Want to freshen up your color scheme for the new year? Consider coral. Not just any coral, but a bold hot-pinky one, a hue that the color poobahs at Pantone have dubbed Honeysuckle and declared the Color of the Year for 2011.


"It's a color with energy, at a time when we need it," said Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute (www.eisemancolorblog.com). "We didn't want to do yet another red. We wanted more complexity; these are complex times."

Honeysuckle appeals to the senses, evoking sweet nectar and scent as well as vivid color, Eiseman said.

"It has an air of nostalgia," reminiscent of childhood and carefree summer days. "It's a great accent color to give a little lift and punch." She suggests splashing it on an accent wall or in a niche or alcove as "a bright surprise."

Jayme Meyer, interior designer at Martha O'Hara Interiors (www.oharainteriors.com) of Hopkins is all aboard the Honeysuckle train.

"The pink undertone updates coral and makes it fresh," she said. "We just did an entire house in grays and whites and accented the living room and master bedroom with coral pink. There's no other color in the entire house. It's mainly an accent color. I haven't done a whole sofa in it. But if somebody wanted it everywhere, I'd be for it."

Honeysuckle reflects the convergence of orange and pink, two colors that have been trending upward for several seasons. Bloomington-based blogger Erin Olson (www.houseofturquoise.com and www.decorbycolor.com) is definitely thinking pink these days.

"I read a lot of blogs, and I have noticed pink being used a lot more. I use it a lot myself, so I feel really validated. I use a lot of turquoise, obviously [her love for all things turquoise inspired her first blog], but pink is the second color I use. Whenever I do a post about pink and turquoise, I get a lot of good comments."

Michelle Lamb, a home furnishings forecaster for Eden Prairie-based the Trend Curve (www.trendcurve.com), saw coral coming. In 2009, "we picked 37 colors for 2011, and three could be called coral," she said.

Lamb said she thinks we'll embrace Honeysuckle, because it's the latest evolution of colors we've become comfortable with. "Consumers have been reintroduced to orange, and this is a variation of it," she said. "It's a pinker coral, part of pinks warming up" from the cool, blue-toned pinks that have dominated in recent years.

Lamb credits coral pink's ascendance to ethnic influences, both tribal and tropical, such as ikat prints. And she expects that trend to continue. "We're very bullish about tropical for 2012," she said.

But at least one local designer thinks that's where Honeysuckle belongs: in the tropics.

"I can see that color working well in the South, in Florida," said Jim Noble, of Noble Interiors Inc. in Minneapolis. "It's always fun to have something new. But given our climate, it's a tough color, really limited. I would use it here only in very small accents."

Not that he has anything against pink, he said. "I wear a lot of pink. But that [pink] is such a strong statement. I can see it in a powder room or a little girl's room. I don't know many men who would warm up to that color."

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784