From Summer Squash to Orange Sky, pick a paint from one of these top designers and prepare to be dazzled.
In the 19th-century suburban New Jersey home of Michael Maher, color brings a modern energy. Walls painted in Charlotte’s Locks by Farrow & Ball envelop the parlor-turned-living room in warmth and drama, while a Stark sisal rug tones down the formality of the antiques. The archway retains its original sliding pocket doors.
“For an unexpected dash of personality and warmth, add a shock of color to the back of your cabinets. I know this is bright, but when it’s behind glass doors and acting as a backdrop to all your dishes, it livens things up nicely. And it’s easy to change in a few years, if turquoise starts calling to you.” — Douglass Graneto
Make it yours: Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell Charlotte’s Locks 268
Amanda Lindroth gave the exterior of a gorgeous Bahamas home a “showstopping personality” with big splashes of bold orange. The vibrant bench and awning perk up the white facade.
“I’m Italian, and it’s very Italian to use orange. Think of those luxury brands with orange logos — Hermès and Pratesi. I see it lacquered on a ceiling, with cream walls. Or you could get that faded Tuscan feeling by using it as a wash in the living room. A lacquered orange library with black bookshelves would be totally sensational. Supermodern, superchic.” —Milly de Cabrol
Make it yours: Ralph Lauren Paint’s Baja Orange IB62
Orange undertones give depth to the sunbaked custom paint in a New Mexico kitchen by Judith Espinar, Jim Deville, and Scott Robey.
Golden-tinged oranges also brighten any space. "Orange is our go-to color, because it makes a room feel young, fresh, and modern. We use it where other people might use red. I would feel really happy in a room painted this pretty golden orange, with navy, turquoise, or pink as an accent. And I love Portola Paints because their colors are just slightly off, like the designer colors you're always trying to get and don't often find." —Heidi Bonesteel
Make it yours: Summer Squash 022
Accessories in vibrant orange can help add vintage whimsy to an interior — like in the bedroom of a cheery beach house by Krista Ewart.
However, this delightful shade doesn't always have to read as retro. "Orange is far more versatile than most people think. You don't have to put it with marabou feathers and 1960s furniture. Try it with a Louis XV carved giltwood console and see how sophisticated and European it looks. This is a Veuve Clicquot orange that we used inside kitchen cabinets, for a bon vivant whose signature pour is Champagne. Coat the paint with beeswax if you want an antique look." —Maureen Footer
Make it yours: Orange Sky 2018-10
In this fantasy apartment inspired by Edie Sedgwick, midcentury modern pieces mix with contemporary pieces. “I’m not afraid of color,” designer Heather Moore says. “I knew I wanted to use orangey autumnal tones, and I chose Ralph Lauren’s Cork for the walls. It’s a burnt umber, a saturated color that doesn’t read as flat. It has more reflectivity and depth than that.”
“I go for the warmth and earthiness of a certain version of orange — like this inside of a Japanese persimmon. It’s not loud or brash, and it’s a beautiful backdrop for other colors like hot pink, chartreuse, olive, aqua, and baby blue. Almost anything looks good against it. It has the quality of embracing and holding.” —Jackie Terrell
Make it yours: Benjamin Moore Autumn Orange 2156-10
The brown-tinged orange in a vintage-inspired apartment by Heather Moore takes on a different cast based on the light in the room.
"It's easy to get a great orange when you're working with a skilled decorative painter doing a multilayered custom glaze job. But if you're trying to pick a ready-made color from a paint deck, I find the darker, more subdued shades work best. This color has great impact without looking like that garish NFL orange. I'd use it with ivory, black, and brown for a sophisticated classical look, or with cobalt blue, navy, and white if you want to go bolder, younger." —Markham Roberts
Make it yours: Corlsbud Canyon 076
A bold orange hue sets off the Palladian details of a bookcase in the library of an Atlanta home by Kay Douglass.
"This quickens the pulse and excites the eye. It brings back the hue and the scent of blood oranges piled high in the market stalls of Tuscany. With a black-and-white floor and Benjamin Moore's Linen White trim, it would be the perfect foil for an array of drawings." —Marcy Masterson
Make it yours: Blood Orange
In a New Jersey beach house by Mona Ross Berman, a retro shade of orange brightens up a utilitarian space.
"I love the orange color of the stucco I grew up with in the warm Mediterranean sun. There's a very soft feeling about it, but at the same time it's quite strong. This orange has depth and a touch of shadow, so it looks as if it's always been there. It lends itself very naturally to browns and greens and watery turquoise. Orange is kind of an underdog in this country. It's more a color of the East." —Mona Hajj
Make it yours: Orangery 70
In a Hillsborough, California, kitchen by Melanie Coddington, a spicy shade of orange is a refreshing alternative to the usual neutrals.
"You can't let orange scare you. I rely on it to punch up a dreary corner. Paint this warm, bricky orange on the inside of a bookcase and it will add unexpected depth to a small space or make a big room seem more intimate. One of the most fascinating rooms I've ever seen had ivory walls and a ceiling painted this color. Very cozy." —John Peixinho
Make it yours: Audubon Russet HC-51
When Justine Cushing moved into her New York apartment in 1970, she had the living room painted a custom orange — a color she has never considered changing.
For a similar look, choose an orange with depth. "You need a little brown in your orange to keep it from getting too circusy. This reminds me of saddle leather. I've seen it in those great Palm Desert houses, with midcentury modern furniture and a flokati rug. But I'd jazz it up with hot pink, apple green, or peacock blue. And a heavy dose of white or cocoa brown would really soften it." —Erinn Valencich
Make it yours: Ace Paint Yuma B21-6
This sienna shade plays beautifully with the golden and brown accents in a living room.
You can tone down the orange even further with a terra cotta shade. "This terra-cotta is earthy and elegant — how many colors can claim that combination? It's a muted brown that goes a little rosy, which makes it very warm and flattering. Dark woods look great against it, and so does art. I like it dead flat, with white trim and black baseboards to play up that Grecian urn thing. Very Brideshead Revisited." —Carey Maloney
Make it yours: DKC-35
The merest whisper of orange enriches the buttery shade of yellow in a North Carolina home by Lindsey Coral Harper.
"This is a pale, pale orange. It's really the color of candlelight, and it does the same thing for your walls. It gives them a glow. It will turn any room into a light box. You could play off the warmth with some cool gray-blues, or if you want to bump up the volume, bring in mustard or celadon green or periwinkle." —Cheryl Katz
Make it yours: Pale Daffodil 2017-60
A luxurious master bath, with an 18th-century Italian dressing table and billowing curtains, offers a stunning view of San Francisco Bay.
"I wanted a warm, dusty apricot for the walls. Orange can be romantic and sexy. It makes you feel like you've just come in from the beach and your skin is glowing. It looks almost like a sunset in there. And at night, with the sconces and the lantern lit, it's even more dreamy." —Stephen Shubel
Make it yours: Soft Marigold 160
This dazzling shade of orange wasn't just used on the walls of this mudroom — the doors and moldings were also painted with the unique color.
This entrancing shade can be used in a variety of rooms. "The color is so warm and cozy that it makes you feel as if there's a fire in the fireplace, even when there is none. It reminds me of those Regency period interiors, with all those vivid colors inspired by the excavations at Pompeii. They say people who choose orange are very self-confident and extroverted." —Courtney Coleman
Make it yours: Pumpkin 16