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Here it is: The ultimate guide to orange!

More than just an eye-catching color, orange symbolizes energy, enthusiasm, and warmth. Hues like orange have a great amount of energy, which is why some of us have a visceral reaction to seeing this color. It can feel over the top or too hippie depending on its second & tertiary colors within the color itself. But orange has so many layers and personas, from the sophisticated hue that is the face of the brand Hermes to the earthy tones of terracotta of vacation casitas in Joshua Tree. My job as a color consultant is to consider the impact of all these hues and offer advice on how to really make orange worth the squeeze. 

The History

The history of the color orange dates back centuries ago. While the earliest recorded use of the orange fruit is from the 1300s, the color orange existed without a name until the early 16th century. In Western art, orange came into prominence after the production of the first synthetic orange pigment. One of the most remarkable painters known for his dramatic use of orange is Vincent van Gogh. 

From left to right
Image: Halli Spieker / Design: JG Color Studios
Image: via https://www.tollbrothers.com/
Image: Halli Spieker / Design: JG Color Studios


When looking at the role of orange in interior design, it is often used to evoke optimism and energy. Psychologically, orange offers emotional strength in difficult times and can assist us in bouncing back from disappointments and recovering from grief. Ultimately it’s known for being the color reminiscent of youth and positivity, but it’s also known you stimulate appetite. So if you notice the orange being prominent and at a restaurant, this choice of color may be more intentional than you think!

Image: Photography by Rafael Soldi, courtesy of Shed Architecture & Design


My job as a color consultant is to consider the impact of all the different hues of this color and offer advice on how to really make orange worth the squeeze. When using orange I like the practice of less is more, even if it’s your favorite color (guilty!). If you love it, you’ll likely gravitate to the brighter tones, but don’t go overboard as it can become overwhelming. 

If you want more of a statement, consider painting your front door or an accent wall in a bright glossy hue or add a bold piece of furniture to your living room

If you are not a huge fan of the color orange but need a little burst of energy in a space, bring in a small piece of décor with a softer orange like this beautiful throw by Surya – it wears great with kids and dogs, and is washable! You can also work it orange into your space by using complimentary colors that will tone it down. Neutral colors and orange work really well together, so a decorative orange pillow would feel subtle on gray bedding for example. Check out Target’s sustainable Casaluna rust colored bedding as an option.

Image: Halli Spieker / Design: JG Color Studios
From left to right
Image: Halli Spieker / Design: JG Color Studios
Image by Aaron Bengochea via domino.com
Image: Benjamin Moore paint colors via roomlust.wordpress.com

The design trends for this year have indicated an abundance of earthy tones, and people are continuing to use those burnt oranges and terracottas. Because of this, it may be difficult to find the exact shade and perfect amount of orange that will positively stimulate your senses without feeling too overwhelming. If you feel stuck, consider scheduling a virtual consult with a color expert to help you find your favorites. In the meantime, check our orange Pinterest board and some of our favorites orange hues below from Benjamin Moore.

Most importantly, as a color consultant, I can help you to pick the perfect set of colors! Be sure to contact us here to get started.


We are looking forward to adding color to your life!

Need help finding your favorite combo to use in your most important spaces? Schedule a virtual color consult today by visiting our website @ https://jgcolor.com/virtual-services/ 

Posted by Steffi Reyes-Thomas 2023