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Without a doubt, 2020 was a heck of a year that we had somehow managed to live through. It was certainly an interesting year, to say the least: the 12 months of global devastation were also accompanied with compassion, activism, and humanity-defining achievements.

Reflecting on the year that was, Pantone introduced not one, but two Colours of the Year that directly represent the duality that the world experienced: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a lemon-yellow shade, are the storm clouds of possibly the most awful year of the decade followed by the inevitable sunshine.

“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

So ahead, we gathered some cheerful manicure ideas you can consider for an instant mood boost. Scroll on down below to start 2021 in style with some Illuminating or Ultimate Gray-toned nails.

1. Mellow yellow


A perfectly symbolic pairing, the Illuminating-hued nails with free-flying butterflies could mean only one thing: bright skies ahead for 2021.

2.  Grey & blue


Grey may be understated but you can certain amp it up with shades of blue, white, and pastel flowers.

3. Light at the end of the tunnel


Live by your “Don’t worry, be happy” life motto with possibly the happiest nails of all time: this ’60s-style yellow smiley manicure.

4. Dainty grey


This subtle design is equal parts eye-catching and timeless.

5. Subtle marbles


If 10 grey nails feel too plain for you, break them up with some complementary nail art like this marbled grey set.

6. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy


Fresh, bright, and zesty, this year is definitely the time to get your fingers adorned with little lemons.

7. Hold my marbles


Fluffy grey nails accented with marble white nail art? Time to get your fingers warm and cosy, we say!

8. Pretty daisies


Using only two shades, this design is pretty enough to feel like real nail art without overwhelming the wearer.

9. Ombré party


Have an enchanting butterfly garden on your fingers by combining glittery butterfly motifs and ombré yellow.

10. Gilded energy


For trendy nails that are equally CNY-ready, this manicure idea is definitely the one you’re looking for.

11. Mod grey


Think out of the box and flank Ultimate Gray with black and white for a funky mod manicure.

12. Glittery grey


Can’t head to your favourite dance club? Have a party on your hands instead with this shimmery, concrete-coloured mani.

13. Concrete cowboy


Who knew grey-on-cow-print would work so perfectly together?

14. Electric geometry


You’re bound to bring a dose of sunshine wherever you go with an Illuminating-hued geometric pattern.

15. Sweet yellow


Not a fan of painting your nails yellow entirely? This yellow French manicure may just be the thing for you.

16. Not-so-basic grey


Grey doesn’t have to be boring when you pair it with nude tones and marble nail art.

17. A zap of yellow

Pantone Colours Of The Year 2021 Manicure Ideas Zap Of Yellow Source Pinterest

Source: manicureti.ru/Pinterest

Add an element of surprise with nail art on just one nail – we’re definitely crushing on this lightning nail art plus bold yellow combo.

18. Faces of Spongebob

Pantone Colours Of The Year 2021 Manicure Ideas Faces Of Spongebob Source Pinterest

Source: We Heart It/Pinterest

When you have a lemon-yellow shade take centre stage this year, how could you leave out the most recognisable cultural icon in yellow? Yup, we’re talking about the dude who lives in a pineapple at Bikini Bottom.

19. Solid elegance


For a sophisticated look, you’ll like this grey and sparkly silver combo that is bound to stand out on your digits.

20. Happy vibes only


When you need to turn that frown upside down, nothing works better than these beautiful, delicate sunshine daisies.

21. Flower power


Put a smile on your face by wearing flower-inspired nail art on your digits.

22. Colour block 2.0


Here’s another cool way to wear Ultimate Gray and Illuminating together in one nail: just put an updated colour-blocking spin to it.

23. Dusty galaxy


With the Milky Way on your nails, we sure won’t blame you for staring at this mesmerising manicure all day.

24. Egg-cellent yellow

Pantone Colours Of The Year 2021 Manicure Ideas Eggcellent Yellow Source Pinterest

Source: vk.com/Pinterest

With an egg-inspired nail art this cute, good luck trying to resist biting into your nails!

25. Add some pizzazz with pizza


Can’t live without a slice? Take a leaf out of this book and show your love for pizza with this sparkly yellow combo.

26. Grey tropics


For something delicate in grey, decorate your digits with intricate nature-inspired designs.