Soft Color Palette Found in India

We’ll be heading to the India pied-à-terre soon — our apartment in Chennai, India — so I’m planning projects for the place and looking at photos from past trips for inspiration. I spotted this “funny face” and love its soft color palette:

Funny Face Found in India

See, the “face” is on this wall:

Soft India Color Palette

I spotted this wall while our driver sped past it, on the way to see a temple in a tiny village called Osur southwest of Chennai, India.

Maybe this soft quiet wall stood out because it was a rarity among all the screaming bright colors. The drive was about 2 hours long (or more? I forget now) so I saw an unusual billboard nearby and made a mental note to watch for the billboard during the drive back. Because I needed a photo of this wall! We told the driver to STOPPPPP, stop-stop-stop — because saying stop one time doesn’t work so well — and I jumped out and greedily got this cute wall into my iPhone.

India Color Palette

Old Wall in India

I share a few pictures of it here as inspiration for color combos, for old wall texture, for adding whimsy and fun in unexpected places!

I am not sure if the pink pipes are for plumbing or perhaps they hold electrical wires. But if they are functional, someone took the care to ensure they were worked into the design, not just slapped on the wall wherever. And I appreciate that, and details like that certainly caught my eye as we flew by.

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Easy DIY Indigo Dye Textile Kit

Indigo blue is a top way to get the boho chic global look that’s so popular in fashion and home decor right now. Indigo dye has been used for centuries in Japan, India, Africa, Rome, everywhere, to color the world blue. And today, trend-setters in home decor are filling rooms with indigo blue:


LuRu Home | Annie Sielke

If you want to try DIY indigo, here is a DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit. Everything is put together for you, including gloves so you can try your hands at this without dying your hands!

Indigo Textile Dye Kit at Uncommon Goods

The kit includes a sizeable 27″ x 27″ white cotton scarf, which you could use as a scarf. You can also make a pillow, tote bag or wall art with the fabric. Of course you can use the kit’s dye to color anything you wish, like wall art canvas, jeans, tea towels, placemats.

I like that the indigo dye is in a dripless applicator bottle. You don’t have to boil water and dissolve dye in a pot or vat. Just use the bottle! So easy.

Indigo Blue Dye Kit at Uncommon Goods

The kit comes with a booklet that gives you instructions for tie-dye and shibori, resist dye techniques, painting and stamping. You could paint your indigo patterns with a brush, or use the dye as a stamp. All the materials and instructions are $30, a great deal.


To get your ideas going, here are some things created with this kit, shared  at the #easyindigokit hashtag on Instagram by Christine Schmidt of the Yellow Owl Workshop, who developed the kit …

Beautiful blue patterned tea towels:

Indigo Tea Towels with Indigo DIY Kit from Uncommon Goods

A bold shibori tie-dye pattern:

Indigo Shibori Christine Schmidt Uncommon Goods Indigo DIY Kit

Couldn’t you see that on a pillow or tote bag?!

Pillows! Yeah, you can do this:

Christine Schmidt DIY Indigo Kit from Uncommon Goods

A little makeup/travel pouch. The “resist” areas, where there is no dye, were made by applying drops of gel school glue. When you apply indigo dye, the areas where you put the glue stay white. The kit’s booklet gives you instructions on how to do this:

Makeup Pouch with Uncommon Goods Indigo Dye Kit

Make your ideas happen with the DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit. Must try, must dye!

And yes, I did try! I did a DIY dye project. I made an indigo pillow for my mom for Christmas, because my parent’s house has a lot of blue in it. I couldn’t share the project until after Christmas! That post is coming up next.

As a sneak preview, I played with the indigo dye, African tribal stencils and Annie Sloan clear wax as a resist.

Indigo Dye DIY

Here’s the thing. Dye is not as controllable as paint. I learned I have some control issues. :) I tell you all about that in the next post, where I share how to make a DIY indigo pillow with this fabric dye kit!

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Global Style: Blue-Green Color

Maybe it’s because I live near Chicago, and it’s the tail end of winter and after being surrounded by brown, gray and white it’s time for blues and greens and all the glorious flower colors of spring. Let’s go on a color trip around the world in search of these gorgeous fresh blues and greens …

In the Tangier home of architect Roberto Peregalli, featured in World of Interiors:

Moroccan Tiles in Tangier via World of Interiors

Another Moroccan scene, this time a riad belonging to Countess Marta Marzotto, featured in the Wall Street Journal:

Marta Marzotto Moroccan Riad via WSJ

Just, whoa!

Blue Green

I think I photographed this in one of my design magazines picked up in Thailand, maybe Elle Decoration. This is muted with some yellow and brown, in a bathroom in Bangkok:

Bathroom in Bangkok

If I remember right, it’s in a guesthouse in Bangkok so you could possibly lounge in this tub too!

