ColorTherapy: The Worst Colors for Interiors, Vol. II

ColorTherapy: The Worst Colors for Interiors, Vol. II

Mark Chamberlain
Sep 9, 2008

I'm told that my first column on worst colors, The Worst Colors For Interiors, met with such great success that it still tops the AT charts. Let's see if we can continue the trend with a few more ugly colors…

As I've previously written, some colors simply don't look good on a wall, and I mean they wouldn't appeal to anybody in any context anywhere, though I speak in hyperbole. I've made a few more mental notes over the last few months, and to my list of worst colors for interiors let's add the following:

Bright orange Primary blue Chartreuse Ace Bandage beige.

By orange I mean crayon-box orange—it doesn't really make anyone look or feel good. I sometimes like a flame red color in the kitchen, but if you're really craving orange think dark or spice colors. Try Ralph Lauren's Terracotta Pot IB68, which I used once to sensational effect.

Ditto with crayon-box blue, or what I call Hardy Boys book blue—it's just always too bright. The way to make blue sensual is by greening it up, graying it out, or going underwater with it. Again, look to Ralph Lauren's Vintage Master line for mysterious, Old World shades of blue.

I don't love Chartreuse; there's also a lettuce green that rubs me the wrong way. Looks good in places like Mexico, but it's a hard sell in the light of New York.

I always prefer grey over beige, but that reddish, Ace Bandage color is the limit. Maybe it works in the townhouses of some circles, but not in my world.

I ended my last Worst column as an informal survey, so once again, let's hear your lists, or counter-indications to mine.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter