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All About [Hermes] Orange

By 12/22/2009January 26th, 201737 Comments

Lately I have been in love with Hermes orange, and then I realized it could be considered a festive as well because it’s also the colour of tangerines which you only get at Christmas!

The following is mostly from Leatrice Eisman’s book All About Colour:

‘Did you know there was no word for orange in Europe until the fruit arrived? Oranges became known as the fruit of the gods, of emperors and kings.

Eventually orange was impressively integrated into fine art available only to a privileged society and finally to the masses when oranges were imported.’

‘The mid 20th century the popularity of orange dropped among the elite as the color was adapted not for fine dining but in fast food restaurants. But the 90’s saw a ‘rebirth’ of orange in the high fashion world, there was also the explosion of more vibrant color, including orange, in industrial design and consumer products.’

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‘Because orange is closely associated to red from which it comes, vibrant orange is a very physical, high-visibility colour, calling for attention. And because of it’s connection to sunny yellow, orange is seen as friendlier and more approachable, less aggressive than red—a gregarious, fun-loving hue.’

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‘Many of the names attached to various shades of orange are also the names of foods, tangerine, nectarine, pumpkins and persimmons!’


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Hermes and Tiffanys are the two signature colours that are the most famous! I read that a customer bought a set of Hermes china just so they could display the boxes around the house!

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What a fabulous staircase this is with the accent orange stripe added next to the molding!


‘There is no better example of the use of orange than the mesmerizing fascination it holds in attracting the human eye than in a tropical sunset or the crackling embers of a fire on a cold winter night.’


‘Orange may not be everyone’s favourite colour but the need to observe and experience it’s warmth is inescapable!’

Orange trivia from Color: Messages and Meanings.


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  • Paloma {La Dolce Vita} says:

    I too, adore this color. Thanks for the great post!

  • Karena says:

    Maria, I have definitely used more golden, oranges, bronzes reds in my art. It does add great warmth!!

  • laurelstreet says:

    That is a glorious staircase! I think every room needs a touch of orange – great finds!

  • Annie says:

    I too am a fan of orange & love the photos you have used! I love using orange in my house b/c it seems so unexpected and fun! My mother has an entirely orange kitchen & it's fantastic! I think it's definitely under-utilized by most home owners!

  • Visual Vamp says:

    Joni from Cote de Texas just talked about this on The Skirted Roundtable!
    I do a Tiffany blue Christmas tree and decor that was kindly featured, and she mused about doing an Hermes inspired decor in the vein of my Holly Golightly Christmas tree!
    I think you should do it for next year! Start collecting those gorgeous boxes to put under the tree!
    xo xo

  • Stacey says:

    Wonderful post! I drive people crazy with my obsession with orange. It's actually a great accent for blues, greens, browns.. it goes so well with so many things! I use it all the time.

  • Anonymous says:

    What's the origin of that first picture. I'd like to see the rest of the room (for other reasons – large framed pictures – and how they work in a room – currently a debate in my house).

  • Tara says:

    I knew this about orange, and strangely, I met a suit salesman that was explaining the history of colors to my husband and I. He informed us that Orange is the Class-less color and that is why it is perfect for Home Depot and not for a man's necktie. Tiffany's started the blue box in 1837 Hermes started using orange boxes in 1951. I do love the first picture on this post!

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Anonymous,
    So sorry I don't have the source of the first image, I had it all linked up and then my Windows Live Writer crashed and I only had the images on snag-it but without the sources.

  • Anonymous says:

    In my country home, I have an orange kitchen-dining and it looks fabulous with my antique-older wood pieces. The wood just seems to come alive against orange. And the surprising fact is I did this about six years ago and I still love the color. Another thing i discovered is that it goes with almost any colour!

  • Design Junkie says:

    I love, love, love orange. One of my big disappointments is that it is such an unflattering color for me to wear. I've made up for that by painting my dining room and stair hall in my favorite orange paint, Sherwin Williams's Truepenny…its one of those colors that looks blah on the swatch but fantastic in real life. I think life would be better if more people decorated with organge.

  • spark! (Ada-Marie) says:

    Orange gets such a bad rap! Thanks for the great post on this awesome color. My kitchen is orange and I love it!

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Love orange. Love Hermes. Love your blog.
    I did a course about Baroque Interiors and Decoration at the V&A and we discussed quite a lot the Orange Symbol as it was a fruit imported from other continents which represented richness (unique and new) and exotic (colour and smell). My favourite trees are orange and lemon tree.

  • Greet says:

    I loved reading this post! I love orange a lot. In mostly every room of my house you will find an accent of orange! And my bedroom is painted in a shade or orange! So I am always happy when awakening!


  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    Love this post, Maria. I hated orange as a child growing up in the 70s-as you said it was the colour of fast food restaurants. I still dislike it as used by A&W and Home Depot-too solid and plastic perhaps?. But Now I love orange-especially the soft colour of an orange creamsicle and the deep russet colour that so suits velvet upholstry. I love orange with deep turquiose and with rich plum colours. It looks great with green and is one of my favourites in the garden. Nasturtiums and poppies and sunflowers oh my! I look great in orange but not yellow-not sure why but if anyone know you will.

