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Photography by LAURE JOLIET

If there’s one color with an unshakably bad reputation, it’s orange. Often assumed inferior to its cheerful counterparts (yellow and pink), this loud and fiery hue is one even certain designers find themselves hesitant to use. But to presume that orange is only appropriate for children or an ironic statement would be a mistake. Contrary to popular belief, this surprisingly versatile hue is not just for the heavy-handed, but for the adventurous at heart.

A true shapeshifter in every sense of the word, orange instantly infuses a room with energy, regardless of its tonal variation. Be it a rusty apricot accent wall, peach throw pillow, or cool carrot-colored corridor, there are a number of unexpectedly stylish ways to embrace this hue without falling into a trap of cliches. Though, that isn’t to say orange doesn’t come with its fair share of challenges. Once you’ve decided that this is the color for you, it can feel tempting to want to use the hue all over. But, beware: Sticking to a one-note palette won’t do this color any justice. Instead, think in terms of opposition. (Hint: White and orange are just one of many picture-perfect pairings that make for an elevated take).

For fall, and beyond, we’re feeling especially inspired by the possibilities of the hue. Ahead, discover a few of our favorite spaces that get this fearless color right.

orange sofaPin It
MICHAEL WILTBANK

Brooklyn-based writer and stylist LaTonya Yvette’s one-bedroom apartment packs in a number of color-charged moments. Her peachy living room happens to be one of our favorite fearless escapes. Of course, leaving the walls white would have been a completely suitable way to finish off this space, the small sliver of sherbert orange introduces a fresh energy to the room—and her vintage sofa. This is one cool, tonal color pairing we look forward to testing out ourselves.

chic orange velvet chairsPin It
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHILIPPE SERVENT, COURTESY OF DIMORE STUDIO

The secret to a high-glam palette? Juxtaposition. Take it from the Italians: This luxe room by Dimore Studio in Milan is a much-needed reminder that colors should always be in constant conversation with one another. Enveloped in a sea of desaturated pinks, muted turquoise, and yellow ochre, the orange here takes the form of a neutral. The rust undertones of the velvet swivel chairs serve as an elevated visual anchor for this lavish mix of colors and textures.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMY LIEBMAN

In lew of incorporating more traditional nursery colors, like blue, pink, or even green, orange has proven itself as a stellar gender-neutral alternative that feels just as playful. When introducing strong colors in a space as tiny as a child’s bedroom, consider limiting its power to one spot. In this rad room, the hue comes in the form of a vibrant color block, playing off of the deep tonal properties of the surrounding pink and purple hues. Effectively relegated to an accented square, this refreshing pop of orange promises not to overwhelm the room’s design.

bright orange chaisePin It
AMY BARTLAM

There are certain surfaces that lend themselves to incredibly bright oranges. A retro-chic chaise lounge would be one of them. If there’s anything California-based designer Natalie Myers has taught us about spicing up a white room, it’s that a burst of tangerine orange, even if only exemplified by one essential item of furniture, can work wonders. Color aside, it’s also the sofa’s iconic shape and graphic surroundings (note how the rug, pillows, and art all pick up on the same geometric motif) that give this nook life.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATE ROBINSON FOR MYDOMAINE

When paired with its partner in crime, pink, this equally-charming hue is practically unstoppable. Between the hot pink kilim rug, pumpkin-colored armchairs, and cheetah-print pillows, this incredibly fabulous sitting room brings together all the fundamental makings of a bold hangout. Although muted and muddier shades extend a sense of sophistication, there’s something to be said for the tones that grace the opposite end of the spectrum. When you take the fun attitude of a bright and happy orange and run with it elsewhere, your design intention will only come off as sincere.

orange shag rug Pin It
COURTESY OF AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION HOTELS

It’s true that we’ve seen orange bring the drama before, but never quite like this. Set within a classic palette of black, white, and gold, this shaggy carpet adds an unforeseen level of depth and texture. Much like its furry surface, the rug’s golden apricot hue challenges the senses.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIEL TYLER | DESIGN BY DANI ARPS

Sometimes, nailing what is often considered a wild or bright color comes down to changing your perspective. Although a straightforward accent wall has its definite pros, throwing a little geometry into the mix guarantees a show-stopping moment. In this design-forward NYC office, it is the contrast that seemingly makes citrus cool again—thanks to its captivating diagonal approach, this tiger orange wall is decidedly electrifying.

orange tile kitchen Pin It
Courtesy of The Jungalow

We know, we know, white marble kitchens are all the rage, but we can’t help but feel recharged by Justin Blakeney’s creative cookhouse. Veering more toward the dusty and muddier undertones, this charming Southwest-inspired display packs the right amount of punch. Plus, we love how the blogger and dedicated bohemian didn’t stop at the walls but kept the vibrant color story going with the tiled backsplash.

orange breakfast nook Pin It
photography by Danielle Nagel

Designer and photographer Danielle Nagel’s sun-filled breakfast nook is something all morning people should aspire to cultivate for themselves. Wanting to build off the good vibes of her bright orange accent wall, the LA-based creative brought in pieces that picked up on the same tones, like the wire chairs, vintage Moroccan rug, and extra snug seat cushions. This is one way seriously chic way accomplish matchy-matchy, without overdoing it.

Want more color inspiration? 

Behr’s 2019 Color of the Year Is Exactly What We Needed

A Handy Cheat Sheet for Decorating with Yellow

Seriously Cool Color Combos We’re Stealing From the Danish

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