Decorating Tips

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s Color of 2014

January 21, 2014

I’ve been researching color lately and because so many of you are having a hard time with the Pantone Color for 2014, namely, Radiant Orchid, I thought I’d show you some brilliant examples of how to use it at home. It’s one of those shades that can be tricky to use, can’t it? It can go wrong so easily! Here are some tips and visual inspirations in orchid to give you some encouragement to go for it along with ideas as to how to add the perfect dose to any room in your home.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

For casual living, a simple stool in orchid as the accent color can work wonders. This is the home of jewelry designer Kathleen Whitaker as seen on Remodelista. This is a great example of how a little can go a long way when it comes to a unique color.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
Home Sweet Home – This is a great example of how to use flowers in a home (orchids!) to add in a color you don’t normally decorate with. In this case, the flowers bring out the lush, sophisticated chairs in deep plum so there is harmony.

Regarding decorating with this color, the experts over at Pantone comment in their press release about this color, “Spruce up interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows. Likewise, the vibrant color is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces.” Do you agree? I think it also looks amazing with a deep gray.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
Here is how it looks with yellow. Not bad!

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

Nice examples of orchid found in rugs, throws and as a strikingly handsome chair from Blog Contrast that borders fuchsia. Remember, orchid comes in several tints and tones, after all it is the violet (purple) color family – it’s a bright, rich purple that looks like the orchidaceae flower. You can find orchid in tones that range from grayish purple to purplish-pink to strong reddish purple.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
A simple print above a sofa brings a dose of orchid in without overkill. It pairs lovely with pale blues and neutrals, as seen in this room from Domino, don’t you think? This is the home of Lucky mag Editor in Chief, Eva Chen. You can see more of her apartment here.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

You know, this orchid tile looks quite gorgeous in this bathroom seen on Kathy Kuo Home. Very striking!

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
Paint by Benjamin Moore in orchid tones… Would you add this color to your wall? I wouldn’t, but that’s just me. I’m sure lots of you would and you’d love it!

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
Architectural Digest is always showing rooms that I know cost around 100K to pull together, yet I still find them inspiring. This one is no exception with a luxurious deep orchid velvet sofa paired with pale orchid on the side chair. Would you mix tones in the same room on such large pieces? It’s a daring move, I’ll admit. It only works if you play with the tints and tones of the color and also the shape of the furniture, otherwise it could be a bit too much if the chairs and sofa were all in the same fabric or in the same shape.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

I can see a teenage girl totally going for this room as seen on Project Nursery. It’s stunning, right? Using orchid as a border against crisp white bedding adds a touch of glamour and that ceiling! Oh that ceiling! Chic, chic!

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

A nice touch of orchid in a few throw pillows show restraint, and yet add a certain something. You can find this color used frequently in textiles from countries like Morocco and Turkey. When I studied color theory in college, I found purple to be a most interesting color to research. Did you know that the most famous dye in the ancient world was Tyrian purple, which looks quite a lot like the modern day “orchid” color we’re seeing here. It was created using a snail from the Mediterranean sea called a murex. And did you know that purple was one of the first colors used in prehistoric art? It has been associated with royalty for centuries, too. It’s no wonder then why you find purple (and also red) in so many woven textiles that come from countries that still employ traditional techniques, patterns and colors into their works today.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

Here’s an orchid-y leather pouf and other soft furnishings mixed nicely into this city apartment.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

One simple throw cushion on the floor, as seen in Sköna Hem magazine, makes a statement.

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

Who would have ever imagined that these patterns would work together in a bedroom? Yet they somehow do. And did you notice the orchid throw at the foot of the bed?

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014

Little details in orchid in this kid’s room are so pretty!

When decorating with orchid, here are 7 of my top tips:

1. Not in love with it? If it’s not your favorite color, mix it in with colors you love that are close on the color wheel and see if that changes how you feel. Often, we think we dislike a certain color when really, we need to bring in variety of other colors that mix nicely with it to quiet it down and make it work. So often, a color you didn’t like becomes one that you adore simply by creating the right mix of patterns and colors.

