Mother Nature rarely gives us pure simple colors. Just as there are complex neutrals, many colors are complex, meaning, they are altered by adding gray or brown to tone them down. A tint is a color with white added, a shade has black added, and a tone is softened by the addition of gray.
A notable color difference shows up in geography: a house near the equator will need strong, simple saturated colors because the sun is so intense, the sky so blue, the water so turquoise.
When we see those colors here in Atlanta, they look a little out of place. Here’s why:
Instead of dirt we have terra cotta clay. The barks of our trees are muted, and our sky is blue/gray most of the year. Pure white, true black, and a simple gray are almost as jarring against natural brick and stone as turquoise would be. We NEED muted colors and complex neutrals to fit the natural landscape . . . to blend with our natural building materials.
I did a house in Decatur with a brown roof, bone-colored gutters, and brick with terra cotta, persimmon and plum (yes! Some of the bricks are plum.) We used plum for the foundation and porch, a light goldish-persimmon for the siding, light tan for the trim, and a rich olive for the doors and shutters.
Here are two palettes that include purple, which is somewhat unexpected. The key is that all of the colors are muted instead of bright and too saturated. One group is subtle, while the other is for those who prefer saucy and sassy to convention and tradition, but still want to fit in with the neighborhood.
Rebecca Ewing Color & Design