor:

Combined with neutrals, Marsala adds warmth and even maturity. Too dark to be truly flirty, this wine-inspired hue nevertheless brings sumptuousness into any room.

Pinterest Design Connection

Photo: Design Connection, Pinterest

Photo: Lamps Plus

Apt. Therapy-bedroom

Photo: Apartment Therapy

I think my favourite Marsala pairing is with turquoise and shades of pale blue.





In terms of paint colour, Benjamin Moore’s “Warm Earth” is a great match for Marsala. When it comes to accent colours or complementary tones, I suggest these combinations:

1) Any grey or off-white with green undertones. Green is opposite to red on the colour wheel, which creates a balanced visual dynamic: one cool tone, one warm. Think: wine cellar. Green bottles and red vintage.

Marsala Paint & Pairings-1

2) Teal, pale turquoise or blue-grey. Marsala is earthy, but with undertones of berry red. Blue shares these tones, which links the two colours, yet the warm/cool balance remains. Think:  cherry blossoms against a blue sky.

Marsala Paint & Pairings-2

Pantone features their own colour pairings for Marsala on their website:


Inspired much?

Marsala Mood Board

1)       Heathrow Cigar Top-Grain Leather Lounge Chair

2)        Warm Earth 1274 by Benjamin Moore

3)        Photo: Southern Weddings

4)        Mari Loveseat’s-Haute-Hue-Mari-Loveseat~SKY9941~E16947.html

5)        Tessera Subway Tile in “Bordeaux” by Home Depot

6)        Pillow by Jillian Rene Décor Etsy Shop

7)        Latte Bowls by Anthropologie

8)        West Elm Faceted Glass Vase in Magenta

9)        Large Ronde Pendent Lamp by Oliver Schick for Matter

10)      Photo: Metric Design


  • Vanessa S

    This was the colour of my entryway/foyer in my last home and it was always a warm welcome when I walked through the door. I paired it with a walnut bench, an oversized mirror and 24″ square tiles that had shades of dark grey, metallic silver and deep burgundy (sounds odd but they were beautiful). Now I’m tempted to paint something in my current home that colour again!

    • dana

      It doesn’t sound odd at all! (At least, not to me!) It sounds very inviting. If you work with “Marsala” again, send pics!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *