Tangerine tips

Posted 17th September 2021

This year, warm colours are making quite a comeback. Though browns, beiges and greys are still providing the neutral earthy undertone, there’s a shift towards a brighter and braver accent palette and we’re introducing it with ever greater confidence. 

Using colour in your home evokes emotions, not only for the people living in the house but also for those visiting. Reds and oranges are warm, welcoming and happy colours, so they’re just what we need for 2021.


Tangerine was the Pantone Colour of The Year back in 2012. At the time it was revered for being both dramatic and attention grabbing; whole rooms were painted in orange to make strong statements. This time around, tangerine is being lauded for the positive energy it can bring to a room even in the smallest of accents. It’s sunny nature and ability to add interest even when used against a background of the strongest, deepest, darkest hues, ensures that orange will keep returning as a favourite colour.

 Orange is a great choice for your kitchen or dining room – anywhere where you start your day or like to entertain. It’s an uplifting colour that can boost our spirits and inject positivity into our lives. Think orange painted chairs, orange patterned crockery, or an orange wallpaper or standout curtain or blind. It’s a natural partner for green, mainly because in nature we see citrus fruits combining the orange of the peel with the green of the leaves. Colours appearing together in nature will often work in interiors and in this case the fresh, juicy association with oranges, lemons and limes will help enliven your scheme. Pair orange and green with white to give some relief amongst the colour and to keep your kitchen and dining room looking even crisper, fresher and cleaner.


In contemporary spaces, those brave enough can introduce larger blocks of orange. When combined with blocks of turquoise, the orange will appear even stronger and more impactful as blue is orange’s complimentary colour on the colour wheel. 

A similarly punchy statement can be created without any change in colour. Try combining areas of plain orange colour with self-coloured patterns and prints. In large, open or transitional spaces such as a hallway, a stimulating combination of pattern and colour can be fully appreciated without being something you need to look at all the time. Thibaut, Elizabeth Ockford and Brunschwig & Fils are three companies that offer some brilliant options when it comes to orange colour!

Orange certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re nervous about using tangerine then start with a coral shade – try pinky red with just a hint of orange. It’s softer, easier on the eye and still provides a warming element. Some of these softer, more muted shades of orange could even be considered relaxing, maybe romantic, especially where the pink has a more dominating influence within the orange. 


If you like the idea of trying tangerine but would prefer not to make your space too bright, then use off-white, grey and neutral tones for the main palette and add the orange in smaller accents as a vase, lamp base, cushion or photo frame. If the use of orange is carefully spaced around your room, then the eye has lots of time to rest before focusing on another stimulating combination. 

Tangerine orange is certainly not a relaxing colour so best to avoid using it in interiors where you want to focus on your work, or where you relax, unwind or sleep.


Be aware that with every colour there can be negative characteristics and orange is no different. Using too much of it or in the wrong tone can make the resulting space feel uncomfortable. Also, don’t be surprised if you like the colour one day and not the next. It may well depend on how you are feeling. Not everyone always wants to wake up to a happy smiling face when they’re feeling a bit low, run down or tired! What is certain though, is that if you are ready to embrace such an energetic and vibrant colour somewhere in your home then you will always have a space in which to feel sunny on the rainiest of days.

Rosie Kinsella

Interior Designer

01604 751262