My favorite color is this combination of colors

Guest post by Sarah Brown
400 Monte Vista 20

Over the past year, I’ve favorited a lot of photos containing this color combination. Some of them are of actual interiors, or homes, or at least buildings, but some of them are of waterfalls over tunnels in sides of mountains in China…

Photo courtesy of Harris Tweed
Photo by Sarah Brown

I really like these colors. I want to make the inside of my house look like them. My main problem is that one of them is not so much a color as burning. “Yeah, for the living room we’re thinking a palette of slate blues and grays, and warm browns, with fire accents?” The photographer of the first image, the house with the deck, admitted he spent $169 on candles to get that shot. That’s not exactly within my budget or fire safety perimeters.

Mica Lamp, by Target

The only way I can think of making that warm orange glow happen without actual flames is with a lamp with a mica shade, and I’m not a huge fan of those. I had one for years, and they look cozy, but don’t give off enough light to live by, so you have to compensate with other brighter lamps and that kills any sort of aesthetic effect you were close to achieving. They also tend to complement a style that’s much more American Craftsman than I’m interested in.

1910 SQUIRREL-CAGE 40W FILAMENT BULB from Restoration Hardware

The Restoration Hardware website offers some vintage filament light bulb collections, a phrase I cannot even write with a straight face, much less consider purchasing and hanging in my home, but it’s the only other alternative that even comes close. My apartment is neither steampunk nor a fancy cafe, so I can’t imagine installing a 1910 Squirrel-Cage Filament Bulb in it. (This is why I can’t have nice things: because I make fun of them.)

So short of having straight up torches on the walls or just living on a window-washer platform outside my apartment, forever looking in at dusk, how do I replicate that kind of light?

Comments on My favorite color is this combination of colors

  1. “Yeah, for the living room we’re thinking a palette of slate blues and grays, and warm browns, with fire accents?” This actually sounds quite reasonable to me. I’m imagining a living room painted slate blue and grey. Maybe with the bottom half of the walls blue and the top half grey? Warm brown couch and loveseat, wood or silver coffee table, some of these prints hanging on the walls in black or silver frames, one or two of those lamps you posted, some candles or electric lanterns, and a fireplace (wood burning or electric). I think it would look awesome!

  2. Me too! I painted one wall of my living room a deep gold – orange- yellow color. And got a woodstove with a window in front. The accent wall is rich and beautiful and changes throughout the day. I love it.

  3. Watercolor paintings always struck me as being the perfect way to bring in ethereal yet vivid colors we see in nature.

    You can buy large squares of it and cut it down and then let the colors of the glow bleed into each other (don’t completely saturate the paper, what makes watercolors awesome is the white coming through). This takes nearly no painting expertise at all, just patience! Then place in areas where the paintings might be enhanced by natural or artificial lighting.

  4. Hmm, maybe get pieces of amber glass and hang them in the windows of your living room so during the day the sun shines through the pieces? Or maybe wall sconces with candles inside and amber glass around the candle? Or bright yellowy-orange curtains in the windows? Or amber fairy lights?

  5. What about a stained glass panel with a lightbox behind? You wouldn’t get a great deal of light from it, would certainly need to supplement with lamps and such.
    You could find them in whatever color or combination you like. I think it could really capture the “glowing fire” feel.
    If your budget is limited, you could try non-glass imitations, or DIY with paint on glass.

  6. I have achieved a similar glow in my living room with amber colored sheers that are in the middle of my regular set of curtains (it’s a big picture window). the room totally glows when the sun shines through them and at night they reflect the amber color on the walls. it looks good with almost all coordinating colors, if you ask me!
    I will say i had to make them: i found the color i wanted in a fabric store (Jo-Ann’s), ironed on some hem tape & used drapery clips. super easy.

  7. Ooh, art! Paintings or prints are a great idea. I was thinking lacquered pieces or rich glazed pottery. That fiery orange looks really good on shiny pots or vases. That magma color is pretty hot. 🙂

  8. Two suggestions:

    1) Get a piece of art with that color combination, and hang it prominently in your living room. Since you like it so much, being able to look at it every day will probably make you happy.

    2) Use the yellow-orange glow-y lighting as accent lighting. You already touched on this, so maybe I’m just trying to give you a pep talk? Sconces, heavily shaded small lamps, and possibly even fairy lights can all contribute to the atmosphere of the room. For your “compensation lighting,” pay attention to the color temperature of the bulbs. Get more yellow-colored than blue-colored bulbs, and you’ll warm up your lighting even if it’s bright. Or you could do the majority of your lighting in amber-bliss glow, and get some good task lighting for when you need it.

    Good luck!

  9. What about accents of copper within your home that any available light would make very bright and shiny? You could also get some lanterns or candle holders of varying heights (thrift shop!), paint the glass in some fiery colors, then place LED tealights in them, and cluster around your living room. A cluster of them would make the effect stronger, and might balance with the brighter light in your home.

    I’m not sure if these will really create that effect, but it might. I love those photos!

  10. **pushes up nerd glasses**

    As a theatrical lighting person, one of the cheap-o-est and easiest ways to get *any* color of lighting in your home is a simple 3 step process.

    1. Procure the track lighting of your choice.

    2. Pick out your colors: and purchase the gels in the colors you want (they come in big sheets so you can cut them into much smaller pieces.

    Pro-tip: It looks like you want a Storaro Yellow or a Deep Straw, maybe a canary?

    3. Attach to track lighting. (You can either do this the “real” way by purchasing gel frames and attaching them to the track lights OR do it by just straight up taping the gels to the track lights– regular like, 60/80 watt bulbs don’t get NEARLY as hot has stage lamps so you’re not going to burn the place down– just make sure the gel isn’t in direct contact with the bulb and use a non-melty tape like gaff tape.

    Boomskittle. Instant indoor customized color. For like 20 bucks.

  11. The magic of the fire color is the contrast. Dark walls with bright orange fixtures would be awesome, but living with it can sometimes be a little tricky. My ridiculous suggestion is to have certain light fixtures very close to the walls set up with very orange bulbs, which would illuminate the walls in orange without the commitment. But of course, that would leave your sconces or lamps with orange bulbs in them.
    If you have a crafty bent, I’ve seen this look achieved with the log cabin pattern, and it looked really cohesive and smart. Get a gradient of fabrics from dark, wet stone brown on the outside to bright, fiery orange in the center. Hint: if you don’t sew, so what? Paint it.

  12. Honestly my first thought was SEQUINS. You wouldn’t have to use sequins, but something to bounce around and play with the light–not something that is the color of the light. Maybe accent pillows with something shiny?

  13. You can get mica in sheet form. I’ve ordered it online and used it in art. The pieces can be as big as 8.5 X 11. It might be cool to use them over your window glass. One sheet can be split into a few layers, so you can either make them thin or use them intact for a darker amber effect.

    Also, the walls in our living room are a slate color and it’s surprisingly not cave like as long as you are conscious of the accent colors in other stuff.

  14. If you have a fireplace and use it, you will achieve this type of lighting if your walls are blue. If you don’t have a fireplace, then you may want to look into a fake one.

    Otherwise, is there a specialty lamp/light store near you? I live in the DC area and the ones here will do custom work. You can probably go down to the store and show them all this, explain what plans you have for the room (maybe show them photos of the room in question) and they can give you suggestions on what can be done.

  15. I too have difficulty talking about the edison bulbs with a straight face. But here in good old Portlandia, a lot of places use them, and I have to admit – they do make that kind of glowy, orangey, sexy campfire light, but are still bright enough that you can see your food. They are expensive, so maybe just use a couple at a time and hide them in a translucent lampshade? The curtains also sound magical.

    • I admit that I really love them. I have a pendant light in my kitchen and my original plan was to use an Edison bulb in it all the time. I think they are so pretty….however, they are expensive, and because they are made with old fashioned filament design, they burn out super fast. Hard to justify a 10 dollar bulb that lasts three months just for looks unfortunately.

  16. Maybe try to use several colors of silk or satin ranging from yellow to red-orange. Not pillows though because they are too slippery, but if you make a wall hanging, you can get the best, glowing silk and you don’t need a ton of yardage. I have found amazing silk at Indian Sari stores and it is often way more affordable and sometimes embellished beautifully. I think fire-colored silk in a slate blue/gray room may give you the effect you are looking for. The photos are really beautiful!

  17. I would look into led solutions. With a proper mix of warm white and amber leds, you can pretty much pick the light color. And if you so want, you can get led bulbs and stripes whose color temperature or color can be changed with a remote control. The one that tempts me has a mobile app that allows you to control the color exactly per your liking. And because leds stay cool, you can put installations into gaps behind furniture, above cabinets or behind paper shades, so you don’t have to keep the installation itself visible.

  18. Forgive me of this has been suggested before, but what about copper lined lamps? I am a big fan of glowy, warm, orange light too. I have a few pieces that reflect that sort of light too – a bronze metal tray, a vase – and yep, I light small candles every night.

  19. Don’t know if anyone suggested it yet, but buy philips hue lights :D! They connect to your smartphone, and you can make them any colour you want, or cycle between them, or connect them to your tv if you have a philips tv… lots of options! Our house is filled with them, and the nice thing is that it’s just the lightbulb, you can still put it in any lampshade you like. I would suggest a white shade though, it looks positively awesome to see the colours shine through. They also give off quite some light, or at least they do in our small apartment :P. And if you really need more light, just change the colour for a bit and change it back when you’re done!

Join the Conversation