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Just Add Orange!

Flickr user Robertspeg sent me a lovely little note a few days ago that I’d like to share with you since it gave me a few thoughts on orange that I’ll mention below. She begins, “I loved your orange post today. Orange is a color I never thought I would use in decorating. Then a couple of years ago, I found I really loved it with pink. Now I use it all the time.”


Peggy is right, orange doesn’t always “click” with everyone at first, at least until they spot it mingled with colors they do love. Eureka! A feeling of surprise sets in, orange suddenly becomes your new best friend. Peggy adds that for her, there was a certain something that she had to do to make orange click in her apartment, “I painted the walls white and now I find I use orange, blue and pink constantly. I never thought I would use such a strange color combination.” And it works, as you can clearly see from Peggy’s photos above.

Orange looks great with pink, also with blue (remember this mood board from Starlee Matz?), and of course, green and cocoa brown, too. They all work nicely together in nature, which is where a lot of designers draw their inspiration, so of course they’ll work indoors, too.

Consider the colors of the desert, the coast, a sunset, or those in your flower garden. When I see color combinations in nature that interest me, I photograph it and save for future reference, as these often inspire my own work. Even if you don’t consider yourself a shutterbug, purchase a digital camera and carry it with you at all times. Just the other day, I saw the most beautiful whitetail and I asked my husband to photograph it (I wasn’t patient enough to chase it as he was!) because it was so pretty – the gorgeous blue body combined with silvery gray wings with cocoa accents. It made me think of a room where the key color is blue, accented with gray and of course, some cocoa and silver.

Artists have looked to nature for inspiration over the centuries, so when decorating your home, look to color combinations outdoors as your guide and let them ignite your creative spark. With every photo I take, I’m stopping to “smell the roses” and it feels so good. Not only am I looking for terrific color combinations, but in the process I discover beautiful little creatures, flowers, plants, all that I may have missed otherwise.

Maybe this weekend, you can carry your camera with you and snap some photos of terrific color combinations in nature? It’s a fun study and will most definitely fire up your imagination. You’ll be surprised to see what you find. :)

(images from robertspeg)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Color Inspiration, inspiration, Rooms on June 29, 2007

How about orange…

Loving all this orange? There’s even a blogger obsessed with this zesty hue. Meet Chicago-based graphic designer Jessica Jones right here.


Want to see a “real home” infused with this invigorating color? Remember the the mini peek we had of Jonathan Lo’s California home back in August 2006? Click here to view the post.

(images from how about orange and happy mundane)

Posted in Color Inspiration on June 27, 2007

Orange Interiors

When looking for great rooms online to inspire your next decorating project, why not turn to the magazines and designers that you love. Living Etc., Domino, House Beautiful, David Hicks, and many others top my list. Here are a few of my favorites, in orange, of course. ;)

via: Parker Palm Springs, guest room designed by Jonathan Adler.

via: Living Etc.

And here are some vintage Heywood Wakefield chairs in orange that I found at the Brimfield show back in May. What do you think of these? Wild, huh!?

And for more orange inspiration today, visit my flickr set: Orange! You can click on any image to see the full view, and if you’re a flickr member, you can add any of them to your faves if you see something you like.

{I’m off for the afternoon to see Morrissey in concert (swoon!) with my friend Paris. It’s our ritual, we see him together whenever he’s in town, and tonight he happens to be over at Harbor Lights. I’m so excited, I’m a huge Morrissey fan! See you tomorrow!}

Posted in Color Inspiration, inspiration on June 26, 2007

Color Theory 101

Whether orange (a secondary color) has you at hello, or doesn’t quite attract your attention, you can’t deny the strength it has when correctly used in an room. I thought it would be fun to pull some of the pages from my color relationship notebook from a color theory class I completed a few years ago to show you a few examples of color relationships when orange is involved.

Here’s a modified triad. You are mixing various tints and tones on the color wheel in yellow-green, yellow-orange, and red-orange.

This is a complementary color scheme in orange and blue. Blue calms the intensity of orange, so there’s a nice balance here.

And this is what you’d call monotone in yellow-orange. Notice how muted and soft orange can become?

Isn’t it fascinating to see the color wheel in action? I highly suggest purchasing one (they’re around $3 at any craft or art supply store), and either taking a color theory class at your local college, or find something reliable online where you can learn the basic principles. I prefer the classroom experience myself, as you are able to receive honest critiques, which I find are essential to growth, at least for me. Plus, color theory class is more than creating binders and clipping from magazines. You have to do a lot of painting, sometimes with tears because the process can be strenuous, but in the end, 100% worth it. Here’s a little color theory intro to get you started…

(images from Holly Becker for decor8)

Posted in Color Inspiration on June 26, 2007

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