Peachy Keen

This spring-y pastel is just the thing to warm up a coastal interior

The peachy blush walls of this living room by Catherine Wilson Interiors complement the deeper coral wallpaper in the dining room beyond.
Greens and peach accents play off one another in this garden-view room at the Claremont Hotel.
Peach becomes part of a tonal orange palette in a home designed by architecture firm Royal Barry Wills, where barn doors painted salmon pop beside the sloped peach walls beneath the gambrel roof.
In this bedroom by interior designer Cortney Bishop, the goal was to create a distinct design in a softer palette. Peach patterned wallpaper by Rebecca Atwood and bleached wood walls “work in cohesion rather than compete for the eye,” says Bishop.

It may be months before peaches appear at farmstands, but spring blossoms have us daydreaming about all the pretty pastel colors, especially pale peaches. Named for the fruit, peach is a tint of orange, but it is closer in color to the flesh of a white peach than the classic yellow peach.

As an interior color, peach has many sides. It’s a little unexpected yet versatile; it is lively yet calming. “Peach can be a cool or warm neutral, and it is soft and approachable like the inside of a seashell,” says Krista Stokes, creative director of the boutique Maine hotel group Atlantic Holdings. Pale peach brings a subtle pop of color to a space, but it’s still neutral enough to complement any aesthetic, from Victorian to midcentury modern.

Plus, peach casts a flattering glow wherever it is used; it’s just a matter of finding the right peach for the room you’re decorating. Peaches can range from a pale, almost white hue (gorgeous on walls) to a richer, bolder color that reads pink-orange (perfect for accents). We spoke to designers to find out how to find the rich hue for you and use it in your home.

Peach is on trend.

The interior design world is primed for peach right now. After nearly a decade of “millennial pink” accents, peach is a fresh alternative that’s still soft and warm, but a little less expected. Likewise, peach is a lighter shade of trendy terra-cotta. Two years ago, interior designers’ favorite paint company Farrow and Ball launched a collection with in-demand designer Kelly Wearstler that included Faded Terracotta, which is really a deep shade of peach.

Think of it as “nude.”

Decorators, including the pros we spoke to, often encourage homeowners to think of pastels like peach as a neutral, but if you’re having trouble thinking of pale orange as a noncolor, perhaps think of it as “nude.” Writing in her book Living with Color, textile artist Rebecca Atwood makes an apt analogy: “This creamy version of orange is like using a nude shade of nail polish; it’s pretty and soft, but subtle too.”

Pair it with cool tones.

Interior designer Vanessa Helmick, the owner of Fiore Home in Yarmouth, notes that, because Mainers love their blues, she often uses small amounts of peach tones to break up the coolness. “Orange and blue are direct complements on the color wheel, so using the more muted pairings is always gorgeous,” she says.

Get peachy art.

If you’re looking for a way to bring peach into a cool-scheme room, look to art, Helmick adds. “I use peach and other warm tones in art to balance the blues,” she says, specifically noting that she loves the work of Maine artist Nina Earley, who dyes silk with avocado pits to get a peachy effect. A color that is often found in nature, peach is also often found in seascapes, portraits, floral still lifes, and abstractions.

Go deep for sophistication.

Lorna Gross, an interior designer based in Maryland, likes to play with deeper shades of the hue in formal rooms. “A palette based in peach and corals adds a soft touch to an elegant dining room,” she says. “Adding in metallic finishes retains a refined aesthetic.”

Imagine a fruit salad palette.

“Nature is masterful at coloration, because nature is nuanced,” says Catherine Wilson of Catherine Wilson Interiors in Atlanta, Georgia. When choosing peachy hues, she recommends, “Think of all the fruits in the peach, pink, and coral families: peaches, pink grapefruits, guavas, and pink lady apples.” Mix them up together for a room that’s energetic and delicious to look at.

Recreate a garden palette.

Peach pairs naturally with shades of green and other nature-inspired hues. For example, when reimagining the color schemes for the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, Stokes and interior designer Laura Keeler Pierce of Boston’s Keeler & Co. were inspired by the garden. In one room, they opted for a headboard upholstered in a trailing floral by William Morris and pulled out the peach accents on pillows and a lampshade. “The peach woven into the headboard and pillows was the perfect bridge to all the other hues in the color scheme,” she says.

Try it with teal.

Peach also pairs beautifully with blue-green shades like turquoise. Louise Hurlbutt of Hurlbutt Designs in Kennebunk tweaked a complementary scheme with a turquoise faux-bamboo headboard layered over pale peach walls (Benjamin Moore’s Peach Parfait) in a Kennebunk home. Vintage seascapes that feature teal waters and peachy sails and skies further tie the palette together.

Work with woods.

Designer Cortney Bishop, whose firm is based in Charleston, South Carolina, paired peach and pale woods in a recent bedroom project. “A peachy, blush palette and natural wood tones create a soft and balanced foundation,” she says, noting that the soft color allows for other textural touches and fabrics to be easily layered into a space.

Warm up a whitewashed room.

Interior designer Karin Thomas, who is based in Camden, knows the power of white paint, and she used it liberally in a project in a Maine island home. However, for the walls of a guest bedroom, she opted to pickle the existing wood paneling in a pale shade of peach instead of the usual white. The subtle tint gives the room a warm glow and makes the white-painted furniture look even crisper.

Don’t forget texture.

One way to ensure that pale peach hues don’t look washed out or saccharine is to layer in lots of texture and contrasting materials. For example, in a recent dining room design, New York–based interior designer Emily Butler opted for peach walls, but in grasscloth instead of paint, and paired the soft color with textured rattan chairs and shiny brass accents.

Are Peach Bathrooms the Next Big Thing?

Plumbing manufacturer Kohler sure thinks so. As part of the company’s 150th anniversary celebration, Kohler is reviving some of its vintage hues. Kohler asked their customers and industry pros to vote on six heritage colors to bring back into production in 2023. After more than 100,000 people shared their opinions, Peachblow and Spring Green won the most votes, edging out four other colors including Avocado and Pink Champagne.

Peachblow is a blush-peach color that was first introduced in 1934 and stayed in production until 1973. It’s a throwback for sure, but after decades of all-white bathroom fixtures, the hit of color feels surprisingly modern. Plus, designers always suggest painting a bathroom blush or peach for the flattering glow it casts, so if you’re feeling bold, why not take the color a step further? A selection of Kohler’s most popular products will be available in the peachy hue (and Spring Green) for a limited time this summer. Oh, and if you’ve got a vintage bathroom with a colorful tub and toilet, maybe think twice before tearing it out. As the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.”

For a cheery bathroom in a coastal home, Santa Monica–based interior designer Sarah Barnard used peach tiles to “evoke natural corals and enhance the warm tones of the terrazzo countertop and flooring made with real seashells.” Pink undertones in the wood further what Barnard calls “the joyful effects of pink shades.”

In China, the peach is a symbol of longevity, and peaches are often depicted in paintings and on porcelain.

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