Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Allure of Orange

Generally, I do not consider myself to be a fan of orange. Not even when it is called a more artistic name, such as coral or pompeii red or vermilion. I never (never) wear it. Yet, if you look around my house, there are definitely signs of more than a passing interest in orange. My dining room is glazed a beautiful shade of burnt orange (it truly glows at night), and there are a few orange accents around my living room. And, for some reason, orange seems to be one of the recurring themes in my decor 'style file'.

Recently, I visited the wonderful Atlanta store Pieces. Many of their goods are sold online, and they also sell on 1st Dibs. When I saw this beautiful orange cabinet, I was truly inspired:

The color is magnificent in person; both creamy and bright, it would define a room. The fretwork detail is lovely.

So I decided to write about orange today. In color theory, orange is the complementary color to blue because they reside directly opposite of one another on the color wheel. The thought is that blue and orange create maximum contrast, and therefore create a visual energy when together. Orange and blue are quite frequently paired together in art and design to reflect this synergy.

Interior design by Kate Ridder

Robert Thomas Collection for Edward Ferrell/Lewis Mittman - Side Chair (top), Des Vosges console
Ammuneal polished aluminum salon chair (featured in H&G - looked more orange in the magazine!)

A room by Kate Ridder....these window treatments make the room

Degas, Dancers at the Barre, c. 1900, Phillips Collection

One of my favorite paintings of all time, Renoir's A Girl with a Watering Can, 1876, at the National Gallery of Art. Note the beautiful vermilion bow, which contrasts so beautifully with the blue dress.

Atlanta artist Rena Rochat; a hint of blue makes this painting sing even more

Orange is often matched with brown too.

700 Drayton dining room, Savannah. Note the orange chandelier and the bombe chests

Interior design by Wallace Bryan, picture by Erica George Dines

Orange also stands alone quite well. Here are some other inspiring orange images that were worth including.

Mark Rothko. An unusual color combination (not sure if I like it), but it makes a striking painting.

Photo by Annie Schlechter
Council Furniture nesting tables

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  1. It looks to me like you ARE a fan of orange. You have given me inspiration in this posting. I have a pine armoire that I have been pondering on a paint color for. I was going to redo it in cream, now I know it will have it's reincarnation in orange like the walls in your dining room -glazed a beautiful shade of burnt orange. Please do post a picture of your dining room. It sounds beautiful.

  2. Funny how you can grow to love a color you thought you didn't particularly like! In the right setting, the right shade, with the right stuff, all colors can be beautiful! Lovely post!

  3. Beautiful photos. I recently noticed more orange accents turning up in my house. Little things like china, and pillows that compliment the more prominent blues and greens. It is funny how these things organically happen as I too never considered myself to be an orange kind of person.

  4. Sarah,

    Isn't that cabinet wonderful in person? I thought Lee made a great choice with the color!

  5. Hi everyone- thanks for the comments! This was a fun post to write.

  6. I LOVE ORANGE . In our french south decoration we use it a lot and it looks wonderful . Love this post

  7. Although orange isn't my color I enjoy your post,I prefer orange & brown to blue&orange,and also i think gray match is pink not orange,that's just an idea;)

  8. I, on the other hand, am always drawn to orange. It is energetic, dynamic and full of warmth. In summer is inspires and in cooler months it reminds you of fire and heat. Orange in its many incarnations is always fun.

    But orange is also really making a comeback...so it's no wonder so many are noticing it is popping up in our homes and closets. It is always important to make sure oyu really like a color though... don't let the tastemakers of the world decide for you! ;)

  9. Wonderful post. Orange is such a great impact color. It seems to be on the rise replacing reds for the moment. Isn't it strange how many people are comfortable living with a color in their homes that they would never wear in their wardrobe. Go Figure!

  10. Great post - orange is an amazing colour. I don't think I could personally use it in huge chunks, but I have lots of accessories and cushions in various shades, and I do love them.

  11. I was at the Salone de Mobile in Milan 2 years ago (going again this year!) and orange was everywhere. I was told that trends take about 3 years to make it from there to here. Hey, they were right! I love orange, too. Almost as much as I love red.

  12. I have grown to become a fan of orange. My husband loves the color and it has grown on me. So much so that I'm just starting to redo an office and have incorporated a 60's style lamp with an orange base and other hints of orange around the room. It's a fun color to work with.


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