ask the experts5 min read

Colour explained: everything you need to know about orange paint

Dining room decorated in Lick Orange 04 paint shade

WordsFrankie Marqueé

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A colour associated with wellbeing and positive energy, a colour that can also promote calmness depending on its tone and how you use it, a colour that’s earthy and easy to be around – that’s orange for you. So if you thought it might be too zingy for a bedroom, guess again, because orange is a zen, harmonising hue to invite into whichever corner of your room takes your fancy. With two versions of events in the Lick palette, read on to understand which might be your perfect match…

Shop our orange paint colours sample box

Let’s talk undertones

Knowing which undertones are bubbling beneath the surface in your paint is worth getting clued up on. Why? Because a yellow-based white versus one with grey undertones will a) give off a very different vibe in your room and b) lend itself better to a different type of property. They’re a big deal when it comes to determining the character of your paint, your room and its compatibility with your home.

Whites aside, a paint’s base colour (or undertone) matter just as much whatever the hue – oranges included. In a bid to not overcomplicate colour, there are just two principal undertones to get your head around in our orange palette, and they go a little something like this:

  • Brown: a popular undertone for orange paints like warm Orange 02 brown paint, brown is there to form a very grounding orange indeed. Orange’s link to Mother Nature can go one of two ways – the earth and the soil beneath your feet or the sky and its sunsets. With brown, it’s about the former so that you end up with an orange that’s mellow, warming and a bit nutty. Think rich autumn leaves, burnt Siena or cinnamon sticks. 
  • Grey: in Orange 01, we’ve added a charcoal grey base (also known by colour buffs as adding tone when specifically referring to grey). Grey undertones typically make a colour feel cooler and more contemporary, but in blood Orange 01, you can see that it doesn’t have to be so black and white, because a grey base can still produce a warm overall colour. Grey just pulls it back a bit to stop Orange 01 from feeling fiery and bright. And the best news about that? It makes it a colour that’s ten times easier to work with, suiting every room in the house. 

Drop a tint. Throw some shade 

Base sorted, now we move onto depth and how much light or shade your orange has got going on.

When creating colours, different degrees of white and black are poured in to play with how bright and airy or how dark and mysterious a colour can be. In the industry, that’s referred to as adding tint (white) or shade (black) – jargon officially busted.

Both of our oranges have got less tint in them – they’re deeper, richer oranges rather than sorbet shades – though if you want one a teensy bit lighter, go for Orange 02

Colour compatibility and room direction

Now dig deep in your cupboards because you’re going to need your compass for this next bit. The direction in which your room faces has the power to totally shift your chosen paint colour into a new dimension. It’s because of the temperature of natural light at different points of the day (as in, morning light is much cooler than an afternoon’s warming glow). Direction set, here’s how to navigate to the best orange for your room’s compass point.

Shop orange wall and furniture paint

North-facing rooms: warm oranges

Rooms that look to the North will feel the chilliest. The light they receive comes in during the morning and will have a blue tint, and so any colours that are a cool tone will feel all the chillier. It’s best then to stick to colours that will warm up your space, and thankfully, both of our oranges fit the bill. To play it totally, utterly and completely safe, go for Orange 02 which hasn’t got a whiff of cool about it.

Check out our colours for north facing rooms.

East-facing rooms: avoid oranges with a blue base 

East-facing rooms get their warm yellow light before lunch which you can maximise with a warming orange hue. As you lose the golden light throughout the day and it becomes more shadowed come late afternoon and a bit bluer (meaning blue-based oranges are best avoided), a warm orange will continue to triumph, acting as a blanket and keeping things welcoming and full of comfort. Once again, either of our oranges fit the bill here.

West-facing rooms: warm, rich and earthy oranges 

Like easterly rooms, those with a west-facing aspect are mega changeable, getting their glow on in the afternoon and evening, If you choose a highly saturated orange, you might risk it feeling a bit flat in the morning (something you can counteract with well-balanced lighting and warm white bulbs) and so the safest ground is a rich, brown-based orange like Orange 02.

South-facing rooms: oranges that pair with cooler accents

The oval-shaped face of the interiors world that suits pretty much every colour. South-facing rooms are super easy to work with and are known for their golden, sun kissed rays in which your colour can bask. The only caveat is that because it’s almost constantly the golden hour in there, warm colours can run away with themselves and can benefit from some tempering. If we had to pick one orange, we’d suggest Orange 02 whose charcoal grey base helps to tone things down (love charcoal? Check out our charcoal grey paint Grey 08). Or, pair either orange with paints like Teal 02 and Teal 03 – perfect partners for both heritage and contemporary homes. 

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