Home Cultured Eclectic Ombre Obsessed

Colorblocking is all the rage these days, and we think those big, bold sections of color are awesome . . . and not in a shoulder-padded ’80s kind of way. What to do if you love the stripy effect but want something a little more subtle? The answer, dear design nuts, is ombre.

The French word ombre translates to “shaded.” As a dyeing technique in home design and fashion, where the term describes a color gradient, it’s been around at least since the 1800s. The most common way of creating an ombre fabric is by dipping it into a vat of dye and slowly pulling it out; the part that sits in the dye the longest takes on the most color saturation. Although ombres started out as monochromatic graduations, in recent years, it’s become more common for the gradient to change from one color to another. All types have a soft, ethereal watercolor effect.

Lucky for us ombre fans, the technique has been on trend for several seasons now, and its popularity shows no signs of abating. You can find it on everything from evening gowns to scarves, lampshades, curtains, bedding, throws, pillows, and dinnerware. We even love the faux-ombre effect we’re seeing in flower arrangements and—thank the pastry gods—on confections like this adorable pink cake by Eddie Ross.

To test your skills at ombre dyeing on garments or other fabrics, check out this helpful tutorial from Rit dye. Or try a spunky painted version with this original DIY chair project from DesignSponge.

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