Interior Decorating: Spotlight on Orange

It’s the color of popsicles and soda pop in the summer; pumpkins and fall leaves in autumn. You can find the color orange in all kinds of places. But what about orange on the cabinets or walls of your home? How can you effectively decorate with a dynamic color like orange?

Orange is a secondary color, a blend of the heat of red and the cheerfulness of yellow. The color orange nearly sings, radiating warmth and energy. Said to increase the appetite and encourage social interaction, variations of orange are often used by restaurants and eateries.

Psychologically, orange has been known to:

  • offer emotional strength for recovering from disappointment and grief
  • uplift and rejuvenate the spirit
  • encourage spontaneity and a positive attitude
  • relate to adventure, curiosity, and risk taking
  • inspire confidence, competition, and independence
  • stimulate social communication

The color orange has some negative associations as well. Such words associated with orange include:

  • superficial, insincere
  • self-indulgent, overly proud
  • inexpensive

Now that we more fully understand orange, let’s see how to make it work inside of a home.

Orange in The Living Room The image below shows variations of orange used to create an atmosphere that encourages communication and creativity. A few chairs are gathered informally around a sleek An orange living roomtable, which parallels a retro couch, inviting one to curl up with a book or two. A black-and-white oversized picture of a bespectacled man adds an interesting contrast and is well-suited for inspiring curiosity.

Orange in the Kitchen In the next example we see a contemporary kitchen featuring orange lacquered cabinets. Long color blocks of tangerine orange are sleek cabinets; a sink and counter top finish the functional grouping in this modern setting. Translucent orange chairs invite a spontaneous gathering and match the wall and decorative vases.  For some, this decorating style is too extreme. To soften it up, add natural elements – like wreaths, fresh flowers, or even a potted tree. You can also introduce a pattern or texture to break up the long visual lines. In the example below, the intensity of the monochromatic orange color scheme is instantly cooled by the crisp contrast of pure white.

Orange Kitchen

Orange in the Bedroom In this picture the youthful, creative energy of orange is paired with formal, tailored canopies and curtains. The classically-inspired headboards and footboards add weight and substance to the airy creamsicle color scheme. This decorating style would suit a guest room, meant to appeal to a wide range of visitors.
Orange Bedroom

If you are like me, it’s hard to image a room in my own home looking as elegant and put-together as the ones pictured above. Let’s start on a smaller scale to see if orange is well-suited to us, shall we?

Here are some simple (and inexpensive) suggestions for incorporating the color orange into your home:

  • Put some orange silk flowers in a clear vase. Add other flowers in white, yellow, or another color if you choose. For additional appeal, decorative sand, rocks, or marbles can be placed in the jar before the flower stems. All of these items can be found at your local dollar store.
  • Decorate your walls with children’s art. Give your children pieces of heavy weight white paper. Provide orange paints, paintbrushes, and decorative elements (like glitter or stickers). You will be amazed at the masterpieces! When dry, put the masterpiece in a nice frame and hang it on the wall or position on a bookshelf.
  • Colorize one or a group of your favorite photographs with a program like GIMP or Photoshop. With the basic tools in graphics editing software, remove the color from the photograph and then “colorize” to add tones and shades of orange. Print out an 8 x 10 and place in a frame; for a grouping of photos, print in 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 sizes.
  • Scan the shelves of the thrift shop for orange odds ‘n ends to use for home décor. For example, a bright orange mug can become a pen holder for your office; a pretty orange bowl can serve as a candy dish for the coffee table.

Of course, the longer I study the fresh, creative, orange-themed rooms above, the more I want to buy a gallon of tangerine dream and go for it!

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