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Can White be a lonely Colour?

By 02/16/2009January 23rd, 201719 Comments

I watched ‘Little Man Tate’ starring Jodi Foster this weekend, where her son, a child prodigy gets asked the question; “I wonder why Van Gogh painted only one white iris in this piece?” He answered “Because he was lonely”.

Iris by Vincent Van Gogh
The meaning of each colour has two sides, (like most things in life) the positive and the negative. White signifies peace, purity, innocence, cleanliness, simplicity and the other side is coldness, clinical, surrender, fear and winter. Too much white symbolizes sterility, loneliness or isolation.
Jonathan Adler
If you have too much white in your space, orange is a great colour to add because it creates happiness, joy and social gatherings! It is believed to enhance communication, positive feelings and a happy crowd!

Or you could simply paint a den that you might spend a lot of time in; a warm, cozy orange. People feel warm in an orange room without even having to turn the thermostat up! Physiologically though, this reaction only lasts for approximately 15 minutes and then the body re-adjusts, however, who wouldn’t want a room in the house that made you feel warmer just by walking into it!

One of my favourites as a wall colour is 2158-20 – Venetian Gold by Benjamin Moore.

Most people have a strong reaction to orange. We either love it or hate it. How do you feel about orange?

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  • michelle says:

    I think it’s about balance, and our chance for a break of the eye. In renedering, it’s used to represent light, or reflection.

    I love orange! not full saturation, but a brown orange, more like you have here. Then, I go opposite it on the colour wheel for a great complimentary colour.

    Maybe that’s why I love that mossy green with rust combo so much! In Holland, it’s the colour of creativity.

    Great Post!

  • Live In Full Color says:

    I also ADORE orange decors… a few years back I repainted my red and cream dining room in a combination of Benjamin Moore’s Pumpkin Cream ( below the chair rail) and Crisp Khaki ( upper wall ). The khaki is an ethereal pale green color that changes throughout the day, while the orange remains a solid, exciting ( but never loud ) color.

    I think using a deep rustic orange color where you might traditionally use red ( rugs, pillows, front doors or in my case dining room walls ) gives a home an instant jolt of sophistication.

  • DesignTies says:

    I like orange too 🙂 I actually painted our master bedroom orange even before we moved into our house. But I just couldn’t figure out how to decorate the bedroom and get it to feel the way I wanted it to. I eventually painted over the orange.

    Which brings to mind a question…. if you have a large orange piece of furniture in a room, what are the best colours to use on the walls and other pieces of furniture in the room??

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    It depends on what kind of orange it is. If it’s a bright orange, introduce a warm taupy gray like BM CC-500 Ranchwood with white and choclate, if it’s a more muted orange you have a lot more flexibility, you could introduce a goldy beige like HC-28 Shelbourne Buff. The complement blue but in a muted blue/green like CC-680 Raindance. Those aren’t the only options of course but you get the idea 🙂

  • DesignTies says:

    As it happens Maria, I recently painted my new dining room in an orange – BM’s Bronze Tone as a matter of fact. I love it! Now I’m trying to figure out what I want on the walls!! 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by and checking out Kate’s fireplace facade… it was a fantastically fun project!

    Victoria @ DesignTies

  • DesignTies says:

    I should clarify… what I want on the walls in terms of art. I can’t decide between a large mirror (it would reflect a nice view from the window) or some abstract paintings or a photograph montage… hmmmm… decisions!

  • DesignTies says:

    Thanks for the colour suggestions, Maria 🙂

    I’m going to post about my orange decorating dilemma tomorrow — if you have a chance, please drop by and check it out. I’d really love to hear your thoughts on the room and how to decorate around the large orange piece of furniture that I’m working with…. is that enough of a teaser?! 😉

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  • Patricia Gray says:

    I never noticed the one white Iris before!!! How’s that for my powers of observation. Duh. Well you can never convince me of the negatives of white, as I love, love white – that is ‘Patricia Gray White’ – all soft and transparent and reflective. But I am also a lover of Orange and that Venetian Gold is yummy.

  • Wise Space says:

    I didn’t like orange at all when I was young. In fact I remember Frank Sinatra saying “Orange is the happiest colour” and used it in his paintings. I wondered what was wrong with him. Then a few years ago I fell in love with orange. I can’t say how it happened but when it did, I thought of Frank. He was right. Orange makes me happy. Though I only like bright orange and as far away from brown as possible – the kind of orange that I could take a bite out of.

  • brillante home decor says:

    As you said “orange is a nice colour to add” as an accent colour in the first two pictures.
    Too much orange like in the last image is making me uncomfortable.
    I love your suggestion of orange with white but also your idea of orange with warm taupy grey and chocolate.
    A cooler shade of grey will also be sophisticated.
    So many choices, so many beautiful colours.

  • TheFinishingTouch says:

    Orange is a great mood changer. If you believe in color therapy, it is the color for ideas and mental concepts. It can electrify your creativity, and who wouldn’t want that! Because, as you said, people have such strong reactions to it, it can be a too overpowering. I agree with posters above. Pairing it with greens (and blues!) or using muted shades of orange are great ideas. Also, if you stick with orange accents in neutral settings, you can always redecorate easily if need be. 🙂

  • Pam Kersting says:

    I love it! And I find this very interesting. My house is very contemporary with floor to ceiling windows. Because of this, we didn’t want a lot of color on the walls, so we have white walls. Our floors are Brazilian cherry which is a warm color. So I picked out oriental rugs with reds, oranges and jewel tones. Also, I added pillows with bright orange colors in them for the dark sage green sofa. I naturally went with the orange!

  • Meade Design Group says:

    Love the fabric in the sofa (Elle Decor) I wonder why people is so afraid of using pattern ???

  • Mélanie says:

    I love others colors than white. I always match white with colors

  • Mélanie says:

    I forgot. Orange is one of my favorite color for interior

  • NHSherr says:

    I was looking for interior color combinations of orange with off-white and chocolate brown to show a client for his restaurant. I like the suggestions and comments here. If anyone has photos to share using these combinations, I would love to see them. The restaurant uses dark stained woods (hence, the chocolate brown) and I’d like to introduce a burnt orange and a creamy off-white on the walls but was hoping to see a visual inspiration photo for validation that this color combination would work.

  • STYLE RUMORS says:

    I lovee orangee,i think it brings joy to any interior,great post

  • Joanna says:

    I too LOVE orange and strongly believe it is a positive mood enhancer. My husband and I just bought our new home and just bought a rust-orange couch. We thought we would like to paint the walls Fernwood Green (Benjamin Moore) but don't want to clash the colours. Do you think that works!?

  • sugarcreek says:

    I purchased BM Crisp Khaki to use in my sons room but he didn't like it. Not one to waste I took it to our wkend house and painted the mud/laundry room. I think it's my favorite color in the house – I feel welcome when I enter but the walls don't scream at me. I've hung a collection of signs/pics on one wall and everything looks good against the khaki.

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