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Colour forecasting is part fashion savvy, part sociology and part crystal ball. Last year, that combination brought us emerald, a prediction that more or less was bang on, with bold jewel tones seemingly everywhere in home decor.

If the diviners are right again, look for a more mellow vibe – and softer, more comforting palette – to settle in for 12 months of cozy dominance, because Pantone has just named Radiant Orchid – "An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones," according to a release – as the colour of the year for 2014. "An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in the release.

It's safe to say it won't be sprucing up man caves, but that said, doesn't it make you feel nice and warm inside?

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Pantone isn't the only tea-leaves reader that evidently thinks we all need refuge from the big, loud world. Benjamin Moore picked Breath of Fresh Air, an "ethereal blue" that serves as a "new neutral" as its colour of the year, while CIL picked "Creamy" yellow, described by brand manager Alison Goldman in a release as a "soft, buttery colour that emits a feeling of calm, tranquility and renewal." The mellow yellow is "a warm pastel shade that has a fullness to it, but is still light enough to act as a neutral."

After the energetic optimism of the past few years – if Pantone's Honeysuckle in 2011 was just getting the engine revving, Tangerine Tango in 2012 was a peddle to the metal race to rev up the verve – it's apparently time we relaxed a bit and retreated to neutral, calming corners.

Follow me on Twitter: @Dave_McGinn

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