2. Go bold. If you adore this color, then add a very bold piece to a room in the form of artwork, a sofa, a chair, a rug. Make orchid a real focal point. If you love it, why not? It’s your home!

3. Kid’s room. Most young girls love purple (I hit a purple phase when I felt I was “too grown up” for pink), yet purple isn’t always a favorite of parents. Orchid can be a great and stylish compromise.

4. Less is more. Add simple touches with a leather pouf, a throw cushion, trim on linen drapes, a throw at the edge of a bed, a vase… You don’t have to overdo it to make it work.

5. Flower power! Instead of interiors objects, add this color through fresh flowers. Many Fall blooms are in this fabulous color. And of course, there are always orchids themselves!

6. Experiment with tone! Deeper or lighter can change the mood completely from dramatic and elegant to pastel-y and sweet. See what you like and don’t be afraid to play. Pair with gray for drama, pair with yellow for bold, pair with white and pastels for a light and sweet room scheme.

7. Bring some “wrongness” to a room. My friend Sania Pell, a stylist based in London, once told me that you need a little wrongness to make something right, especially when styling a room or vignette. She’s right and I now apply this to my own styling work as I see fit – though it’s not easy and does take a trained eye to do it right! Oftentimes, we try too hard and things look very perfect and boring as a result – you know those rooms that are so perfect that nothing stands out? Orchid can be that touch of wrongness to a space – a quirky painting, a piece of porcelain in a cabinet that you’ve spray-painted orchid (like a quirky cockatiel!), a lamp base spray-painted in this color against a charcoal wall with a bright canary yellow shade… Often a single element of “wrong” can make it right because it catches the eye and adds interest. It makes you think. It makes others talk. Often you have to learn all of the rules before you can begin breaking them and with decorating, it’s no different.

And a huge by the way… In my upcoming book with Leslie Shewring, Decorate With Flowers, we actually explore this color and show a winning combination of how it works at home through flowers and decor. The funniest thing about it is when we were writing the book, we didn’t even know Pantone would select this color for 2014, so I’m quite excited that we have a chapter dedicated to contemporary living with orchid tones showing how we used it and what colors we combined it with. Good timing for us all!

What do you think about orchid? Would you add it to your room? In large, small or medium doses? How? 

(images linked to their sources above)


  • Reply Carole Poirot January 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I don’t think orchid (and all it’s tones and shades) will ever be on my list of favourite colours, but it certainly is bearable (in the nicest possible way) when combined with some grey and white. The stool in the first picture is fun and looks great against the neutral backdrop. :-)

  • Reply 2moiselles January 21, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I like a lot this sweet color!!

  • Reply Monika January 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Luckily we don’t have to blindly follow all the color ideas ;). I’ve got few purple pieces from last year, mostly ceramics for the kitchen, and some textile (table runner I think), and that will be enough :). I’m not even sure if I will take them out and decorate with them, maybe later this year (spring/summer).
    The key – not only regarding this particular color – is to find a perfect shade of this or that color, as it’s shade that matters and can ruin everything ;).

  • Reply Annie Khan January 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    It’s simply gorgeous! I have never seen the bedroom like that. You are right for teenage girl – Thank you for providing such an amazing ideas to decorate my room and the use of colors. lovely!

  • Reply Nina January 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Oh.. I so love hints of pink in decorating schemes… I am however yet to convince my husband. I think a lighter, cooler shade teamed with greys might twist his arm though!

  • Reply Lisa Don January 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I love this articule.

    As a commercial interior designer (So the less glam but equal fun projects to work on such as schools & hospitals) first thought when I saw the orchard colour on the pantone press release was on the lines of ‘whattt??’. But after seeing your examples, im a convert to purple. Beautiful, used with restraint orchard can add something suprising and fresh.

