Fresh Color Palettes for Fall
Palette #1: The Cerulean Splash
I often feel at my calmest when I'm near the sea and will happily walk for hours to find little-known coves and beaches. Perhaps it's the simplicity of the natural elements that frees up the mind to let memories and color inspiration stick. While urban dwellings bear color inspiration of their own kind, I find that the very simplicity of coastal elements encourages me to notice the color details in the everyday.
Cerulean Splash: The Inspiration
I believe this is true for others, too, as I so often see buildings in seaside towns that reflect their coastal surroundings. For instance, the sky blue and school bus yellow palette of this coastal building in the South of France (left) felt like a pronounced nod to natural maritime elements of the area. Like the sunshine yellow boat that was tethered to an aged wooden jetty as it bobbed up and down in the cerulean water of the harbor, the doors of this building had distressed, sun-warped wooden planks with flaking paint and rusted iron brackets. I had discovered a color palette that looked good enough to swim in. Its name? The Cerulean Splash.
Four Ways to Take Cerulean Splash to the Next Level
1. Commanding Artwork: Either go for a collection of blue-hued pieces of art grouped together to create a gallery wall or opt for a single statement piece.
2. Paint It Out: For large-scale impact, paint the floor, walls, and ceiling in tonal shades from the same color family.
3. Maximize On Textiles: Cushions, throws, and rugs are often suited to reference more fundamental parts of a color palette. Below, an ombré rug and a sofa lavished with floral textiles invite color to every element of the room.
Four Ways to Take Cerulean Splash to the Next Level
4. Bold Furniture: Painting your furniture in corresponding shades will pull each piece into the wider color scheme; if left unpainted, they would act as cooling counterparts to the bold shades used elsewhere in the room.
Palette #2: The Candy Crush
In the summer of 2012 I traveled to the Balearic Islands in Spain in search of color inspiration. Disconnecting from my laptop and cell phone for ten days, I was armed with only my camera as I wandered the cobbled streets of the traditional Spanish towns. Feeling at my most relaxed for several years, I enjoyed taking in the mix of sun-soaked pastel and saturated bright facades of the painted buildings.
Candy Crush: The Inspiration
As I traveled from town to town I started to see a pattern emerging: many of my photographs featured yellow and pink buildings side by side. I felt drawn to the energizing combination of these two complementary hues; the cheerful optimism of the yellow was tempered beautifully by the romantic softness of the pink. I knew on my return I needed to explore the combination further and so my love for The Candy Crush began.
You can use The Candy Crush to inject color into a refined living space. Pink and yellow felted seat pads around the floating fireplace in Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan's Shelter Island home (left) punctuate the concrete feature with their bonbon-like hues. Whereas The Candy Crush color palette can be used to make a confident statement, Jonathan and Simon's open-plan living area is an example of when color takes a supporting role to an existing focal point. The fireplace is such a striking architectural feature that these small additions of color are used to emphasize the shape and form of the curved centerpiece in the space.
Palette #3: The Strawberry Split
The idea for The Strawberry Split began at a farmers' market early one summer. With the strawberry season in full swing, many of the stalls were awash with a sea of red berries, their intense hue cooled only by Greek blue flashes in the rims of their punnets. The duo certainly stood out amongst the mass of other colors on display, but I was keen to seek out other ideas to marry the two hues. A few months later I was in France when I happened upon a crimson-red fire hydrant in front of a richly painted blue wall—the color was so inviting.
Strawberry Split: The Inspiration
I recalled the memory of the strawberry containers at the farmers' market and thought how the duo worked well when the blue half of the palette took center stage. I had discovered that in this color relationship the blue shade wears the trousers, but that it wouldn't be half as tempting without its red counterpart to complete the pairing. A day or so later I walked past a pair of red and blue painted shop fronts in London's Covent Garden and I knew I was ready to invite The Strawberry Split home.
Three Steps to Style a Vibrant Vignette
1. Height: The key to making a group of objects work when placed together is to vary the height of each piece to create depth. Arrange the pieces in a jumbled version vs. high to low, as this will give a more natural look to the collection.
2. Color: The main purpose of this vignette (left) is to introduce accent pieces to the room's statement piece of furniture. The darkened cardinal red shades temper the brightness of the blue cabinet, while the surprise introduction of yellow adds freshness to the palette.
3. Texture: To bring visual interest to the vignette, it's important to switch up the textures. Here I used a bold typographic print to give a graphic feel, which I then carried through the vignette with the petrol can.