Archive | Color

Theory, practice and inspirational ideas for using color in various ways on objects and surfaces throughout the house.

Fresh Green Accents

green accents in the interior of a painted Swedish secretary - Tone on Tone via Atticmag

Green accents — the color of leaves, fresh herbs and new grass — keeps any room from ever looking gloomy.

We’re on the brink of Winter here in the Northern hemisphere, with our first snows due any day. Perhaps that’s why spring green accents used in these rooms feels so appealing. Swedish painted furniture often has a surprise color inside. This wonderful greig-y Neoclassical secretary with apple green on the interior drawers and desk top is so unexpected. It was pictured in the home of furniture dealer Loi Thai of Tone on Tone antiques in Washington, D.C. I’ve long been an admirer of his taste.… Continue Reading


Shocking Pink Rooms

shocking pink rooms - shocking pink antique Chinese handpainted wallpaper - via atticmag

Hot or shocking pink is one of those colors that’s been more associated with fashion than home decor.

A high voltage, sometimes neon hue in the blue-red family, hot pink became shocking after fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli called her signature perfume “Shocking” in 1936 and marketed it as a signature color.

Of course, hot pink has been in the Indian palette for eons and it appears on building exteriors there, as well as other tropical countries. Shocking pink rooms are a different matter. Even for pink lovers it isn’t an especially easy wall color. Children love it so there’s an inclination to promote pink rooms for young girls or reserve it for a “mom cave.” Yet the stunning shocking pink walls in a New York bedroom [above] date back to the early 19th century when China’s Canton school produced hand painted wallpapers.… Continue Reading


Hydrangea Colors House

blue painted furniture in the dining room of a Massachusetts beach house - hutker architects via atticmag

In a Martha’s Vineyard beach house, the variegated hues of Nikko hydrangeas become a bold accent color.

The dining room of this spacious, open plan house shows how two approaches to home decor can be combined. First there is the type of all over wood-plank paneling often associated with the interiors of boats. Then there is the intense blue painted furniture with its cottage-on-steroids look. That same blue-violet palette was a favorite in the Hydrangea Colors Kitchen we featured here some time ago. Now, that kitchen serves as a prequel to the rest of the house.

This long view into the kitchen provides a general idea of the color scheme there.… Continue Reading


Mixed Color Decor

mixed color decor in the Fig House Lounge— stylebyemilyhenderson via atticmag

Vintage and historical color schemes are being remixed and sampled with fascinating results.

Some of this mixed color decor is intense and based on the saturated fuchsias, jades, saffrons and aquas found in Chinese Art Deco rugs made for export from the 1920s until the eve of World War II. Those are sorely out of fashion now though they can be considered bohemian. Some of it’s a hijack of the historical Rococo palette — sky blue, cotton-candy pink and celadon green — that turns it into a confetti riot. All of it’s interesting because we’re seeing staid color traditions from past centuries reinterpreted in unexpected ways.… Continue Reading


Sevres Blue Obsession

sevres blue house trim – Veranda via Atticmag

This 300-year old hue is rarely seen today, yet it’s one of my favorite house colors.

Psychologists probably wouldn’t give me a positive assessment for being a blue-and-white person. Orange is happier. Yellow more cheerful. And gray is far more soothing. Still, I’ve come to terms with my blue walls and blue furniture and a front door painted

Sèvres or Cerulean blue which went out of style when Marie Antoinette lost her head — and never returned. But those of us who revere the 18th century adore Sèvres blue as a choice for exterior house components such as shutters, gates, planters, trim, fences and doors.… Continue Reading


House of Orange

orange-painted front door-thefrenchtangerine via atticmag

I keep reading that orange home decor isn’t a favorite. That’s so untrue!

I keep seeing orange used on everything from contemporary shower faucets to kitchen cabinets, likely due to the long, strong revival of mid-20th century furniture and accessories. Orange was a much-favored hue in the 1960s when Scandinavian and German designers dominated contemporary aesthetics. While orange home decor may be a slight hangover now, it reads as unexpected and refreshing – consider the impact of a traditional front door [top] which looks like it might be from a house in the Carribbean. Or Holland. Or Copenhagen.

Orange on the base of the island creates a lively focal point in this mid-20th century revival kitchen.… Continue Reading