    Now how to fit this into my next healthcare project.. : )

  • Reply Jen January 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Love this post! Makes me nostalgic remembering my room when I was younger, as I painted it using colours very similar to paint in the pic above using a deeper hue as a feature wall. I am planning to buy an orchid plant to liven up our family room. A good tip is to go to your local markets, as you can often find the bigger potted versions at a much cheaper price (compared to the florist’s) & they’re usually direct from the grower (plus they last much longer)!

  • Reply jenwilsonLWK January 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I have white living room walls, a cream couch, black dining room table and a black framed mirror hanging above my couch. Cushions and small decorative ornaments in pale pink and the Orchid tone (identical to your Benjamin Moore image above) introduce a feminine touch but are well balanced by the black tones to prevent the room ‘being too girly’ (as my fiancé puts it!) The Orchid is a powerful colour; for me it brightens and energises but a small dose is all that is needed to achieve this effect.

  • Reply un23 ilaria January 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I love colors but this one will probably never walk through my door, unless it is a real, true Orchid (which I had by the way last year and looked gorgeous). I’ve never been a fan of pink and associates and I guess I’ll wait for next year to put some trendy Pantone colors at home. Lucky me, other firms picked colors that better reflect my taste, Teal (by Dulux) or light blue- green (Fargerike) for instance :-)

  • Reply Emma January 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Love the little orchid-colored stool and pendant light! Simple touches like that make Radiant Orchid look great and more appealing to people who don’t want to go all out by painting a room or bringing in large pieces of furniture. It’s a very lovely color. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Traci January 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I love it! But not with EVERY color relationship. I think radiant orchid is the best when it’s paired with darker greys. I was just thinking about ways I could add this color into my life, and just realized I’m wearing a (workout) shirt that is exactly the color. Subconsciously already doing it.

  • Reply Allyson January 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Great post Holly and some wonderful inspiration. I typically gravitate towards more warm neutral tones in my decor, but I have to say, after dedicating one room in my home with major influences of purple, pink and teal, colour can be invigorating. Your examples from the post illustrate how to gently incorporate orchid and various hues in that palette, into your decor, without being overpowering. It is a great colour to experiment with using subtle touches like pillows, throws, or other accent decor. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply Polly Rowan January 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I painted my room a pale purple when I was 13 :) I think is is common in young teenage girls!
    It was interesting to read about the background of the colour purple, and I like it best in that shot with the traditional textiles.

    This post made me think of Marie in Breaking Bad who decorates EVERYTHING in purple! You should watch it if you haven’t already x

    • Reply decor8 January 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      @Polly – Never saw Breaking Bad but that character sounds funny!

  • Reply Mel Smith January 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I absolutely love this colour with yellow. They’re opposites on the colour wheel, aren’t they?

    I love black and purple together and wasn’t sure how to brighten it up but yellow is the way forward for me, definitely.

    The ceiling stripes are gorgeous – so bold. Not sure if I’m brave enough, mind.

    I’m off to buy some throw cushions…

  • Reply Charlene January 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Love, love, love that striped ceiling! I’m not a teenager, but I still love it. As I’ve read, the ceiling is the new accent wall. :)

    So silly of me that I never even thought about using real orchids for decorating, to pull in the colors. Fantastic idea. I’m excited to see what I can do with radiant orchid and its sister colors. Yay!

  • Reply Renee January 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of any shade of purple and when I heard about the new colour of the year I was afraid. I must admit you might have swayed me to the purple side a bit with this post!

  • Reply Adventuress Chronicles January 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Great ideas! I think Radiant Orchid is perfect as pops of color with more neutral tones. I am redecorating my home office and I am considering a shade of purple that looks grey or lavender depending on the light, and keeping my mostly white furnishings. I might throw in some Radiant Orchid and yellow accessories now, from seeing these images you have shared. Thanks!

  • Reply Jennifer Coyle January 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I will be moving into my own place in March and LOVE these inspiration images. Radiant Orchid will definitely be my friend!

