“Orange is the happiest color.” Frank Sinatra
The color orange has a strong personality even when muted, so this color works best as an accent or a complimentary color. Because of its strength, orange combines well with almost any neutral and brings great life to even the plainest beiges and grays.
Use these tips when decorating with orange to incorporate this bold, warm color into your own home.
- When you decorate with orange, think balance and contrast. For example, if you choose a strong warm orange, cool it down with a soft lime green. If you choose a light peach color, warm it up with a rich chocolate brown.
- The color orange can be used to create a great accent wall and looks especially well when patterned or textured. If you use a solid orange on an accent wall, break up the strength of it by adding art, molding or other decorative elements.
- Orange is interpreted as being friendly, energetic and welcoming, making orange perfect for foyers and children's rooms or a playroom.
- When building a color scheme with orange, remember the catch phrase, "Muted shades marry." In other words, muted oranges blend well with other muted colors. For example, pair a deep pumpkin shade with a light taupe or cream and warm turquoise blue for a rich yet vibrant color palette.
- And just as muted shades should marry, bright shades of orange mix well with other clear tones. For example, a bright tangerine looks great when partnered with a lime or citrus green, bright sky blue, clear lavender or other strong, unclouded colors.
- Since purple is orange's complementary color - meaning they are opposite each other on the color wheel - orange works especially well with this hue. The warmth of orange plays well with the coolness of purple. Add a neutral like white or khaki for a complete three-color color scheme.
- Muted oranges – often bearing names such as cayenne, pumpkin, copper or adobe – tend to be quite calming and can work well as a dominant color in a room.
- Many medium-toned woods take on an orange hue when put next to the color orange. Orange may work best with very dark or light wood furnishings and decor.
- Orange is a dominant color in many countries and works well with many global styles. (For example, think of the bright cobalt blues and rich terra cottas that inspire beauty across the southwest.) For more on global style color schemes using orange, see our article.
- Since bright orange tends to be more contemporary, it works well in geometric or bold prints. Try using these prints in small amounts, like in drapes, throw pillow or on an accent chair.
- Be wary of purchasing really large furniture pieces, such as a sofa, in orange. Our eyes tend to tire of strong colors more quickly and recovering a sofa or buying a new one can be a costly mistake.
- Orange combined with gray is a very popular choice right now and works great in contemporary spaces. If you love this color scheme but want to make it more traditional, go with a more muted orange then add a creamy off-white to soften orange's strength.
- Unless you need to gain weight, you may want to pause before painting your kitchen or dining room a bold shade of orange. It has been reported that the color orange increases the appetite!