Hi Everyone and thanks for checking in with me again. With Fall officially upon us, I thought I’d write this post about decorating with my favourite (and challenging) colour: ORANGE! I know you must think I’m crazy but orange is a great, warm colour that can add coziness or zing to a room depending on its hue. Orange used in a room with a lot of white can energize it while orange used in a room with browns and greys warms up those darker tones. So let’s explore using orange in a room as a wall colour (the biggest impact), large pieces (strong but lesser impact) and accessories (hits of colour).
Beginning with wall colour you must first understand that colours can be vibrant or shaded. Vibrant refers to a colour having a “zing” and Shaded refers to it being slightly greyed and more subdued. Each can be effective in creating the mood and feel you want in your rooms. To illustrate this, here’s some help from the good people at Sherwin Williams:
You can see in these photos, the room on the left uses a very vibrant orange. This gives real energy and drama to the room balanced with all of the white furniture and actually appears brighter. The middle picture uses a more shaded orange that has a bit more yellow and brown in it (think Butternut Squash). You can see how the room feels cozier and less dramatic (there’s less contrast between the orange and the white) even though the oranges are both very saturated. The picture on the right is a much more shaded orange - more of a cinnamon/nutmeg orange. There’s a lot more brown in it (there is no Brown on the Colour Wheel. It’s a broken hue derived from orange. That’s why browns and oranges work so well together). What is most noticeable in this picture is how calm and cocooning the room feels. Even the white furniture looks more grey-beige than white. Also, at night this room will look even cosier (light is how we see colour - more on that in a future post). Personally this is the type of orange I would recommend if you wanted to experiment with an orange wall. It looks great in many interiors - traditional, transitional, modern, rustic - and would look awesome in a basement, a den/office, entry foyer or as an accent wall in a main space especially if you have a lot of warm whites or walnut to chocolate browns in your floors, trims and furniture. Here you can see using orange on the large scale as a wall colour has your biggest (and least expensive) impact and is also the easiest to change down the road when you want a refresh.
Moving on to using orange on a medium scale. This can still provide a powerful punch of pizazz to your space especially if it’s generally neutral (say White/Beige/Grey walls and mid tone walnut floors). People really like neutral spaces as they are very harmonious and calming but adding a furniture piece in a strong colour like orange breaks up the monotony. It’s still calm but there’s more life and visual interest. Plus that item will really be a conversation piece.
You can see from these furniture selections how they bring a warmth and energy with them. When mixed in with your neutral space they really draw focus which can be super effective. For example, if you live in a condo with an ugly view, placing that papaya sofa on an opposing wall draws focus to it and away from that unsightly view. If you have a great view, placing it in front of the windows draws your eye to the view and can make your space appear larger: you see the sofa, then the view beyond which makes it feel like that window wall is farther away. Also consider using a bold colour like orange on your balcony furniture. It will also pull your eye to it making your balcony feel like it’s a part of your space, not a separate area. This all works to make a space feel larger and more open.
If you’re really Colour Phobic but want to try spicing up your Interior with orange the best way to go is through accessories. These are small pops of colour that come by the way of your pillows, throws, art and objects.
In these images you can see how hits of orange in the pillows, throws and art can be used effectively without overpowering the overall look of your Interior because it’s on the small scale. Even something as simple as flowers or a bowl of fruit prove useful. And adding a small appliance like a mixer or espresso machine in a juicy hit of vibrant orange can really add some life to an all white kitchen. Furthermore, placing these hits of the same colour around your room creates a repetitive rhythm that gives your space “movement”. Your eye sees these small hits of colour repeating in your space, your brain recognizes they are a common element, and so you naturally look throughout the space from one pop to the next. It’s an effective way to use colour to create visual interest even if colour makes you nervous or you fear you’ll screw it up.
So if you’re thinking of adding some spice to your Interior life, whether on the grand or not-so-grand scale, I highly recommend you take a cue from Mother Nature and try the Autumnal hues of orange.
Be sure to check back with me for my next Design blog post. Thanks for reading and continuing to strive for the Well Designed Life.