Beautifully Weird Colors

There is a plethora (I just like that word…plethora….it makes me smile) of colors when it comes to design and style and gone are the days of just primary and secondary colors. Take paint for instance: With the advancement of technology and the ability to color match almost any shade or variant of a color, the possibilities for paint are almost limitless.

The other day while waiting for our ride to pick us up at the airport, a lady standing next to us was explaining via cellphone to her ride that she would be curbside wearing  a fuchsia shirt. My husband leaned over and said, “I thought her shirt was purple.”  While fuchsia is fairly common, that color moment stuck in my brain and I thought it would be interesting to see what weird colors were out there. After a little on-line research I came across a list for weird colors so while using some of the info given in the article I’ve fleshed them out a bit more.


Malachite is a secondary copper mineral known by its unique light and dark green banding. Named for the Greek word “mallow,” a green herb, the color is referenced clear back to Greek / Roman Mythology in which Demeter’s throne was said to have been made out of Malachite.

The Spey Classic Roll Top Tub eclectic bathtubs

Tony Duquette / Belvedere Malachite Chair eclectic chairs


Spicy mustard yellow but just a bit darker, Gamboge comes from the Latin word for pigment, gambogium, which is a derivative of the Latin word Gambogia aka Cambodia. In the 17th century the color had made its way to Europe where it was first used in the English language in 1634.

Showcase 2007 traditional bathroom
Banquette contemporary dining room


Fallow is one of the oldest color names to exist in the English language. The pale brown is named after the color one would see when looking into fallow fields as well as the soil, which is often sandy. The color Fallow was first recorded in 1,000. The color is known in South African and Indian cultures as Ravi brown.

XStyles Bath Design Studio contemporary bathroom
Living Room contemporary living room


Razzmatazz is a red-pink color invented by Crayola in 1993, and was first found in the Big Box of 96. The color is said to be very similar to rose which is found directly in the middle of magenta and red on the color wheel. The new crayon color was named by five-year old Laura Bartolomei-Hill during Crayola’s Name the New Colors Contest.

Loft shots eclectic living room

Pink Glass Kitchen contemporary kitchen


Falu Red originated from a copper mine at Falun in Dalarna, Sweden and was originally used on wooden barns and cottages. Falu Red has been around since the 16th century and is still used today though most predominately in the countryside.


Aquamar gold serie modern bathtubs
Pair of Native Andirons eclectic fireplace accessories


While the color name sounds a bit depressing, it is a beautiful dark metallic gray with or without hints of steely blue and is based around the element Arsenic, a metalloid that is naturally found. *Note: Some arsenic agents have more of a red-orange tint.

Heights Kitchen Remodel traditional kitchen
Green and Gray Home Office eclectic home office

Easton Desk & Hutch contemporary desks


Feldgrau, German for “field gray,” was the color of German uniforms worn from 1907 until late 1945. The color was also used in post war uniforms by the East German Army (NVA) and the Bundeswehr, West Germany’s army. The color was last used on the woollen m/58 winter uniform. The gray-green color is very similar to the greens, grays, and browns used in more widely used army uniforms, such as those of the U.S. Army.

Gathering Place traditional kitchen
Showcase 07 traditional dining room


United Nations blue is very similar to Dodger blue, but is more pastel-like and not as vibrant. This blue is found on the U.N. flag, as well as the U.N emblem and peacekeeper uniforms.


Breakers Beach House contemporary bathroom

Blue 12 in. Ruffled Cake Stand modern serveware


Xanadu is a green-gray color stemming from the Philodendron plant. The plant leaves are generally a green color with a tint of gray. It is said that the plant got its name from Xanadu, which was an ancient city located in Inner Mongolia, China.

Hotel Healdsburg: Slideshow Guest room full bath. modern bathroom
master bedroom contemporary bedroom

Village Foglie Green Side Chair and Stripe Cushion traditional dining chairs and benches


In Latin, Caput Mortuum translates into dead head or worthless remains, the terminology used by alchemists to describe the inert residue left over from a chemical reaction. This by-product was often a rusty violet color and today is an important pigmentation for artists.

Italian Theater panels. eclectic living room

Capitol Lighting 1-800lighting Photos traditional dining room

Accent Seating Burgundy Vinyl Retro Style Chair by Coaster Sku: 900081 contemporary chairs
Do you know of any other crazy colors out there?
Becky Pickrel

14 Responses to “Beautifully Weird Colors”

  1. newpillowbook

    Fascinating! But I hope there isn’t any real arsenic in the arsenic paint. I’ve read that green dyes and paints in the 19th century often contained enough of it to be dangerous!

  2. Angeline M

    Great post. I was trying to choose which was my favorite color and was sure it was Falu Red….but then along cam Xanadu!

  3. tita buds

    I like that Falu Red so much I wish that panel behind the feldgrau dining room were in that shade of red instead. 🙂
    Do paint brands actually use these names in their labels?

    • woven decor

      I am not sure. If I had my Sherwin William’s color deck here I was going to do some comparisons and see which of their colors was the closest. I may still have to do so.

    • woven decor

      Thanks. It was kind of crazy when I started looking at color names and what is out there in colorland. I am learning a lot.


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