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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. Sherry says:

    That's so funny. I love all of those colors. My favorite crayon color has always been orange :) I'm surprised those were the top 3 colors people disliked. I'm looking out my window and I see all three of those colors in nature; slightly muted, but still there. And what's wrong with slipcovers and wallpaper? ;)

  2. aks says:

    Hilarious…we just did my son's bathroom in a lime green, my daughter's room in a "peach sorbet" aka orange and our Master bedroom is Ben Moore Ashley Gray that is actually brown in color.

  3. pixelecho69 says:

    I agree with @maison21there are no ugly colors just bad choices in decorating.

  4. @nikimcneill says:

    Funny, I love all these colors!! I'm doing my office in orange + teal right now

  5. CplusE says:

    While I don't actually hate any colors, there are certain ones I would rather not use to decorate my home. Bright Crayola crayon green is one, and royal purple is another (I think I was traumatized as a child by a dress my sister owned that had wild metallic swirls of these colors — they gave me a headache!). I am not fond of pale pinks or pastels in general, and I find grey depressing as well as some shades of blue. That said, I have had clothes in all of these colors (just not purple and green together) and loved them, so I guess it is just a matter of how they are used. And I have to add, I do love all of your audience's least favorite colors — they are all in my living room along with red. Not much lime green, because my husband doesn't care for it, but I do love those lime green chairs in your picture!

  6. Lynda says:

    Consider the source and the location – Orlando. They know Mickey Mouse, fishing and hunting. What do they know about design? I live in Miami, and I just did my dining space lime green. For an Easter tablescape option, I tried a pop of orange (inspired by carrots!) and LOVE how refreshing it looked ! To update its pairing, I added gold accents – Hence Easter Karets =) I usually have only used orange for fall – but I'm totally luvin' it paired with lime for Spring / Summer.

    BTW: You're first pic of containers looks amazing – GREAT idea! YOU ROCK!!

  7. Mary Ann says:

    I would like to know why every decorator or designer these days has to paint every wall some shade of green. I was brought up in a house with a lot of green and my Father's favorite color was green. He didn't care what hue, as long as it was green. Because of this over-infusion of green as a child, I have absolutely no green in my house today (except for some food items in the kitchen). I just can't stomach the color!

  8. Ruth says:

    I avoid shades of purple.
    Flowers, yes…..inside of a home, never.

  9. [...] While on stage, I decided to take a poll from the design-savvy guests on various topics including: color, professional lawn care, slipcovers, sofa pricing and wallpaper. At first, people were hesitant to [...]

  10. [...] While on stage, I decided to take a poll from the design-savvy guests on various topics including: color, professional lawn care, slipcovers, sofa pricing and wallpaper. At first, people were hesitant to [...]

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