Are you tired of using the same old colors? If you have more blue quilts than you can count and enough gray sweaters to wear every day of the year, it’s time to break out of your color comfort zone! Not sure where to start? Just look around — you’ll find color inspiration nearly everywhere you look.
8 unexpected places to find color inspiration
Flowers are probably the most obvious place to find new, interesting colors. Take a walk around your neighborhood and see what you can spot. Use your phone or a camera to take photos of the colors you like most, then match them up to supplies at the store or in your stash.
The roses, carnations and baby’s breath pictured above were the inspiration for Boundless Flower Shoppe used in the quilts in the background. But you don’t have to use a floral fabric to use florals as inspiration. How about decorating a cake with red, pink, white and green details?
The inspiration never ends on Instagram! If your usual Instagram feed isn’t giving you much inspiration, search for color-related hashtags (#color, #blue, #red — you get the idea). Follow some of your favorite designers, bloggers and instructors and see what colors they’re working with. And we post all kinds of fun ideas and inspiration on the @becraftsy account.
3. The paint aisle
Visit your local home improvement store and stand in front of the paint swatches. Explore a color you aren’t normally drawn to — for me, that would be yellow — and see if there’s a shade that surprises you.
You don’t have to go to runway shows to find inspiration in fashion. The next time you see an outfit you love — whether it’s in a magazine, on a friend or one you put together yourself — take careful note of the colors. How could you use the same shades in your projects?
5. Vintage craft projects
Do you have a collection of vintage knitting books? A vintage quilt or afghan that’s been passed down for generations? Take a closer look and notice the color palettes. They’re probably very different from the color palettes we see today
Pantone is the color authority that selected a Color of the Year each year. Plus, the organization publishes seasonal color reports, highlighting shades to suit the season.
7. Hand-dyed fibers
Variegated yarn, especially the unpredictable hand-dyed yarn, constantly delights me when I knit with it. You never know how those colors are going to bleed into each other.
8. Graphic design
Graphic design is everywhere around you. Food packaging, signage, billboards, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, flyers, brochures, magazine covers — all these things and more were carefully designed, taking color, shape, texture, balance and more into account.
When something catches your eye, make note of the colors and how they’re used. Is there a pop of brilliant blue, for example? Or maybe it’s the use of white negative space that you like.
9. Your stash
Your stash — whether it’s full of fabric, yarn, paints or something else — probably has colors in it that you’ve long forgotten. Go through your stash and see if there are colors or even color combinations that you could use for an upcoming project. Dig deep! There might just be a gorgeous color buried at the bottom.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and was updated in January 2018.