  • Reply Sarah January 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    LOVE your examples and I would love to try a color like this – I think its all about about being subtle with the color. One of my favorite layouts in House Beautiful of a house in New Orleans by Hal Williamson had beautiful tones of lavender and before this, I had never seen any I liked. Good luck with the baby!! xo

  • Reply Gwen. The Makerista January 21, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I have been loving lilacs and lavenders for a while, and this fall was really feeling a darker plum. I did a project this fall that included both and it was published this month.

    Thanks of the inspiration and I love the idea of “wrongness.” I do feel like every space need a little quirk!

  • Reply kate spain January 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Love this spread and the recommendations, esp. about “Flower power!” and incorporating a little “wrongness.” Looking forward to your book w/ Leslie Shewring, Decorate With Flowers. Cheers! kate

  • Reply Jessica January 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I’ve heard different perspectives on this years color, some pretty negative, but I actually really enjoy this color. As you explained its perfect in accent pieces mixed with other colors and for that perfect amount of ‘wrongness’ in a space. I also happen to LOVE grays and will be updating my living room with light gray walls and a charcoal gray sofa this year so it orchid will be just the right addition to the space as I progress.

    Thanks for such juicy post!

  • Reply Lisa @ Lisas Creative Designs January 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Beautiful photos! Shades of purple are my favorite. Ironically I don’t have much of it in my own home. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Lynne January 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    While all the examples shown are lovely (although purple is not a personal favorite) I can’t help but wonder why we would care that Pantone wants us to give their color of the year a go? Why should we feel obligated to work it out in a way that works for just because they told us to? I realize that it drives commercial ventures but really, let’s not allow ” Madison Avenue” to have so much influence on us. As consumers it would seem that they should be more concerned with the direction we want to nudge them in. Just saying.

    • Reply decor8 January 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      @Lynne – No one feels obligated – I don’t! But it’s fun to examine color, especially those we don’t normally run to – so I love it when trend forecasters give us new colors to explore. I think it helps a lot of people to break out of color ruts.

  • Reply anastasia January 21, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    its a beautiful colour!!! i was planning a blog post about the colour too!! great selection of images…

  • Reply Lisa Barton @ Vintage Celebrations January 22, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I think kit’s a beautiful colour oozing opulence, glamour & girliness all at the same time :) My 4 daughters would certainly love it especially teamed with a rich cream, silver grey, latte or a hint of pink. It’s certainly not the most eyebrow raising of pantone colour predictions this year as I blogged about a few weeks ago…

  • Reply Eriana Bredenhann January 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Well done Holly! For taking such an awkward colour and writing a Blog where you transform this Orchid into a colour I now think I will just have to try somewhere! Who would have thought? (I see your own bold typo on your Blog matches the Orchid very well :-)

    • Reply decor8 January 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      @Eriana Bredenhann – What typo? Please advise so I may correct it. Thanks!

  • Reply Mary January 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I didn’t think I would like Radiant Orchard but after this I love it thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Frida January 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Very inspiring, thank you.
    But I think dark is the new white in 2014. Hugs, Frida

  • Reply Molly {Dreams in HD} January 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    great tips! i love the color alone, but still unsure about a lot of the color pairings. for me it is definitely in small doses (love the painted stool and the rugs}.

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • Reply Faith | Ordinary Mommy Design January 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    GORGEOUS! So many fabulous ideas. I think I like the throw pillows and rugs best- a big plus is that they’re easy to change out.

  • Reply Charlene January 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Mel Smith,

    Mel, I agree about combining the orchid color with the pops of yellow. I’m normally not a huge yellow fan, but in the picture it gave the room such a fresh, fun, vibrant feel that I might have to buy some sunshine yellow accents!

  • Reply Marie Solveg January 22, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Very beuatiful with the purple colour all round.
    I like it a lot, iam inspired.


  • Reply Elisabeth January 22, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Lovely inspiration! I so agree with less is more!

