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Classic American Getaways Inspired These Summer Color Palettes

Design Trends

The dog days of summer are here and with our newfound ability to dine inside restaurants, visit attractions and travel, we’re reveling in the popular places Americans go to for vacation. Think of classic getaway spots like the Eastern seaboard’s Cape Cod, California’s Malibu coastline, and the high country of North Carolina. Each place offers different, but quintessential summer vacation experiences and each location’s unique character offers up its own color palette that can inspire your own summer design adventures.

Cape Cod

The Cape, which extends from the Southeastern area of Massuchusetts into the Atlantic Ocean, is home to quaint villages, picturesque lighthouses, lakes, ponds and bays. The area’s natural beauty is a draw for many, especially nearby Bostonians and other east coasters, who flock to the Cape in the summer. Long considered the playground of the wealthy and connected, Cape Cod is home to many famous writers, actors, judges, and politicians like the Kennedy family who still maintain a family compound in the Cape’s Hyannis Port village.


Because the area has been inhabited by Puritans and Europeans since the 1600s, older architecture abounds on the Cape, including homes built specifically adapted to life in New England. Cape Cod Style homes refer to those with clapboard and shingle exteriors, typically one or two low stories high, have high-pitched roofs to protect against snow load, and central fireplaces to warm the whole house. When we think about summer color and this region, we’re loving the faded gray exterior of this home, the soft orange-red of the brick walkway and energetic light teal shutters.



“California Dreamin’” comes to mind when driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, taking in the windy coastline and beaches of Malibu. Los Angeles’ famous northernmost beach enclave boasts the wide sandy shoreline of Zuma Beach where surfers ride big waves and dolphin pods frolic, to the rocky outcroppings of Matador Beach. Malibu’s blue waters, cool breezes and epic sunsets attract crowds all year long, but especially in the summer. This photo of Malibu catches the way that cooler colors like cornflower blue and lavender can work with blazing orange and sunset pink.



Appalachian Mountains

When the Southeast’s hot and humid summers set in, locals can head to cooler, mountainous elevations and the shaded Appalachian trail in places like the high country of North Carolina. Rising up to 6,000-feet in elevation and home to Great Smokey Mountain National Park, as well as one of the most scenic drives in North America along the Blue Ridge Parkway among artsy towns like Asheville and Boone, the high country of North Carolina is a classic summer getaway.


When it comes to color palettes inspired by the area, look no further than the beauty of Max Patch, the 4,000-foot high mountain that straddles the North Carolina and Tennessee borders. Here, yellow flowers dance among a dark green grass meadow and the cool hues of the mountains showcase why this region has earned the nickname the Blue Ridge Mountains.


The Catskills are probably best known for their heyday as the 1950s upstate New York family destination depicted in Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Today’s Catskill Mountains, however, are looking quite different. The arrival of distinguished chefs, farm-to-table dining, and designer hospitality establishments means that the Catskills are at once more modern and more rustic than ever. This Catskills color palette takes inspiration from one such hospitality establishment called Scribner's Lodge, a 1960s motor lodge turned chic country escape. In this space, light, natural woods, crisp whites, charcoal and navy blues, and deep burgundies weave together an approachable, yet rich color scheme that’s as American as apple pie.


Photo credit: GOODROB13


Love getting color inspiration from unique places? Take a look at the color palettes these National Parks have inspired. Or maybe your vacation is looking more like a staycation…. in the backyard. No problem, get inspiration closer to home with a look at the trending colors in outdoor living.