  • DesignTies says:

    You know I LOVE orange! I can't imagine my home without it!!
    Victoria @ DesignTies

  • Laura Trevey says:

    Gorgeous inspiration!!
    I love aqua and orange together ~~

    Merry Merry ~~

  • Debra Phillips says:

    maria, i too love orange esp. hermes!
    when in graphics class our instructor discussed color. of orange he said it is the color of excitement. he also said to pay close attention to the evening news…….85% will use a backdrop of orange and a vivid blue, how true!

  • Rachel says:

    i adore orange. my theory is that Christo's "Gates" in NYC's Central Park played a huge role in it's resurgence.

  • Corey says:

    You know, I've always been troubled by orange. It's not red, it's not yellow – WHAT IS IS!?! Who likes it? When does orange enter the design vocabulary? Thanks for clearing it up!

  • Maria Killam says:

    To whom it may concern,
    This post is indeed directly quoted from Lee Eisman's book which credit has been given at the beginning and at the end of this post. I don't have anything new to say about the psychology of colour, she says it best, and I have never tried to claim her words as my own.

  • kelly@TearingUpHouses says:

    i found it so interesting that there used to be no word for orange in europe! who knew?!

  • WiseWoman says:

    The tangerines are so beautiful this year, too –every one I've had has been sweet and delicious. Good year for orange(s).

  • sallymandy says:

    Hi Maria. I've never considered myself a fan of orange, but your post made me reconsider. The reddish orange of your first photo is beautiful and, of course, all oranges are warm. Maybe it's more attractive now in winter, when outside all is gray, white, and slushy. 🙂

    Have a lovely holiday. Sallymandy

    (I wish my computer loaded the pictures on your site faster. It takes a long time!)

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    I love orange as an accent color in an all white and black room, The image of the orange boxes stacked on those shelves is just beautiful.
    Great post Maria.
    Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday!


  • Geli says:

    Orange is my color!!
    My living room and kitchen walls are orange – have
    been for at least 8 years and I still don't get tired
    of it. It's such a versatile color and good mood inducing as well. In Europe, orange is used more
    often and boldly than in the U.S. probably the association with Halloween is a factor. That's what
    my kid's playmates always said: "You're lucky! You
    have Halloween all year long"……hand me a candy 😉

  • Jill Seidner | Interior Design says:

    I love Hermes orange too…and there's just something about those Hermes boxes! 🙂

    Happy Holidays,


  • Tonia says:

    MMmmmm love love love orange!
    My last studio was crisp white with bright orange/red accents. It was really stunning – you'd have loved it I'm sure!

    And yes, those stairs are delicious! Almost like an orange Popsicle!

    Thanks for the post!

  • Jen says:

    Dear Maria,
    thanks for posting comment on a my blog a while back sorry I am late- and here I am drooling because orange is so hot and spicy. I love how it pops color – just did a greige room with orange accent wall and it is yummy.
    Fabulous post as always -Yes I will take the hermes boxes empty 🙂

  • Marlo says:

    I do love orange and find red-orange much sexier than red for some reason – and happier too.

    The pictures are beautiful and inspiring but I have to stop myself from loving them too much or I'll never make a decision on which colour to use next. 🙂

  • VictoriaArt says:

    I lOVE ORANGE!!! It's radiance and joyfulness get's me always! It is so festive and happy!
    My husband gave me years and years ago an orange mohair coat by Mizrahi, I love it so, I probably will never part with it…
    Your pictures are wonderful, I love the first one especially!
    For me a perfectly balanced room!


  • Susan says:

    I especially love orange when it's teamed up with aqua blue. We had an entire fall display in the store done in aqua and oranges it was so fresh.

    The staircase image really is fabulous.

    I'm happy you received your cushion cover in time for Christmas.
    Merry Merry

  • This Photographer's Life says:

    Oh, I'm so happy to read this post. I was in a living room the other day … the walls were white, the carpet was gray with a geometric light light beige pattern, the furniture was all covered in ash/very light blue linen, and then there was a bright Hermes throw over the back of the sofa. It was breathtaking, as the orange was literally the only thing in the room with any real color. It was a Suzanne Kasler room, and I know I am not doing it justice with this description… but it was truly amazing.

    Thank you so much for the post, and Happy Holidays!

  • Bonnie says:

    Enjoy your blog very much. I've always been fascinated by color and am working on remembering all I learn from your posts. Color is both mysterious and challenging to me.

  • rouge says:

    I love orange. The more saturated, the better.

    "'Did you know there was no word for orange in Europe until the fruit arrived? "

    Not to be obtuse, but in that case I wonder what word people used to describe the colour of carrots. Carrot, maybe?!

  • dovecote decor says:

    Hermes Orange is my favorite colour. I painted my trim in my apartment in that color in College. I've always had it in my houses. My last living room was orange with a faint red strie glaze. Sounds horrible, it was fantastic. I've been in NY for a week with my parents, but have a fun yellow sister Parish living room. It is a very happy room. Come visit.

  • well here it is November 2011 and this colour continues to inspire me … love your blog, Maria !

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