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An Independence Day Palette

Design Trends

Quick Quiz: What do the colors in the American flag stand for? If you’re stumped, don’t feel bad. It’s a trick question. According to there’s no record stating why the Continental Congress chose the colors red, white and blue for the flag.

But that doesn’t mean this trio is totally arbitrary to our country’s history. In 1782, the same colors were chosen for the Great Seal of the United States and this time around Congress assigned them meaning: red for valor and hardiness, white for innocence and purity and blue for justice, perseverance and vigilance.

The fact that we aren’t the only country with this national color palette hasn’t lessened its significance remotely. There’s just something about red, white and blue that feels decidedly American – especially around July 4th. This is the best time of year to catch this trio in its most traditional fashion – think store displays and homes done up in flags, streamers and patriotic bunting.


It’s interesting to note though, that unlike other significant color pairings (red and green, orange and black) this trio has a life well beyond it’s designated holiday. Many businesses (IHOP, Bank of America, 76) have adopted these colors as their signature palette. And interior designers certainly haven’t shied away from doing rooms in red, white and blue -- especially in one-off hues like navy, cream and maroon.


DE5054 Candied Apple
DEW340 Whisper
DE5780 Water Baby
DE5097 Red Rock
DEW337 Gardenia
DE5774 Thundercloud
DE5117 Redwood City
DEW318 Cottage White
DEC798 Taliesin Blue

It’s possible that the color’s transcendence beyond holiday fare is attributed to the deeper meaning initially given by Congress many centuries ago. It’s not only a palette that resonates patriotism but done creatively can inspire thoughts of strength and nostalgia, while maintaining the perfect balance of warm, cool and neutral tones. 



Images by Megan Mostyn-Brown