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As 2015 comes to a close, I think we can all agree it has been a pretty tumultuous and eventful year. From war-torn refugees immigrating en masse to all parts of the globe, to the horrible tragedies of mass shootings, we could all use a little peace and serenity in 2016. On a brighter note, we can celebrate the momentous achievements of the past year such as the Supreme Court’s recognition of the right of all to marry.

Colors of the year are supposed to be snapshots of the current mood in our culture. Pantone began the tradition in 1999, choosing “Cerulean,” the blue of a serene sky, as the 2000 Color of the Year to reflect the “fear and unrest for Y2K and general hope for the new millennium,” according to a Pantone spokeswoman.

The events of 2015 are reflected in “color of the year” for 2016. While it was a surprise to some that two colors were chosen for the first time, Pantone, the company responsible for forecasting color trends, recently announced its 2016 Color(s) of the Year, PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity and PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz. The company said that its choice reflects “a harmonious pairing of inviting shades that embody a mindset of tranquility and inner peace … serenity comforts with a calming effect, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.” Pantone went on to reason that the colors reflect the gender equality and fluidity of our time as well as more comfort with color and expression.

What do those colors look like? Rose Quartz is a soothing blushing pink with peach undertones and Serenity is a blue that is almost periwinkle. Basically, they are pastels in pink and blue. Though pastels have been gaining in popularity recently, interior designers have a varied reaction to this year’s choice.

Paint companies also went with the calming and soothing theme. Benjamin Moore’s 2016 color of the year was “Simply White.” According to the Benjamin Moore website, “Surrender to the complexity of white. The interplay of whites and light creates nuance and subtle beauty.” Sherwin Williams made a similar choice: “Alabaster.” Gliddon chose “Cappacino White.”

By all measures, then, it seems there is a reasonable consensus that the colors of the year for 2016 reflect a desire for serenity and peace in the coming year.

Designers and stores follow these choices. This is especially true in fashion and interior décor is influenced by fashion trends.

How do you decorate with pastels? The secret is balance. If you’re going to paint an entire room in Rose Quartz, balance the rest of the room out with light neutrals. While most people would not decorate an entire room in Rose Quartz or Serenity, there are some good ways to incorporate these serene colors into your home. Choices include an accent wall color, throw pillows, a rug, artwork, and china or linens.

How will these colors work with what you already have? Other trends like metallics and rose gold combine beautifully with these colors. Rose Quartz is a stunning combination with gray and navy.

Peachy rose would look great in any living room.

Serenity, a blue (like a baby blue only a little deeper and more adult), goes with tan and camel. It also works well in a Swedish-feeling dining room.

If pastels aren’t for you, you can always bring in richer shades in the same hue. For example, a derivation of rose quartz is found in wine hues. A richer shade of blue can be paired with cool or violet shades.

As 2015 draws to a close and 2016 beckons, may we all have a little peace and serenity, equality and harmony in our lives.

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Deborah Macdonald is the Napa-based owner of Napa At Home, an interior design enterprise. For more information, visit her website at napaathome.com call (707) 255-0246; or email Deborah@napaathome.com

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