Featured in Zsa Zsa Bellagio, English designer David Hare mixes Islamic textiles with antique furniture and aged paint finishes:

Interior Designer David Hare

Actress Lupita Nyong’o lounges at El Fenn riad in Marrakech, where even bathrooms are colorful. Via Vogue:

Lupita at El Fenn via Vogue

The Vogue interview shares an interesting detail — that Lupita brought a Pinterest board of fashion ideas to a meeting with her stylist. In small ways, maybe the stars are like us.

Here are gorgeous threads in a sewing machine in New Delhi, captured by Sibella Court and shared on Instagram:

Threads in New Delhi viz Sibella Court Instagram

Now if all the All Saints windows had threads in the sewing machines like this, I would stand up and pay more attention!

I hope you enjoyed this trip through this refreshing color!

Now if you want this color in your home, here’s a way to get it … Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Florence color, a small touch of Antibes green, a light wash of Aubusson blue:

Chalk Paint Blues and Greens

You could swath a wall with these colors, or paint a chest of drawers. Just a little bit of this color could go a long way to lifting your spirits in springtime.

A rug is another easy way to get a dash of these colors. Look for a rug with these blues and greens like this Veda Rug from One Kings Lane:

Veda Rug from One Kings Lane


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Color: Coral + Indigo

In a moment of color serendipity, these two photos showed up next to each other on Pinterest:

Coral and Indigo

Is Pinterest getting so super smart that it’s analyzing color in photos? And serving up the same colors in a photo we just repinned?

Seeing these, I was struck by something about color:  they made me think about coral differently.

I’d always thought of coral as very Miami Vice-ish. Best left in the 80s. Like, bury that right along with Gordon Gekko, just as unsavory. But right now coral is trendy, and it’s even being teamed with teal again.

So plastic margarita glass … so Miami Vice …

That’s all I can see, I’m so sorry. I was an 80s teen so I lived through the 80s and really don’t want to live through it again, style-wise: the Flock of Seagulls hair, the Memphis style, the big-shouldered suits.

1980s Coral

Throw in green mint or lime with the coral and teal, and all I can see is Beach Vacation Condo Decor … it’s fine to live with for a week while you’re going all island calypso with colorful drinks and sand between your toes. But not to live with every day for years, in your house. Maybe it’s because I live near Chicago and these are not Midwestern colors? It’s way too much Don Johnson.


I think the problem is all the bright clear colors. I feel compelled to sprinkle sea shells all over those clear colors.

The solution? Indigo

Dusty dusky indigo blue balances the brightness of coral and gives it some sophistication. The handmade nature of indigo and its origins from the hands of people in Southeast Asia, India, Africa … I think that’s the quality and “heart” that indigo brings. Slubby textures help too like these indigo pillows from One Kings Lane:

Indigo Pillows from One Kings Lane

Whereas the bright coral/teal/lime combo feels like it’s manufactured in a plant off the side of a New Jersey highway:

Manufactured Mint Coral Blue

That’s not a knock on New Jersey, I know great people from New Jersey, it’s a knock on mass manufacturing.

Even Don Johnson nowadays says “stick it” with the coral, go with the neutral:

Don Johnson what is he doing?

I had to work that photo in some how!

So, let’s go from silly mood to sophisticated look …

How do you “work it” with coral and indigo?

It’s a fine line to tread. The key is look for blues without green in them. Blue + Green = Teal. And coral and teal is how you get transported to 1980s Miami. Instead, look for dusty faded blues without green, or darker navy blues. Vintage indigo pieces mixed with coral help tone down that manufactured color feel. A textured beige in the mix is more updated too. Here are some good blues to look for …

A vintage print of a marine botanical shows a good “non-green blue” from Etsy shop High Street Vintage:

Vintage Coral Print from HighStreetVintage

Ralph Lauren via ABC Carpet & Home:

Ralph Lauren via ABC Carpet and Home

There are many more examples of indigo here on my Pinterest Indigo board:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Color – Indigo on Pinterest.

Add a dash of coral

Add just a bit of coral — reddish coral rather than girly-pinky coral — to the indigo blue. Mix in some textured neutrals. Include a few well-traveled global accessories or textiles.

This Treasury moodboard from Etsy by Stone House Artifacts shows how to do it well:

Etsy Treasury

This inspiration board for an indigo and coral wedding theme from Belle & Chic shows how to do it:

Indigo and Coral Wedding Theme from Belle and Chic

Another good example using navy and coral, this master bedroom makeover by DecorChick:

DecorChick Navy and Coral Bedroom

A pattern-full example from John Robshaw:

John Robshaw Indigo and Coral

You can often find the coral and indigo combo in Hmong hilltribe textiles. Like in this pillow from HomeGirlCollection on Etsy:

Hmong Pillow Indigo and Coral via HomeGirlCollection

And this Hmong indigo batik duvet cover from SiameseDreamDesign on Etsy:

Hmong Indigo Batik via SiameseDreamDesign

To wrap up, let’s get a closer look at the original color inspiration. It is Max Schödl’s “Oriental Still Life” actually painted back in 1907 with Oriental antiques:

Max Schoedl Oriental Still Life

Interesting that antique art inspired how to use coral in a more current way.

Max Schoedl Painting Detail


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