    E from Helsinki, Finland

  • Reply elisa rohner January 23, 2014 at 3:45 am

    I never thought that I liked that colour so when the Pantone announcement arrived in my in box I cried’No!’ But your post reminded me that you can always like pretty much any colour depending upon juxtaposition, intensity and texture. Loved the vintage velvet sofa. Then I discovered that I had the colour in my own kitchen, a komachi knife on the magnet set. Take a look at the link.

  • Reply Ashleigh - Lust Creative January 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hello Holly!
    I was so excited to see this post pop int my mailbox as I did a ‘styling with Radiant Orchid’ post on my blog this week too! –
    Mine was event styling, but I agree with you, it is a tricky colour to master. I wasn’t a fan at first but it has grown on me, and I personally love seeing it paired with coral or kelly green.
    Ashleigh xxoo

  • Reply Chi chi Furniture January 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Fab post. I definitely agree that its an uplifting and bold colour without being overpowering – sums it up perfectly. It can be seen as quite a feminine colour so I can understand why the odd pop of colour might suit more than a whole room painted in it. The stools and sofas in orchid really look great and lift the room in a subtle way. Upholstered furniture or/and painted furniture can be the perfect way to introduce a colour to a room without it being ‘too much’. I also think the girls room with stripy ceiling is wonderful. Its creates layers and intrigue.

  • Reply Lisa | Happy By January 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    There are always ways to incorporate a new trend/color into your home if you really fancy change, but I particularly like the above ones because they range from bold to a hint and from accessories to wall colors. I personally like orchid paired with muted/moody hues, like lilac grays, white, cream, dust pinks, mauve etc.

  • Reply Kasia January 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Beautiful and unique interiors! I love all the orchid features and the abundance of cushions is great!

  • Reply nadine January 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    It’s true that it ‘s not easy to combine but I really like that color, it’s dynamic!

  • Reply Stephanie January 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    While this color won’t be one that appears in my own home I did like the room by Domino where it is very subtle.

  • Reply Donia January 24, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Yes – I prefer it paired with neutrals like in this painting.
    Carole Poirot,

  • Reply Celine H January 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

    There are some lovely ideas here but I’m still not completely convinced about the color – I think it really is a bit overpowering and ‘pops’ of bright color in otherwise neutral settings is quite a dated trend. Then again, I like it used as the darker end of a general pastel purple color scheme in a room.

    • Reply decor8 January 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      @Celine H – I still love the look of brights against neutrals but maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of Scandinavian, Dutch and Australian magazines and I love LA styles!

  • Reply Sarah January 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I love seeing this as I just redid my apartment with purples, greys, creams and yellows!! Beautiful!!

  • Reply Mimi January 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I would absolutely add the color to a room. I’d probably do it in pillows or flowers, since I’m a floral designer. My bedroom is painted in the palest shade of paint you showed and I absolutely love it. I chose it about 3 years ago. Feminine, but I grounded it with black with silvery touches. It’s a very relaxing shade. I love the concept of adding a little “wrong” to a room. It totally works, but I never quite knew what to call it. I use the concept when I create vignettes for our boutique flower shop or tablescapes for special events. Great post!

  • Reply Celine H January 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm


    Yeah I think it is quite an LA look – maybe my East Coast upbringing is coming in to play here!

  • Reply Emma Harris January 28, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Gorgeous color! I did not know this is the color of the year until I read this! Because it is a pretty bold color, the key is adding bits and pieces of it scattered in a room.

  • Reply Severina January 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

    It’s a fairy tale, Holly! Wish you all the best for the delivery and the time to come after it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Anna February 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I see lots of good ideas in one article. Perfect! Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Reply Astrid July 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Way ahead of you. I’ve used orchids, purples, and pinks all over my homes for years. Visitors most often amazed that you don’t have to play safe with neutrals! I even have a contemporary orchid fireplace built over the typical brick one. Getting ready to use those colors in my kitchen make over, as it is open to the family room that has the orchid fireplace and purple carpeting. Color really puts life in your day!

  • Reply trav475 August 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Great ideas! Sumptuously!

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