Orange you glad orange is back in style?

Some of you are nodding your heads vigorously because this friendly, high-octane color gives you the energy kick youre longing for in home decor. Others of you are shaking your heads just as vigorously, possibly having a flashback to your 70s kitchen plastered in sunset, harvest gold and avocado.

When Pantone declared Tangerine Tango as the color of the year last year, a lot of people were skeptical. But others like yours truly have had a blast working this life-giving color into traditional and contemporary home design, whether its a drop for drama or a space saturated in one of oranges many provocative shades. Many of our customers are loving it, too. And as autumn approaches, orange is going to play an even more important part of seasonal decor.

Wanna play with orange? Here are three ways you can add a little or a lot to home decor.

1. Add a splash of paint

When I think of orange, I think of Rich, one of our interior designers at Nell Hills. No one does this daring color better than Rich. He had the courage to paint the cabinets in his 70s-era home orange, and his risk paid off the space is simply splendid. So I asked Rich to join me in giving some pointers on how to, and not to, use this showy color.

Just like Rich did, a fun way to pull orange into your decor is through paint. The good news is, orange comes in such a huge array of tones that you can find one that enhances your homes style, whether its supertraditional or contemporary.

Before you get out the drop cloth and painters tape, test your paint on the wall, Rich cautions. As bright at the color seems on the paint chip, it will be amplified by 100 percent when you put it on all the walls, he says. He advises buying a quart, covering a few poster boards to hang on your walls to see how the color translates in your space.

2. Find some fabulous fabrics

Feeling feisty? Me, too. Thats why I have fallen for orange mixed with bold graphics and reinvented furniture silhouettes. When youre decorating with strong colors and patterns like these, be sure to balance them out with solids and quieter tones to keep the room from taking on a circus atmosphere, Rich cautions.

Orange tones used in upholstery fabrics are spanning the spectrum from rust to coral. Rich likes the preppy Palm Beach colors: tangerine, fuchsia and kelly green.

If you want a hip, progressive look in your space, Rich recommends covering a sofa or dining chairs in orange linen, then painting your walls white or cream.

If you like a more traditional color palette, go for a browner shade of orange, like rust, and pair it with camel, green and gray. It gives you that dignified, country-house feel, but with a newer twist, Rich says.

3. Add arresting accents

In my home, I have touches of orange everywhere, but its almost all through artwork and accents.

If you want to experiment with orange, or you just want to enjoy this strong color for a season or two, Rich suggests you add little punches through inexpensive accents, like pottery or a tray. Or consider using an orange area rug.

Another supereasy way to tap into strong colors like orange is to work them in through lamps.
The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garritys blog at She can be reached at