Perhaps more than any other color, orange is divisive.
Some might find it calming, with a bit of spirituality lacing through the fibers. In contrast, some others might find it attention-grabbing and a little overwhelming. These are qualities you might not want if you tend to live a more low-key lifestyle.
Some might find it bright and happy, the color of the sun in their childhood drawings. Yet still, others might think of the darker undertone (when compared to yellow) as the color of decay.
When you live in a house with other people, whether they’re your family or roommates, orange certainly won’t be the first pick for your walls. At the very least, you’ll need to defend your color choice, get them to love it too or compromise.
To win your housemates over, here are a few orange living room ideas that everyone can love.
If either you or your housemates are hesitant about how intense orange can be – which is a considerable amount – then, start adding the color in increments.
Start with one or two accent features like a stool, vase, or even a fresh bouquet of orange flowers. See how that looks with the rest of your living room interior. If, like acquiring a taste for wine, you decide you’re ready for the next step, take more significant action.
For example, this retro-futuristic loveseat is mostly orange. Though the lighter shade of the fabric and the two-toned design of the furniture gives it a subtler effect. It doesn’t take anything away from the minimalist style of the rest of the fittings.
Go for two tones
When you’re ready to put orange on your walls, one way to make the color pop is to use a bright shade and limit it to a two-toned theme. The low paneling and the lower plush couch make for a beautifully multi-dimensional living room.
There are at least ten different colors and shades in this living room. But by separating them by furniture items, it becomes as clear-cut as a 3D render.
Use it as the main color
“Red clay” is a funny term, primarily because if you look at it closely, it looks more orange, especially when it’s dry. Orange, bright and sunny as it is, has the same earthy effect as browns and beiges – with the same opportunity to be just as versatile.
As such, with the right, possibly more subdued shade, you’re more than welcome to use orange as the primary color for your living room. Paint it throughout your walls, and the furniture set flat against them. That way, you’ll get a terracotta, almost cave-like coziness for a vibe.
Pick a gradient
If one solid swatch of orange is intimidating for you, try decorating with a gradient. Darker shades of orange tend to lean into their earth tones, becoming as dark as wet mud. Meanwhile, the lighter ones look like natural wood.
This way, you don’t get an all-too artificial pop of color. This living room applies the rule with a twist. The gradient “painting” in the center of the room is actually the front of shelf doors. Behind them, there’s a TV to entertain the whole family.
Pair it with boho
Wooden furniture, Aztec- or similarly-patterned rugs with rough textures, plantlife, mandala shapes – all of which are facets of the bohemian look. All of which tend to come in colors that match orange well, too, as evidenced by this living room.
It all forms a coherent image, without losing the worn and eclectic energy that bohemian decor generally aspires to. The exposed wood paneling on the ceiling and wooden floorboards help a lot in that regard.
Or a matching divider
A one-pattern look, where your furniture seamlessly follows the design of your wallpaper, is all the rage for 2020. And this living room and divider accomplish that perfectly with a bit of chinoiserie flair. The divider, hidden as it is behind the liquor cabinet, may be more decorative than functional. Despite this, it adds another dimension to the look instead of melting into the wall.
Matched with the traditional Asian art on the pillowcase, gold veins running across the ceiling, and distressed texture on the seating make for a naturally elegant interior.
Perfect for an accent wall
You can absolutely take advantage of orange’s eye-catching attribute if you want to! One easy way to do this is by using it on an accent wall. This living room, in particular, draws the eye immediately to where attention and visual interest would be focused otherwise.
Admittedly, it’s also novel in the way that it goes past the limits of one wall and curls in on itself. This gives it the illusion that this wall is embedded deeper than the others, making the room feel just a little bit wider.
The curvature of the wall makes it feel retro-futuristic, too.
Or an accent shelf
If you want an extra nook for warmth, that’s different or an alternative to a fireplace, consider painting the back of your shelves orange. Pictured here, the technique gives off a warm, concentrated glow that’s almost similar to a campfire.
The subtle burnt umber veins running through the faux marble coffee table looks like the woodpile. It softens the brightness of the orange fittings surrounding the center table.
Choose a wallpaper
Another great example of tasteful chinoiserie or the use of Chinese motifs in Western art. In this case, the wallpaper resembles traditional Chinese paintings that focused on nature and thin brushstrokes.
The wallpaper features white, orange, and a bit of blue – it makes sense that the rest of the furniture follows suit. From the blue shawl on the sofa to the barely-there stripes on the chair’s cushion. The white furniture all have embossed texture, so they don’t seem “plain” against the busier pieces.
Pay attention to detail
The best thing about orange is that you can use it with the lightest touch, and it’ll still catch the eye of any guest you have. Keep an all-white fixture and save the color for even the sheer details of your accent chair, like in this photo, and it would still pop.
Though, let’s be honest, with a speckled pattern and orange thread outlining its shape, this chair doesn’t need a lot to stand out. The throw pillow, seemingly depicting a scene from myth in vivid detail and color, certainly adds more drama to the furniture piece.
Play with palettes
White, black, and the usual neutral, earthy tones pair great with orange. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should stick to these color schemes. You’d be surprised how many other colors can contribute to make one awesome palette.
Consider this living room. The couches are retro plaid, with deep orange, black, yellow, and purple making up the lines.
Red and yellow are great because they’re analogous colors with orange, meaning they sit next to each other on the color wheel. They’re all grouped together as warm colors. On the other hand, purple is a complementary color, placed directly across from orange on the wheel.
Although the map has more than just these four colors, there’s a large portion of it dominated by violet (where Russia is, presumably) and orange. This all makes an image that bleeds together, rather than clashes.
Color your sofa
Okay, finding an orange sofa is a bit of a big ask unless you have it custom made. But look, look at it. It’s plush, it’s orange, and it’s low enough that it doesn’t cover the actual main point of interest in this room: the large windows.
The symmetrical fixings on either side of the sofa really pull you in, tunneling your vision to center on it. The continuing blue-orange-white motif on the ottoman and throw pillows make it more coherent.
Subtly include it
No one ever said you had to use solid orange, static in one portion of your home. No, you can use shapes to experiment with how you apply it. Geometrical is the current trend, and do you know what’s a dynamic shape?
Gemstones. Think about it. Every side of a gem, when you tilt it this way or that, seems to change color according to the light’s reflection. This wallpaper, with varying tones of warmth, has the same effect.
It’s almost monochromatic, the way that even the furniture stayed within the orange and peach (read: red with a bit of orange).
Break up the color
On the opposite end of the interior design spectrum, there’s nothing wrong with letting the color dominate a room either. Paint with one bold shade. Use it on your walls, bookshelves, mounted fixtures, and shelves. Make it seem like everything connected to the wall is part of the room’s architectural design.
Then, break it up. Keep it from becoming a monotonous void. Make one thing, like something in the middle of the room, a different color. In this living room, it’s the black table top, plants, and the chair.