First Light Pink and the Golden Hour

If you’ve been a reader or follow my Instagram, it may not come as a shock that I love pink. So, the announcement that Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Color of the Year #coty is First Light 2102-70 was fun news, but also a bit of a surprise. Pantone’s 2016 color of the year was actually two colors – pale pink and pale blue.

Ben Moore First Light swatch

So, the notion of selecting a sunrise or sunset color isn’t new. But interesting that Ben Moore is considering First Light as honoring the dawn of a new decade. It’s a color that feels innocent and optimistic. I love the name, for one thing. It clearly says what it means, the golden hour after sunrise is often a very pink. The Golden Hour is a photography term meaning just after sunrise and just before sunset when the sky is a very warm pink and gold. It’s a great time for photos of nature and of people as these warm tones are very flattering on most everyone.

Zane Lee Unsplash photo first light golden hour
Photo credit: Zane Lee on Unsplash
Sidrik Unsplash pink sky first light golden hour
Photo credit: Sidrik on Unsplash
Jordan McQueen Unsplash dawn first light photo
Photo credit: Jordan McQueen on Unsplash
Cem Sagisman Unsplash Golden Hour First Light
Photo: Cem Sagisman on Unsplash
Massachusetts beach at sunset photo by Linda Merrill Benjamin Moore First Light
Photo credit: Linda Merrill

While obviously, the sky is filled with many colors from golds to pinks to grays, blues and purples, the simplicity of First Light makes it a great neutral to go with any of these other colors and so many more.

Ben Moore 2020 Color Palette

First Light is a balanced color with a gray undertone with a hint of lavender, which keeps it from being too cool.

The thing about a pale pink is that it’s not cloying and overly girlie. There are many who dislike pink, but I think that’s the more Barbie pink we’re so familiar with. There is something emotionally satisfying to me about pink. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I always gravitate to the color – whether it’s on a magazine cover or a fabric.

Benjamin Moore COTY 2020 First Light 2102-70 vignette


First light metro gray metropolitan

Last year, Benjamin Moore’s color of the year was Metropolitan AF-690 – not to be confused with Metro Gray 1459, which I wrote about here and proved to be one of my most popular posts of the year. First Light goes very well with both, though you can really see how the green undertone of Metropolitan comes forward when next to the pink. Metro Gray has a lavender undertone, so the two colors are more analogous. How you pair colors together will really affect how they look individually. Also, note that all these images are affected by how they were reproduced and differences in computer and phone screens – so always, always, do a test swatch with real paint before making final decisions!

I’ve put together a fun “First Light” inspired shopping boutique of household goods, fashion and gift ideas. You don’t need to repaint to get a little touch of this year’s color of the year! (Disclaimer: this boutique contains affiliate links. A small commission is paid on purchases made, at no additional cost to the purchaser. These commissions help support this blog. Thank you!)

You may also enjoy:

Pantone 2016 Color of the Year – Serenity and Rose Quartz

Pantone 2018 Color of the Year – Ultra Violet

Benjamin Moore 2019 Color of the Year – Metropolitan Gray

Sherwin Williams 2022 Color of the Year – Evergreen Fog

Benjamin Moore 2023 Color of the Year – Raspberry Blush


12 thoughts on “First Light Pink and the Golden Hour”

  1. Linda, I totally know what you mean when you say you’re drawn to pink. Maybe I love pink as it reminds me of the glorious sunrises (and I am a total morning person like Leslie).

  2. Hi Linda ~ I, too, love this color..and being the morning person I am, I love it’s name: *First Light.* It is such a flattering color for so many people, as well.

    And.. I really love how you showed the two grays up next to it. It was clear to me, even before reading the next paragraph, that Metropolitan Grey had green undertones..but I would not have known or thought of that unless I had read your post.. so thank you for that further education.

  3. Your seaside at dawn photo is such a beautiful image, Linda! This was an unexpected color pick for COTY – I anticipated a blue-green tone as a likely option, but I love the idea AND the name, first light. I think it would make a fabulous and flattering ceiling color!


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