With Halloween approaching, having orange decor at home may seem like a terrifying prospect. Indeed, interior designers and paint pros warn clients that when it comes to this color, caution is a must.
“Orange sparks controversy and strong reactions,” notes Rebekah Clark, owner of Decorating Dens Interiors at Clark Team Designs. Generally, you either love it or hate it.
“Orange is one persnickety color, because it goes from burnt umber to caution cone very fast,” points out Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency.
This is a shade best suited for an extroverted homeowner, as it exudes enthusiasm, excitement, and warmth, adds Clark.
And if you’re a fan, orange is currently having a moment.
For most homeowners, baby steps are recommended. To help, here are nine ways to work this unusual shade in your home.
1. Orange up your door
“You’re adding interest, creating a focal point, and improving your curb appeal—all at once,” he says.
2. Enliven a half-bath
Color pops work well in small spaces, including a hallway, wet bar, or half-bath.
“This deep, multidimensional color receded into the background while the white porcelain fixtures became the visual superstars,” he says.
3. Accent a wall with orange
Draw the eye toward and make a statement with an orange wall, especially if the idea is to use the color with intensity, offers Clark.
“Otherwise, apply it in small increments, such as painted on the backs of bookcase bays, as accent chairs, lamps, or other accessories,” she adds.
4. Mute the intensity
If you’re daring enough to give over a whole room to orange, consider picking a muted shade, suggests Liz Toombs, president of PDR Interiors.
“If the color is too bright or bold, it could easily overwhelm your space,” she warns.
Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP likes a desaturated tint of orange.
“A soft peach kitchen would look lovely if the color of the cabinets, counters, and flooring all support this shade,” Gray-Plaisted says.
5. Create a moody study
Orange pairs nicely with earth tones such as brown and beige, making it a prime candidate for a man cave or study, according to Gray-Plaisted.
“Try a dark orange tone here, such as Cavern Clay from Sherwin-Williams,” she says.
6. Make coming home fun
Orange, like red, is an energetic color that inspires playfulness, notes Toombs. Paint this shade in your entryway, mud room, or even laundry room, which may make sorting and folding a bit less like drudgery.
7. Give it to the kids
Who better to live with orange than your wild child? Use this punchy, exciting shade on a room for rambunctious kids, whether boys or girls.
When Riordan was going through the adoption process and didn’t know if a boy or girl was coming, he painted the nursery walls orange.
“We decided to toss out pink and blue and go with Charlotte’s Locks from Farrow & Ball, which was the perfect partner to our mahogany crib—and our son,” he says.
8. Avoid odd color pairings
Frankly, unless you’re specifically striving for a Halloween look, avoid pairing orange and black, says Jamie Novak, author of “Keep This Toss That.”
“And pink clashes with orange—it’s a definite ‘don’t,’” she adds. Also, steer clear of terra cotta at all costs, especially if you want to sell.
“I’ve heard that homes with this shade in the living room sell for less than their expected value,” she explains.
9. Mix and match
Blue is the complementary color to orange—but stay within the same saturation when you mix the two, say the pros.
“You can accomplish this by choosing an orange and a blue that are in the same section of the paint chart in stores,” says Toombs.
Orange and aqua are fabulous together, says Novak. “If you already have these tones in your room, enhance them with a dash of orange in a pillow or table runner,” she says.
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