An Uplifting and Dynamic Duo for 2021

You may have read about the Pantone Color Institute™ color of the year in the past. Based on global culture, mood and attitude, the choices influence future product development and purchasing decisions in many consumer-oriented industries including interior, industrial and graphic design, home furnishings, fashion, and product packaging. This year, the much-awaited announcement gave us two colors: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. This is the first time two colors have been highlighted——but then again, this is the first time most of us have had a year like 2020. (We’ll leave it there.)

Representing “happiness supported by fortitude, and fueled by life events,” the aspirational combination was chosen to give us hope: a feeling that everything is going to be brighter, and that we will come together in support of one another. That’s a big ask, but even psychologists agree that color has an enormous impact on our wellbeing. In a dental environment, color can impact the mood, feeling and emotion of your patients and staff. While there are many nuances to consider from hue and tint to tone and shade, here’s a general overview of what psychologists say about how color in a room makes us feel:

Gray – Calm, sophisticated and serene. Gray symbolizes strength, brings comfort, and serves as an ideal backdrop for brighter accents.

Yellow – Cheery, uplifting and energizing, the right yellow will lift our spirits and self-esteem. It is the color of confidence and optimism.

Brown – Earthy, rich and inviting. Brown feels natural, robust and cozy, encouraging people to slow down and relax. The rich hue invokes a sense of intimacy and togetherness and works well with mixed textures.

Red – Packs a punch and increases adrenalin. Red is a good choice if you want to stir up excitement or increase blood pressure, appetite or passion. It’s good for dining, not so good for a dental operator.

Orange – Evokes excitement and enthusiasm. Orange is welcoming for entryways. It stimulates the appetite and increases energy.

Green – Relaxing, restorative and restful for the eyes. Green takes us back to nature and evokes tranquility. It is believed to relieve stress, making it a good choice for medical facilities, schools and offices.

Blue – Reliable and responsible, relaxing and serene. While dark blues are interpreted as authoritative, paler blues convey a sense of freedom.

Purple – Regal, eccentric and mysterious. In its darkest values (eggplant) it is dramatic, sophisticated and creative. Lighter shades, such as pale lilac, are considered restful and uplifting.

The changes in our work and home environments in 2020 were rapid and unprecedented. So, if we can find a spot of color to help us stay inspired, creative and working in tandem even while physically separated, why not? A bright, cheerful vivacious and warm color coupled with one of composure, steadiness and resilience sounds like a match made in heaven moving forward, don’t you think?

Here’s to brighter days ahead.

Experiment with colors and order samples for your dental operatory at


1. (
2. Room Color and How It Affects Your Mood (
3. Color Psychology: How Colors Affect Your Everyday Life (
4. Psychological Properties of Colours (


By |2021-02-19T00:47:00-07:00February 19th, 2021|Dental Office Design|

About the Author:

Kathy Rotramel, senior writer, has decades of writing experience with a strong focus on creating compelling content that resonates with readers. Rotramel has written many articles for the dental industry on topics including ergonomics, practice planning, efficiency, and dental office design.