Working With Marsala – The Pantone Color of the Year in a Modern Office Space

Designing Dawn - Marsala Office Space PI

Hello there, and happy new year to you! I’m Dawn from Designing Dawn, back again this month with another mood board for your inspiration.

The new year always brings one very exciting revelation for the designer in me, and that’s the Pantone color of the year. Here are a few of the colors of years gone by, in case you missed any of them:

Past Pantone Colors

Last year, I challenged myself to put together a mood board using radiant orchid in an unexpected place, a dining room. I think it’s fun to break these colors out of their molds and really see how far they can go. So this year, I was excited to do the same, but I have to say, Marsala threw me for a loop.

Pantones color of the year Marsala on

With burgundies making such a comeback in the fashion community last year, I can’t say that Pantone’s choice was shocking to me, but as a child of the 90s, wine colors and interior decorating will always remind me of the overstuffed reclining sofa that used to live in my parents’ family room. In other words, no bueno. On the plus side, I wanted a challenge, and I sure got one! The first hurdle for me was definitely overcoming my maroon prejudice though.

Enter some inspiration photos. I started browsing around online to see how designers have been incorporating Marsala and other wine tones into beautiful spaces, and my reservations about this color vanished pretty quickly. It’s not the stuffy maroon of my 90s upbringing! It’s rich and warm, and when paired with brighter colors and patterns, it can even transcend traditional and move right into modern. Case in point:

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I can’t even get over that floral wallpaper. If you’ve browsed my house tour or seen my past mood boards, you may have figured out by now that I’m a huge fan of modern eclectic design that utilizes bright colors and patterns, so the sight of Marsala used in that context was so exciting to me. I was really inspired to put together this office space mood board using Marsala and other wine tones, but mixed with some unexpected colors and patterns:

Working With Marsala | #moodboard #office

To view sources for this Olioboard mood board, see below.  

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Growing up, I always lived by the “rule” that red and pink don’t mix. But I’ve officially broken that rule today, because in this space, they’re best friends. My favorite thing about this mood board is that, while it definitely incorporates Marsala, the color isn’t overpowering. It is woven into patterns and mixed in gradients in such a beautiful way that it doesn’t scream for attention, but definitely provides a rich, warm base for the other colors to pop off of. I think it’s a nice way to dip a toe into the Marsala pond without committing to a full-on burgundy room. It also takes a color that tends to look serious and uses it in a less uptight and more unexpected way, and it really shows just how versatile color can be. How inspired would you be to work in a space like this? Sign me up, please.

So here are my tips for using Marsala in a bright, fun space:

• Don’t be afraid to mix colors. Pink might be the last color you’d pair with burgundy, but it works! Try some color combos out: on a computer screen, with craft paint swatches, with fabric scraps, or however you best visualize color pairings. Mixing Marsala in with other colors you already love is one sure way to make sure you get a result you’re happy with.

• You don’t have to go overboard. Deep reds can be overpowering when used in high concentration. If you’d like to incorporate Marsala but are afraid of ending up with a room that looks too dark or stuffy, remember that small doses can go a long way. Pull out the color with a pattern that incorporates it and then build off of that. Maybe a rug or throw with a hint of Marsala, accented by some decorative pillows that take it one step further. Pulling the color into the room with several smaller accents is an easy way to get the look without the commitment of a paint job.

• Don’t get stuck on one look. Like me, you may initially view burgundy as a color you would never gravitate towards, but try not to get hung up on what style you think a color is supposed to be. Looking around for inspiration, you can find Marsala used in almost every decorating style, and might just discover that it fits your home beautifully!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this mood board, and are inspired to have fun using Marsala in your own design style. As always, thank you to the Remodelaholic team for having me here today and each month. If you like what you see, be sure to visit me over on my blog, DesigningDawn, or follow along on social media. See you again next month!


See more from Dawn:

Dining Nook -
A Bright, Built-In Dining Nook

Half-bath Makeover -
A Bold Half Bath Makeover

Campaign Nightstand Makeover -
Campaign Night Stand Makeover


More office inspiration:

Reorganized Office with Easy Wall Shelvesorganized home office with easy DIY rustic shelves, Remodelaholic

Tips for Designing a Bold Eclectic OfficeGet This Look - Bold Study-Home Office

Clever Closet Offices25-clever-closet-offices-vertical

Website | + posts

Dawn is one half of the team behind the creative blog, AD Aesthetic. By day she works as the VP of Creative for a design and marketing company (getting paid to make things look good!), while by night she renovates her Midwest home, refinishes thrift-store furniture for fun, and works with her husband on raising two tiny humans. Dawn believes in the potential to design your surroundings and your life one day at a time, and lives by the motto, 'Make everything beautiful.' Get to know her better by visiting her blog,, or following along on Facebook and Instagram.

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