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Pantone’s Lee reveals 2023 colour stories

With a strong presence of international and US buyers at The Inspired Home Show 2022 in Chicago last week (March 5-7), inspirational speakers included Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute. Lee revealed the palettes that will define interiors (including housewares) in 2023 during her keynote presentation on March 7.

“More than ever before, there is an ability to connect with our consumer in a very personal way, enabling them to emerge from their personal challenges to experience and express new realities,” said Lee, who explained the ideas behind the Pantone ColourWatch display at The Inspired Home Show (owned and organised by the International Housewares Association).

The palettes were designed in part to represent how our physical and digital lives are emerging in new ways. “Digital design, with its vivifying effects, stretch the limits of our imagination, opening a door to a dynamic virtual world where we can explore new colour combinations,” Lee acknowledged. Featured colours range from “down-to-earth artisanal tones to highly digitised vibrant hues to intensely robust colours.”

Above: Housewares products displayed in the Tropic Refresh palette in Pantone’s ColourWatch display at The Inspired Home Show 2023.
Above: Housewares products displayed in the Tropic Refresh palette in Pantone’s ColourWatch display at The Inspired Home Show 2023.


Cultural influences include the quirky and colorful style of Niki de Saint Phalle, whose work recently got a new exhibit at MoMA in New York City, as well as the rich colour in the prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie (due out in 2023) and the regency-style colors, costumes and scenery in the second season of the Netflix series Bridgerton (streaming at the end of the month).

Meanwhile, Lee is also inspired by colours from nature and the environment (for example leftover fruit peels and apple cores) but recognised that there are always going to be people who are attracted to neutral colours. However, she emphasised that neutrals and high intensity brights can now co-exist.

Likewise, there’s always a need for classic black and white stylings in home and housewares products. Bold red is always a top choice but mixing “rose pinks and bottled greens give black and white a touch of newness these days,” Lee commented.

The seven palettes in the Pantone View Home + Interiors 2023 Forecast are:

  • Tropic Refresh – This is your place “to dream big and enjoy, to escape from the challenges of everyday realities,” stated Lee. Conjuring up images of sky, sand and sea, it offers a balanced feel with both warmth and coolness.
  • Epic Tales – An escape of a different kind, this palette evokes the esthetic of medieval and mythical past – one that’s been popularised recently in gaming, movies and books. Robust and rich colors are featured, while metallics bring hand-wrought detail.
  • Honesty – Honesty is a simple colour combination that suggests health and wellness. It features neutral colors that are joined by “some nourishing vegetal yellow-green shades that are set off by a sole blue green,” said Lee.
  • Earthbound – This palette has a utilitarian look with earth tones mixed with some metallics for an updated approach. It reflects the fact that “people are longing for that ability to reach out and touch right now.”


  • Unexpected Reality – Lighter pastel shades are contrasted here by, yes, unexpected bright hues including “a vibrant yellow, a sulfuric yellow-green, and a bright orchid.” There is an undertone of technology that energises this palette.
  • Artisan Invention – Drawing inspiration from the boho trend and manipulated fabrics, Artisan Invention has “an eclectic effect that is both rustic and sleek.” Mixing the old with the new is a theme here as well.
  • Intoxicants – It’s all about brightness with Intoxicants, although there’s a bit of mystery involved too. Purple, magenta and violet are joined by red, green, orange and an electric blue to “express celebration and aspiration for better days ahead,” said Lee.
Above: The Unexpected Reality palette, as displayed at The Inspired Home Show.
Above: The Unexpected Reality palette, as displayed at The Inspired Home Show.

An audio recording of Lee’s presentation will be posted on the Show’s website at For more information about The Inspired Home Show, visit

* The Inspired Home Show 2023 will take place March 4-7 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Buyer registration is open at Exhibitor applications will be accepted from May.


Top: The Tropic Refresh palette – part of the popular Pantone ColourWatch display.

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