The name says it all with harvest gold; it's the earthy yellow-orange that evokes autumn leaves, Thanksgiving, mustard and other fruits of nature's bounty. Far from drab, this modern color offsets shades of blue, shadowy violets and earth tones.
Harvest Gold and the Color Wheel
Designers often use the color wheel -- a diagram of how the spectrum of colors relate to one another -- to guide a design approach. Harvest gold falls somewhere between yellow and orange on the wheel, although most manufacturers classify it as an orange.
With an analogous color scheme, borrow from the colors immediately surrounding harvest gold: yellow, orange and green. Choose shades with the same dusky intensity, such as a sage throw blanket on a harvest gold couch. Add a piece of artwork that uses harvest gold on a wall painted with artichoke or celadon green paint.
Use slate blue to make harvest gold pop in a complementary color scheme. In an ivory room with a slate-blue microfiber couch or recliner, add harvest gold curtains or paint a gold accent wall. Try dark lavender or periwinkle where you might have used blue for a more daring look. China trimmed with harvest gold looks great on a solid or printed lavender tablecloth.
Earth Tones and Harvest Gold
Earth tones don't limit you to brown, gray and taupe. Get inspired by the colors of Indian corn, gourds and squash, and create a palette of browns and neutrals with gold or rust-colored accents. Play up the natural vibe with light wood furnishings that show the wood grain, such as ash or pine.
Darker colors in nature, such as gray, make harvest gold appear brighter. Create a monochromatic bedroom full of grays --silver window treatments, dove-colored paint or trim -- and add a pop of color with harvest gold pillows or bedding.
Harvest Gold as a Retro Shade
Harvest gold had its moment in the 1970s, particularly for appliances. A harvest gold refrigerator sets a vintage tone for any kitchen. You also may use this color on cabinets or on kitchen tiles.
Play up the retro effect with period-appropriate colors and accessories. Avocado was very popular during this era, so little touches of the dark green around your kitchen (think place mats or a vintage phone) creates a fun, kitschy vibe. Look for other '70s-inspired design details such as bubbly or paisley prints to complete the impression.
Kat Stromquist received a master's in creative writing from the University of New Orleans. She writes about interior design and lifestyle issues for a variety of print and web outlets.