5 Delicious Ways to Use Food as Decor Inspiration

5 Delicious Ways to Use Food as Decor Inspiration

Carolyn Purnell
Sep 18, 2015

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I consistently drool over the beautiful food photography on The Kitchn, and one day I started thinking up ways that I could combine two of my great loves: decor and food. They say that inspiration comes from anywhere, so here are my suggestions for how you can draw decor inspiration from the stuff you eat.

Think about proportion. In the Bento box above, a large portion of the food is neutrally colored (rice, fish, and cookies), but there's a visual punch with a handful of ripe raspberries and some edamame. In decor, it also works well to keep your base relatively neutral, adding large doses of one or two colors and accents of others. Our founder, Maxwell Ryan, suggests using the 80-20 rule, which means that if you decorate 80% of a room in neutral colors, you can get very colorful with the other 20%. But if you have any questions or want to deviate from that pattern, why not experiment with food? See what combinations and proportions work in a small area before you graduate to a whole room. It's one time that it's okay to play with your food!

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Consider the color palette. I tend to gravitate toward cooler colors in my home, and a combo of orange and beige was not a color scheme that I ever would have considered. Even the words written above register "boring" to me, and I think they conjured up images of darker, muddier colors. But when I saw just how fresh and vibrant that combination could be, thanks to the juxtaposition of these dried apricots and grains, it made me reconsider. Look at the foods you love, and see what unexpected colors- and color combinations- you can steal from them.

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Embrace rich color. Some of the most beautiful foods are those with rich, saturated colors. Think of luscious strawberries, leafy kale, and radiant heirloom tomatoes. Even if you're a color-phobe, you can still take inspiration from the rich hues of your favorite foods. In both photos above, the vibrant red is both tempered and highlighted by the white backdrop, while wooden accents give the color a more "natural" feel. (At least, that's the case in the room above; what's more "natural" than delicious strawberries?)

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Think about color mixtures. Although there can be exceptions to the rule, a plate of monochrome food is about as boring as a monochrome room. Food stylists and chefs know that a mixture of colors is much more likely to entice the eyes than a homogenous mush. Even if your room is mostly one or two colors, consider adding a sprinkle of "parsley" (or in this case, parsley, cilantro, scallions, and pomegranate seeds) to liven it up.

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Think about textures. Food are decor are both made interesting by texture. Sometimes the stuff you're working with, based on the palette alone, just isn't that interesting- but if you mix up the textures, it suddenly gets a lot more so.

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