Food-Inspired Colors for Your Kitchen and Dining Room

by Rachel Laurendeau on August 7, 2012

An architect-friend of mine once told me that in the kitchen or dining room, you should always choose to decorate with shades inspired by the natural colors of food. It made complete sense to me to want to be surrounded by food colors when I’m preparing meals or sitting down to eat.

Warm and Spicy
When my husband and I started looking at finishes for our home, we really kept my friend’s advice in mind. In fact, we went to our spice drawer, took out all of the jars containing beautiful, richly colored spices and let those inspire our choices. And, believe it or not, we even carried a little bag of spice jars with us when we went out to choose our flooring, fixtures and paint colors. The results: cork floors the color of dark, rich tandoori spice, espresso cabinetry, walls inspired by cardamom pods and pendant light fixtures of blown glass with variations of paprika, cinnamon, honey and a touch of saffron. Our neutral color throughout the space is warm oatmeal.

Food Inspiration
Of course, when painting, there is no need to restrict yourself to the spice drawer. There are plenty of other richly colored foods that can inspire your color palette. How about cornbread, peanut brittle or café au lait? Fresh egg yolks, bacon or blueberry pie? Eggplant, pumpkin or avocado? Creamy tomato soup, raspberry smoothies or artichokes? Mmm… I’m getting hungry just thinking of all of these color-inspiring foods!

Beyond Walls
When thinking of color, our first thought typically goes to the walls. This makes sense since they are the largest surface to which we can add color. But, there are many other ways to add food-inspired colors to your home. Floors, cabinets, lighting fixtures, draperies, tablecloths, seat cushions, tea towels, small appliances, accessories and art work all offer ways to bring in color in large or small amounts and should therefore not be overlooked.

Psychology of Color
Beyond simply choosing the color of your favorite food for your kitchen or eating area, you can also consider the psychology of color or, the effect that color has on our moods and actions. For example, research has shown that red and orange can stimulate conversation and increase appetite in most people. Blue, on the other hand, tends to have the opposite effect, with people feeling less hungry when surrounded by blue. This may be because there are very few blue-colored foods so, instinctively, we do not associate blue with eating.

Selecting paint colors is not always easy. There are literally millions of color options on the market inspired by everything from nature to fashion to cartoon characters. Why not let your favorite food help you inspire the perfect paint color for your next home improvement?

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