What is the 2015 colour of the year and how do you use it?

We've had turquoise, tangerine and emerald – but now?

The famous colour company, Pantone, recently announced its new colour of the year for 2015. The winner is: marsala.

What is marsala?

Marsala is actually a type of fortified wine from Sicily, though this year it's a good idea to get it on your walls, too. Lingering somewhere between a luscious red and an earthy brown, the addition of marsala to any room will instantly make it feel more elegant, without being overpowering.

"This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors," says Pantone's Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman.

If you're thinking of redecorating your home this year, or are designing a colour scheme for a client, here are some ideas to use marsala and its Resene alternatives in the home to remain on-trend.

Dining room

Red is said to stimulate the appetite, so adding a feature of marsala behind the dining room table would certainly be a good idea. Splash some Resene Intrigue on a wall, then make it pop by using a bright off-white, such as Resene Double Merino, for your ceiling. Earthy wine colours can sometimes feel dark, so they need plenty of natural light and bright highlights to look truly upbeat.

You can do the same for your floor as well, making sure it's a lighter neutral in order to keep the wall looking prominent, strong and glowing. Resene Rock Salt works well, though if you're feeling a little daring then try a stain more akin to Resene Oregon.

As for your table itself, contrast will make it look strong and important, as a dining room table should be. Resene Dark Ebony looks perfect, though you could even try finding wooden chairs with marsala leather cushions if you want to add a little more of the colour to your space.

Living room

If your dining room is separate to the living room, you may want to consider using marsala in this space as well. Red works very well to stimulate conversation, however too powerful a red can be distracting for many people. That's why a more muted hue like marsala works brilliantly in the living room, as it spreads colour around the area but doesn't detract from anything else.

To that end, you could try the same tone you used in the dining room, but there are other similar red-browns available. Resene Merlot, for example, is a slightly deeper paint colour, offering a more passionate look than its browner sibling. This hue looks great on the walls, but there are other ways to use it as well.

For example, red-brown leather couches are both stylish and elegant – everything marsala is meant to suggest. If you like the seating you have already, instead invest in a neat rug to put beneath your coffee table. If you go for the bright floor/dark furniture look in here as well, a marsala rug makes for the perfect in-between.

Don't forget your curtains, either, as splashes of earthy reds, like that on Resene Blaze, are both effective and subtle.


Red can be a distracting colour to sleep next to, but marsala still looks classy in the bedroom. So how do you compensate?

A feature wall behind the headboard, surrounded by a creamy Resene Villa White, would mean you get the warmth and refinement of marsala, but when you turn the lights off and go to sleep you won't be distracted by it.

You could also instead opt to use this hue as fabric colours, rather than paint. Consider a duvet set with highlights of marsala, or a sheet set if you want a luxurious-feeling bed. 

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