Coral is cheerful, tropical, stimulating and warm. It's an energy color, more exciting than daring, but still fun. In nature, coral ranges from rich pinks to a deep reddish-orange, and the color can be found in the exoskeletons of tiny animals that form coral reefs, the petals of flowering plants, butterfly and exotic bird wings and bands of light at sunset. Coral is a positive chi color, both enlivening and soothing in your decor.
Formula for Coral
Coral is a mix of red and orange, which ultimately means red and yellow, lightened with white. You can get coral by blending 3 parts rose-pink paint and 2 parts yellow paint, or, get back to basics, and mix 1 part clear orange, 1 part rich red and 2 parts white to lighten things up. Different paints will combine to yield slightly different tints, so one good way to experiment is to get the right shade of coral -- the yellow-red mix -- and then slowly add white to take off the vibrant edge. Remember: Paint dries darker. Try a test swatch before committing to a whole wall.
Buy It by the Gallon
Paint companies are a little bit in love with coral -- it was picked as a "2015 color of the year" by several paint manufacturers. But coral never completely goes out of fashion. It brightens up traditional, cottage, contemporary and vintage decor. It's at home in a nursery, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, guest room or hallway. Use coral on an accent wall or to accentuate a piece of furniture. Be careful that your custom mix doesn't take on too much yellow and edge into salmon. That's a great color, too, but it blends less successfully with some beautiful exotic muted colors.
Coral, along with turquoise, mint and other softer, brighter hues, was a '50s fave. The post-war optimism and a wave of prosperity were reflected in an almost candy-colored palette. But coral is such a rich natural color that it's in no danger of being a fly-by-night or relegated to historical artifact. Coral and mint are pretty on walls and cabinets in a throwback kitchen with a vintage fridge and stove, cafe curtains and linoleum floors. Try black-and-white diamond-patterned linoleum to add a sharp note to the creamy coral and refreshing pale mint.
Coral Reef Walls
Paint walls warm coral anywhere in the house for a happy island ambiance. Coral is a subtler approach than red or orange to stimulate both appetites in the dining room and conversations in the living room. Wash it over walls, and trim them in creamy white or ivory with ebony wood floors for elegance without an edge. Coral bedrooms are romantic retreats; a pale coral flat paint on the walls glows gently in a room with drifts of flowered curtains and delicate coral, vanilla and pale turquoise or spring green bedding. A jolt of deep coral on the bathroom wall behind the vanity mirror will wake you up in the morning, even as it casts a flattering light over your groggy features. Paint the rest of the room parchment and add lots of fluffy coral towels.
Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .