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I glanced at the calendar and here we are- December. October quickly turned into November and well, November is now in the rearview mirror. But nonetheless even though late Fall is just about behind us, my favorite color of the season is one that works beautifully deep into the Winter months.

Rich and bold, 'burnt orange' conjures up images of roaring fireplaces and autumnal scenes. Echoing the '70s trend, this nostalgic classic has had a surprising resurgence in both home decor and fashion alike.

Image via Unsplash

Burnt orange is a medium-dark orange shade with a slightly brownish or "burnt" tone. It is said that the color was officially named in 1915 after the University of Texas Longhorns football team continually darkened their "orange" uniform to differentiate themselves from many other orange and white teams.

Eventually, the Longhorns' uniform returned to classic orange and white when the dye used to make burnt orange became unavailable. Years later, it was brought back by the team's coach and 'Burnt Orange' became the official color of the University of Texas. Apparently, the color is even trademarked so that you cannot use shade Pantone 159 (Burnt Orange) for business purposes.

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Historically however, the hue is nothing new. Various shades of orange, burnt orange, sienna and burnt umber have been used in paintings throughout history. Beloved by many famous artists, burnt orange was a classic recurring shade especially prevalent in works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh.

Image via Wix Media

Like all colors, burnt orange has both positive and negative associations. Most often times it is associated with comfort and warmth, representative of fire and feelings of togetherness. On the contrary, it can also represent pride, stubbornness and aggression.

Image via Zac Posen

In fashion, the rich autumnal shade has been popping up everywhere with a nod back to the '70s especially as other trends like extreme bell-bottoms are back in play.

Luckily the look isn't as kitschy as originally intended. Instead it represents a cheerful aesthetic with a hint of nostalgia while thankfully remaining elegant and very seasonally appropriate.

I actually love to wear burnt orange as a substitute for brown. It looks amazing with denim and for an elevated look try pairing it with ivory and camel.

Image via Chanel

On the home design front, this past year burnt orange, rust and rich terracotta have slowly started to take center stage. Instead of evoking a retro color palette, the goal by many designers has been to focus on warmth and optimism in the post-pandemic era.

Image via Schumacher

'As we navigate away from the pandemic, our society is feeling more optimistic, which then translates into our home interior color choices,' says Grace Baena, Interiors Curator of Kaiyo. 'Pink and orange are also trending as a pair since they work so well together. Choosing duller shades of both creates a calm and elegant aesthetic.'

Image via Ricardo Labougle

Definitely a sophisticated color choice, the deepest tones of burnt orange allow for a space to feel inviting and comfortable while remaining refined. Just like in fashion, it is a perfect pairing with neutrals and almost blends in instead of standing out.

For a bolder approach, it also pairs nicely with gray and azure blue- think rich autumn leaves against a bluebird November sky. For more inspiration take a look at the Late Fall Moodboard here.

Image via Greg Natale

A great way to introduce the color is to experiment with smaller pieces to help bring in a sense of warmth to your space.

I happen to love burnt orange velvet chairs as a starting point. They immediately elevate a room and work with many current decor schemes like gray, brass, black & white.

Just as the days turn cold and bleak, now is the perfect time to warm it up in everything from handbags and jewelry to lush decor pieces like burnt orange velvet pillows and richly woven fabrics.

Here are some of my favorite finds:

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My go-to style for throw pillows: velvet with a simple inset trim

A uniquely shaped Ginger Jar perfect for an entry table

Burnt orange, brass details, and zippers oh my

The Fall and Winter months all wrapped up in a candle

Exotic inspiration for the coffee table

Modern art to make a visual impact

I just ordered this fabric swatch, perfect for a small stool or chair

A classic chainlink purse in a refreshing color

These earrings are on my Christmas list

A hallway runner to instantly add warmth

Bring in a bit of burnt orange with these chic table lamps


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