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A few weeks ago, I trekked from my temporary home in New York City to Florida for an event at Epcot. After several attempts to inquire as to all that Orlando had to offer, I was quickly corrected by the locals that Disney parks are part of a city called Lake Buena Vista. Hours later, I found myself on a stage presenting one of my HGTV.com projects on creating a mobile container garden.

brian patrick flynn mobile container garden

As a TV producer, my job is to have three backup plans for every great idea should it fall flat. Overall, my job is to ensure content keeps viewers/readers/audiences both informed and engaged. For the sake of not losing the audience to their iPhones, I turned the focus onto the crowd thinking to myself “I wonder if I ask them their likes and dislikes about design and decorating whether they’ll actually tell me.” And did they ever.

While a half dozen topics sparked amazing, albeit fun and light, debate, color was the one I found the most fascinating. Here’s a rundown on the colors people seemed to dislike most, along with my attempt to show how, when done right, these colors can be breathtaking. PS Next time you go to Walt Disney World or Epcot, impress the locals by asking them “Do you live here in Lake Buena Vista?” You may end up with free mouse ears.

First up? Orange.

Decorating With Orange

Decorating With Orange

Decorating With Orange

Above all other colors, orange took home the medal for Most-Hated Color. What sucks most about this, particularly for me, is that about 30% of my portfolio sports this Vitamin C-spectacular hue. In an attempt to win them over, I mentioned how all shades of orange once to live on my black list until I started using it simply in accent pieces. As these three images above by designers Jeffrey Bilhuber, Leslie Klotz and Chad Eisner from House Beautiful demonstrate, orange is a gender-neutral color that instantly adds energy to any room, even if it’s simply with a throw blanket. Okay, I totally get the idea that a room painted high gloss tangerine can be hard to take; however, small doses of orange can work wonders in otherwise muted rooms.

Decorating With Brown

Decorating With Brown

Decorating With Brown

Coming in at a close second was brown. And just to fill you in on my feelings, brown is the color I’m most likely to use when I decorate. I get the notion that most naysayers think it’s dark, masculine and often associated with being muddy. Well, um, just don’t use a dark, muddy shade of brown; instead, shoot for elegant, neutral and classic.

In the dining room above by Jonathan Berger from House Beautiful, there’s no sign of the color being dark. Instead, it serves as a mediator between the femme pinks and the boyish blues. Next, a living room by David DeMattel proves that the right brown, when paired with neutrals, can be classic and elegant with no cliched association to hyper-masculinity. Last, I used a brown in a master bedroom as a backdrop for layering grays and burnt oranges, resulting in an earth-tone-fest that was both sleepy and sexy.

Decorating With Lime Green

Decorating With Lime Green

Decorating With Lime Green

In third place was lime green—which is kinda fascinating since orange, brown and lime green is a timeless color combo. Of the three colors, I get why lime green makes the list; it can be totally Romper Room-ish when done incorrectly. Similar to a wild tiger, lime green needs to be tamed if you wanna live with it indoors.

The first image, a living room by designer Christina Murphy, shows how lime can be bold and dominant but toned down with tons of white. Next, a sunroom by designer Andrew Flesher sports layered limes seen in upholstery; the different tones placed next to one another seem to make them less lime-y and more mossy. Last, a kitchen by Jonathan Adler shows that just a few small bursts of graphic lime-green prints can instantly add pizazz to an otherwise calm, white-and-silver color scheme.

Now that we’ve discussed the three not-so-favorites from folks at Epcot, what colors do you detest most and why?

40 Responses

  1. OMG! I am working right now on a playroom done in lime/leaf green, brown and punches of orange! I love all those colors

  2. Erin says:

    I don't know if I should feel badly about the fact that these are all my favorite colors.

  3. Lime says:

    Sage green. Talk about old fashioned! And mauve, for the same reason. They both just seem wildly outdated.

    I love the orange sofa in the first shot! Actually, an orange sofa has been on my wish list for YEARS. I'll have it one day.

  4. Renee says:

    What do you mean self-taught? No school? or just perfected the craft on your own? I'm interested in Interior Design but struggling right now……can you offer some direction…..pretty please!

  5. Renee says:

    By the way, love the colors and how u used them. I actually like these colors when used to give the space a face-lift or punch.

  6. Lana says:

    I have lime green in my bedroom and I love it! I was very hesitant to use it at first, but it looks great at all times of day.

  7. Amy PureHome says:

    I'd like to think there really aren't any bad colors – just bad ways to decorate with them. Everyone has favorites of course, but hating a color is harsh! I think if you hate a color you've been in a "when good colors go bad" situation! Ha.

  8. @maison21 says:

    there are no bad colors, only bad designers.

  9. peggy says:

    Beige, but everyone says that. And burgundy. I used to hate orange, but now I love it!

  10. Jen says:

    Orange and a limer colored green tend to be very un-traditional colors and are out of most people's comfort zone…. Perhaps that why people tend to avoid them? If thats not the reason then it must be because (especially brown and orange) dig up memories of the Seventies?! These all are my favorite colors too – maybe these colors present a fun challenge to us designers.

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