Monday, June 6, 2011


Today Holly von Huene, from Holly's Blog, is offering up some fabulous color inspiration. And I can't agree with her more, summer is my season, a season I feel happiest and most inspired to embrace color!
print above available via the Heima store
Summer is finally here (well, at least for most of us in the northern hemisphere), and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am about these blissfully longer days, the heat of the glorious sun on my skin and the luscious full blooms all around. I'm feeling cheerful, peaceful and motivated. I find myself being more attracted to brighter, bolder colors as well, whether I'm choosing my outfit for the day, fresh fruits and vegetables from the market, or even a new throw pillow for my couch. Have you noticed that summer has this effect on you too?

It's no wonder, because there exists an interesting relationship between light, color and mood. It is well known that light plays a major role in enhancing general well-being and has a big impact on the way we perceive color; light enhances it. After all, color is dependent on light - without it there is no color. The impact of color on mood is clear to us almost intuitively, but it has also been widely discussed under the topic of color psychology. These three factors are closely related or intertwined and it would make sense that when color and light (which affect our mood) are at their peak, we feel good. What better season for these conditions than summer?

On that note, I thought it would be fun to share summer scenes and compare them to interior decor schemes as fun inspiration or visual tools for those of you looking to create spaces that will leave you in a good mood all year long!

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Vibrant Picnic Pastels: How wonderful is a summer picnic? This palette is inspired by just that and is quite lively and diversified, using four different colors. So how does it work? First, when using many colors, it's important to keep the tones similar so that they relate to each other and it doesn't become too random. Also, in this case, a white backdrop is a good choice. The colors pop but they're not annoying and the scheme isn't too busy - which is the number one danger when using a lot of different colors.

image link: left and right
Cheerful Beige Meets a Smiling Grey:  In the summer we take out our bikes to explore and enjoy our surroundings. Although these are not your typical summer colors, the vibe is totally there. The colors could also be reminiscent of a walk in the desert or lying in the sand at the beach. While beige and grey are not usually considered exciting colors, how enjoyable is this color palette? How great is that kitchen? So why does it work? The colors are all warm, that is the key here. Choosing greys and beiges that are influenced by red and yellow can create an inviting and cheerful space, while maintaining a neutral feeling throughout.

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Lemon/Lime Dreams: Summer definitely calls for homemade lemonade or maybe even a lemon drop martini! This is an analogous color scheme which uses luscious shades of green and yellow that lie close to each other on the color wheel. A little influence of grey is the perfect way to tone it down a bit, since these shades of green and yellow can be quite stimulating.

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Joyful Meditation: Taking inspiration from the rising (or setting) sun in a wide open field. This is a great example of how a strong complementary pair, like orange and blue, combined with neutrals and a lot of white can result in a calming space that is at same time quite invigorating. For those of you who meditate, you know what I mean when I say it's like a session for energy restoration. Afterwards you are energized but in a very grounded, very peaceful way. I think this color palette encourages that.

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Nautical Magic: Summertime means we get to take out our boats, spending the weekends with friends and family enjoying the open water. Sadly, I am not a boat owner, but in my summer daydreams I am! The nautical theme is worth featuring because it's such a classic, whether we're talking fashion or interiors. There's something refreshing and ceremonial about it. These royal reds and blues (again combined with neutrals) are perfect for formal dining or living rooms, but equally as appropriate for a playful children's room. You just have to adjust the tones to achieve the feeling you want. In this case, the colors are quite serious but the style of the room featured is laid-back and cozy. It's a very versatile palette.

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Strawberry Ice Cream Sunset: We all scream for ice cream, right? Especially in the summer. This palette is inspired by a deep pink, creamy ocean sunset. This pink is very nurturing and blue is generally quite soothing. Add a splash of yellow (to reference the sun, or the ice cream cone), bring in your neutrals, and voila; a room that says, 'stay a while, I like you'.

All these pallets are quite happy, don't you think? When taking color inspiration from everyday scenes, especially when dealing with such colorful ones, it's important to incorporate a balance of neutral colors, tones of white, black, brown and grey. They tone down the excitement and make them more appropriate for a living space. Generally the home is a place where one wants to be comfortable and at peace and too much color intensity may negate that effect, but that doesn't mean you cannot create a lively yet comfortable color scheme for your home. Hopefully, these color palettes I have put together for you demonstrate that. And if you like, you can read more about my thoughts on the relationship between color, light and mood, here and here.

So the next time you are faced with deciding on a color palette, think about what you want the room to feel like and ask what is the mood you wish to set. Then pull out some of your personal photographs or search the internet and magazines for images that reflect those things and let them tell you what to do.

Happy summer to all you lovely HOF readers!


Pauline Wiles said...

What lovely images... I'm really struggling to decide which color scheme is my favorite :)

Kathysue said...

Great information and wonderful images to show us some fun and unusual color combinations to brighten our summer days, Kathysue

Oksana said...

Colour, light, and mood - yes! It is true, there is a strong relationship, at least when it comes to me. Light earthy tones and bright bold patterns make me swoon. Lovely post.

Oksana from

Holly said...

Thank you for featuring my guest post. It was such a pleasure to put this together that it has almost got me thinking about autumn inspired color schemes already, lol!! But I will put that aside for now, because summer is here and it needs to be cherished. So again, thank you for the opportunity to share ideas about a topic that fascinates me - Color!

Allison said...

Great post for me for today! I'm feeling a little more inspired and motivated after seeing all of this color. We've had gray skies for the past week and I'm ready for sunshine. I'm drawn to the lemon/line dreams room. Fresh, happy, clean and modern looking!

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Holly, I was inspired by this post and learned a few things myself! Love summer and all this color, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful post for the HOF blog! You are welcome back any time!

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

They are all just gorgeous! Love seeing the colors and the colors in action.

Morgan said...

Ohh what a beautiful line-up! I love the color palettes of each - especially that muted kitchen (still colorful in its own way). Beautiful!

Morgan @

Iro - Ivy said...

Holly dear, coming a little delayed to officialy place a comment here {so many things to do these past days!}but have been having it in my mind to do so.
Lovely post! The effects of colour on the making up of a space and its influence on the inhabitants of it have always fascinated me.
Persoanlly adoring white & mostly natural hues, I really like the choice of my picture you made and the dyptich you created. Thank you so much :)
Congratulations on this post and of course to the blog's mother, too :)

Mary Ann Pickett said...

This is so thought provoking and beautiful.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Following you :)

Holly said...

@ classic casual home: Thank you! Off to check out your site now too ;)