1960s orange chairsYou know I think that “Color of the Year” proclamations by Marketeers are baloney — they are just trying to sell this year’s color to replace last year’s color. So, instead, I’ll point to a color from our mid century past that was pretty darn good enough all along: Retro Renovation First Annual Color of the Year: Orange. There’s plenty of vintage available in this color — give it a look and if you like it, snatch it up for a fraction of what it would cost to buy new accessories in whatever “today’s must-have color” is. Of course, my fundamental color advice is: Use whatever color you like. Colors are wavelengths of energy and affect people differently. Find the ones that tickle your electrons and don’t look back.

vintage bargello pillowsWhy orange? Well, it’s just continued to grow on me these past 9 years of living in my mid century house. It is a color that plays very nice with others: Orange looks good with blue in a midcentury interior. Orange looks good with green. Orange looks good with pink — yes, it does! And with banana, of course. Orange you glad I said banana?

vintage afghanOrange is a dynamic color — often called “the color of change”.  It can be brought into an interior pretty easily. All the photos above are from my living room — as you can see, I’ve brought in orange with textiles like my beloved vintage bargello needlepoint pillows. Oh – and I guess those 1960s chairs have a bit of orange in the upholstery. When I bought them at an estate sale, the chairs had slip covers on them. I peeked under and – bingo! – it was orange velveteen stripes for me! I also have some orange Stangl. Isn’t my vintage afghan gorgeous? All the handiwork that went into it — my! — and I got it an estate sale for like $10. These things are out there — they are Golden Treasures!

I also have spotted kitchen cabinets available in orange — see my post on these “Mod Squad” (as I call them) cabinet doors. If I had the house for these — I would do it in a heartbeat!

vintage orange leather coatOf course, what’s good on the inside (of your house) is also fab when you’re out on the town. Maybe I need this 1960s vintage orange leather coat from Retro Genie’s after all.

Are you decorating with orange in your home? If, so how?

  1. Kathy Pool says:

    I’m finally brave enough to post after going from the first time capsule of 2014 to the Brady Bunch orange countertops to the Bittersweet comments. My 1951 house: we enlarged the kitchen and added another dining area. I’ll have to send photos. The walls are Benjamin Moore Oriole. I was hesitant to send photos of my remodel because I used stainless appliances instead of retro…plus I didn’t want to read anyone hating my orange walls!

  2. Annalee W says:

    Darn it!! Just last summer (after 35 years) my children finally talked me into changing my kitchen color away from ORANGE to taupe. My daughter convinced me, “taupe goes with every thing, Mom.” I had changed many colors in my kitchen over the years because Orange does go with everything, but I’d always kept my favorite color — Orange. Needless to say, I am not happy with taupe. It may go with everything, but ‘taupe everything’ is not near as bright and happy as “orange everything”. I’m sending a link to this post to my daughter!!!!!! Please keep showing us the wonderful color combinations that go so well with ORANGE…..

  3. Kikalee says:

    Best news this year! You mean my orange/yellow speckled counter that DH has been wanting to trash for 10 years is in? Yea!

  4. You know, I don’t have any orange in my home, but after seeing this post, I sure think I should. I did just pick up some adorable vintage orange juice glass with little oranges printed on them and they make me so happy. I think you have to smile when you see an orange room… I’m craving this color (and a glass of OJ)!

  5. Alison says:

    I love orange! When we moved into our latest home, perhaps inspired by moving to the Netherlands and their official House of Orange, we ended up using quite a bit of orange in our decorating. The guest room on the top floor got some orange on the beams and trim and door, etc. http://www.flickr.com/photos/abnetsel/3303992752/in/set-72157605367443247/

    We also painted one wall in the living room the same orange. It goes perfectly with our yellow sofa and the brown and orange fabric I found at the local fabric market. http://www.flickr.com/photos/abnetsel/2722789546/in/set-72157605367443247/

    I´m so glad a friend posted a link to your site. It´s gorgeous and full of inspiration!

  6. Laura says:

    Well, it’s nice to know that even if I am a preservationist, I’m still ahead of the curve!

    I painted my back hall entry “Mimosa”. This incidentally is the part of my 1930’s house that I believe was added in the 1960’s and I’ve decorated it with that in mind.


    And, I found a vintage pair of Ethan Allan chairs at ReStore which I had every intention of recovering – until I got them home. I think they look grand! I think the lady kind of questioned my taste because she said “Those orange ones?” when I went over to pay for them. $15 each!


  7. JefferyK says:

    I spent the holidays in Mexico City and was blown away by the colors. Basics like towels come in incredible shades of pink, red, and orange, shades I’ve never seen in the U.S. The most perfect burnt orange ever.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I wonder if it has something to do with the bright sun — the further south you go you need strong bright colors or else they wash out???

      1. JefferyK says:

        The light is definitely different there. I passed on the colorful towels because I was worried that the colors wouldn’t look as fabulous up here in San Francisco. But they were wonderful eye candy!

  8. What timing! Most of my life I hated orange. I like color in general but I really couldn’t stand orange of any sort. Sometime about 9 years ago, orange started growing on me, I think I was pregnant with our first child and your tastes can change unexpectedly. Gradually orange started creeping into my wardrobe in the form of pumpkin and spice and tangerine. It joined the partnership of dark greens with light blues. I knit myself my first pair of socks last year out of yarn I dyed myself – sort of a burnt orange color. Just before Christmas my kids asked me what my favorite color was, they are always asking, and I finally said orange!

    I have yet to put orange in the house but I have the fabric – a bit of orange is going to make a splash in our all white bathroom. And I have seriously contemplated putting up orange slice wallpaper inside my dark kitchen cabinets.

    p.s. When I was about 10 I had a neon orange coat with bright white fake fur trim. I’m sure I hated it but I have to remember it fondly now, seeing the leather one above!

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