Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

Bring Home the Colors of Venice

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When our team recently visited Venice, Italy, they couldn’t help but be inspired by the vibrant hues of the city. Energized by its storied streets and canals, they brought back ideas for how to import these exotic color palettes. Keep reading to learn how to bring the hues of Venice into your home.

Wrought-Iron Black

The shade: A richer version of basic black that exudes warmth and age.
The inspiration: Wrought-iron gates, a reflection of Venice’s once-booming blacksmith tradition, and doors coated in centuries-old black paint spotted throughout the city.
Where the color lives: On gondolas drifting on canals, in the clay bowls crafted by local artisans, in antique etchings, and in the blown glass of Murano.

Photo by Julien Fernandez/GAP Interiors

Photo by Julien Fernandez/GAP Interiors

How to use it: Three words: matte black walls. This once high-drama hue has caught on in recent months and is now feeling more like a neutral than ever. Accents that nod to the past, such as a stately bust or a brass scale (very Merchant of Venice), add a certain gravitas.

Photos by Nicole LaMotte

Photos by Nicole LaMotte

Grand Canal Green

The shade: Similar to sea foam but with a touch more heft.

The inspiration: Venice’s famous S-shape waterway that functions as the city’s main drag.
Where the color lives: On centuries-old statues, the shutters of the palatial palazzi, and delicate glassware.

Photo courtesy of Tobi Fairley

Photo courtesy of Tobi Fairley

How to use it: Subtle variations on this shade seem to render beautifully on everything from upholstery and window treatments to lamps and pillows. For a complementary accent color, warm shades that fall within the orange-to-coral spectrum are pretty much guaranteed to look fantastic.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Burano Blue

The shade: Somewhere between cobalt and turquoise.

The inspiration: The rainbow-bright buildings of Burano, a small island that shares a lagoon with Venice.
Where the color lives: In the broken-glass mosaics of Murano, on gondola covers lining the St. Mark’s basin at night, on Fortuny tableware, and on marbleized paper.

Photo by William Waldron

Photo by William Waldron

How to use it: Add energy to any space by using this deep shade on the walls, but don’t stop there. Mixing a bit of white with the wall color to create a lighter hue for the ceiling is great for an extra-snug vibe. The warmth of natural textures such as sisal, leather, wood, and rattan will keep the room from being dominated by this cool tone.

For more far-flung color palette ideas, see the inspiring hues we spotted in Vietnam >

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