Choosing colors is hard. We all have our favorites that we easily pick for the small stuff like clothes, pillows, plants, and flowers. But when it comes time to choosing a color for the big stuff, the stuff that dominates the room (think wall colors and furniture) or the stuff that takes a big bite out of our budgets (think furniture and shoes) then that’s when I find it hardest to choose.
Consider shoes for an example. A good pair of shoes (or a great bag) is not an item I run out and buy every day or week…or even month. No, good shoes and bags are an investment of sorts. So when I walk past the shoe department and see all of those gorgeous colored shoes, I find myself wishing I could buy one in every color.
But when it comes down to actually making the purchase, I tend to follow Kate Middleton’s lead (she is such a sensible girl) and choose the classic nude pump that will go with everything.
I’m just too pragmatic that way. Chalk it up to my failure to successfully propagate a money tree (Arboritus denarius)…or make a video of a certain genre. 😉
So now that I have some new outdoor spaces to decorate (back story Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I am pondering colors for my outdoor furniture. The furniture that I have has been in storage for a year now, and I’m ready to get it out, clean it up, and give it a fresh coat of paint. But what to do? Do I choose a fun color or do I choose a classic color? How do you choose the color of your outdoor furniture?
The argument that goes on in my head is something like this…
“Don’t be a bore. Do something fun! You can always repaint.“
“But if you stick with black…a very classic outdoor color…you can bring in the color with cushions and pillows and plants that are much easier to change out. Black will go with anything! Who has time to repaint?“
And there are other factors to consider when choosing the color of your outdoor furniture:
- The backdrop
- The color palette of your garden
- The other objects in the shared space
- The feel of the space
Your outdoor space doesn’t happen in a void. Look beyond and you will see the backdrop. What would be behind your furniture? Is it an arbor and trellis like mine? (that someday will get painted)
Or is it the cityscape? A lush garden? The ocean, a pond, or swimming pool? Perhaps it is a large retaining wall made of stones or brick. Maybe the backdrop is a brick patio or wide-open space. Whatever the backdrop, it is an element to consider when choosing the color of your outdoor furniture.
The Color Palette of Your Garden
Stand back and take a look at the color palette of your garden. Is it vivid, using lots of colors? Are there flowers and foliage of many colors? Or perhaps it is vivid because only one or two colors dominate.
Or perhaps your garden is very muted in its color palette using more foliage than flowers.
Other Objects in the Shared Space
What other objects will share the space with the furniture? Will there be containers of various colors, shapes, and sizes? Perhaps there is a water feature or piece of artwork from which you do not want to draw attention away. Where do you want the focus to fall in this space? On the furniture or the objects that share the space?
You may have a space that is dominated by a brightly colored shed or fence. In that case, black furniture would make a good choice since it is not visually busy and wouldn’t draw attention away from your focal point.
The Feel of the Space
As with all design–inside and out–I believe the most important factor when creating a new space is how the space feels. Ask yourself how you want to feel when you step into the space? Do you want to feel energized? Excited? Jazzed up and ready to go? Perhaps this is a space in which you intend to entertain and you do want to get your party on. Lots of color will do that trick!
But then you may prefer to have a place to unwind and relax. This space may be where you want to retreat from the chaos of the day, sip a glass of wine, and have a quiet conversation. This is your calm space and carefully chosen colors determine how it makes you feel.
So what color will I decide for my furniture? The truth is I like black in the garden. Black is a great color to set off the pops of color you really want to show off. It is great for furniture as well as containers. Black can be very classic or very modern.
Rarely would I choose white unless I was on a beach. I think white tends to look a little washed out in the garden setting. It comes across as beachy, post-wedding, and too bright. I want colors to be a backdrop or to compliment…not to stick out like a sore thumb. It is a subtle difference.
As you can see, I have some things to think about because choosing colors is hard.
Do you choose a safe color such as black or bronze? Or do you go for the bright colors? What color of furniture do you have in your outdoor spaces?