Interpreting Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Colour of the Year, 2102-70 First Light, for a Winter Climate

I’m not usually a fan of pale pink, so I can’t say I fell madly in love with First Light when it was announced. The pink I prefer is a bit darker and leans a bit more toward coral.

That said, how pretty is this pillow?!

I truly believe there are no bad colours — only better or worse uses of them — so I decided to play around with First Light a bit to see how I would incorporate it into three different rooms.

As an added challenge, I wanted to do it in a way that felt grown-up and geographically appropriate for the Canadian prairies.

Pale Pink Backdrop to an MCM-inspired Living Room

To my eye, pale pink is most liveable when combined with stronger, earthier colours, and I think this first room illustrates how delish that combination can be.

pale pink walls in living room
Pale pink walls in a boho-inspired living room.

The abstract artwork over the credenza was my starting point for this living room.

From there, I layered in the tribal rug that seemed made to order to go with it and firmly set the mid-century vibe. I love how the detail in the doors of the vintage credenza echoes the diamond shapes in the rug.

I’ve always adored a dark, chocolate brown velvet sofa, and I can see this one standing out beautifully against the soft pink walls. A deep burgundy would work, too. Fresh enough for a Manitoba summer; cozy enough for winter. YES!

A Pale Pink Bedroom for Grown-ups Only

I was working on a very different bedroom concept until I saw this tobacco brown velvet headboard.

To be clear, this is not the thuddingly depressing and overused hue of the brown trend that many of us are just now crawling out from under. This is a gloriously rich, vibrant colour that transcends a trend. Just sayin’.

Example of pale pink walls in a bedroom with tobacco brown accents
I am a sucker for pale pink with leopard print. Well, almost anything with leopard print, frankly.

In this bedroom, rich tobacco brown (NOT Espresso) and sexy leopard print stools at the foot of the bed help cut the sweetness of pale pink walls and accents.

I think this room also nicely straddles the line between feeling not too heavy in summer and not too light in winter.

In my opinion this is pink at its grown-up, grounded finest.

Are Pink and Blue For Babies’ Rooms Only?

I wasn’t convinced I could stomach First Light with the other colours in the 2020 palette. Until my first design board for this dining room fell utterly flat. See for yourself.

First take. Meh. Makes me blush to share it.

I tend to reject pale pink with blue or soft green as too reminiscent of the eighties or a baby’s nursery, but I decided to try to prove myself wrong by using some of the other colours from Benjamin Moore’s 2020 colour palette to rescue this room.

First, I looked at artwork with the goal of finding something that included blues, greens and pinks without feeling babyish.

This painting of rocks and water I found on One King’s Lane was, to my eye, the perfect choice — not too pastel, and literally grounded with earthy tones in the rocks.

Left to right — some of the colours from the 2020 COTY palette that inspired the second take on this dining room: HC-149 Buxton Blue, 2128-40 Oxford Gray and AF-485 Crystalline.

Happily, I think I did it.

I found a way to work with the colours in the palette that feels timeless and liveable and satisfies my eye’s need for something to ground the pink.

What do you think?

Example of pale pink walls in a dining room with blue accents
Dark wood keeps a pale pink and blue dining room from becoming too sweet.

Things started to shift as soon as I added the new picture above the buffet, but the room truly sprang to life when I added the blue and pink rug. (See how the pink chairs went from meh to marvellous?) And I love how the warm wood furniture adds a rich, grounding element.

So, here’s my take on Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year for 2020

I don’t know that my clients are going to rush to paint their walls pink, but I think there are ways to work with First Light and the other colours in this palette that feel grown-up and very liveable.

As always, you have to adapt a colour palette to make it suit your environment. If I lived in California, I might have taken a totally different approach, but with Manitoba’s winters in mind (and perhaps influenced by an unseasonably early snowstorm), I focused here on using these fresh colours in a way that would feel equally appealing in winter as in summer.

If you need help bringing YOUR colour palette to life — or finding your palette, I can help.

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2 thoughts on “Interpreting Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Colour of the Year, 2102-70 First Light, for a Winter Climate

  1. Kyla Beck

    Thinking about using this color in my bedroom and when I saw the pillow I was sold. Could you tell me where you found the pillow?


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