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The Beauty of Balsam: Integrating Natural Colors Into Your Design

By Philippa Radon

Color Specialist and Life Coach

As the revitalising energy of spring arrives, I'm inspired to dust off winter and introduce some fresh colour into my home -- and my wardrobe. Colour remains the single easiest way to create a significant impact or a subtle change. And the choices are endless. 


There is something innately uplifting and deeply gratifying about witnessing new growth. Bulbs emerge, and buds form as nature begins to unfurl and welcome the warmth and illumination of blue skies and sunshine. The promise of longer days presents fresh opportunities to venture out with a sense of wanderlust and adventure, making it easier to embrace the natural world's beauty. 



Integrating the outside world into our homes can provide various benefits, from increasing oxygen levels and reducing stress to aiding in healing and bringing an air of optimism and energizing hope into our psyches. The nurturing relationship that results from keeping living plants thriving and healthy celebrates the experience of nature as an integrated design element. 

"The human brain connects us to our best colour work intuitively. The familiar and overall palette of nature is an instant relaxer that connects to our sensory awareness, that actually resonates and affects us within 20 seconds."​ 


Perhaps you can challenge yourself to what I refer to as a weekend "Speed Dial Design" makeover, which can easily be accomplished with a little pre-planning. Consider the benefits of using shades of green and living plants in your decor to add energy, character, colour, and texture.  

  • Dedicate a weekend to getting this done, start to finish. 
  • Determine the space, from walls to paint to a furniture piece or cabinetry, for some colour infusion. 
  • Embrace the colour refresh button. We love Balsam, a soft zen mid-green, and this statement colour when paired with floral/greenery adds instant impact and pattern through natural shapes. 
  • Venture out to gather an array of various accent greenery - whatever is seasonal for you. Select your vases and containers. You could stay to a single colour theme or mix a group of three or four styles, heights, and colours.  
  • Simple greenery displays can be dramatic or push your creative skills and stylist's hand to experiment. There are a plethora of great new books for indoor plants available, but Plant Tribe by Igor Josifovic & Judith de Graaff is a personal favourite. 
  • Change out your accessories. Start with foraging and shop your home inventory to repurpose and reuse the familiar in new ways. Books, art, fabrics, a unique woven lampshade, frame a wallpaper sample, or get out and about and invest in one or two items that support your new colour palette.  
  • Gather your final staging props as much as possible ​before ​you start painting, so once the painting stage is completely dry, you are ready to instantly pull it all together. 
  • Pair your favorite colors with delight!


Combination pairings that enrich each other select the palette first, then the placement. 

Add in your living greens to any of these plants and greenery on different scales through the space i.e. table tops, mantles, on a pedestal base, grouped floor displays, or hanging tiered arrangements. 

Balsam is a well-balanced, warm, medium tone. It's a “true” green that supports green, blue and yellow spectrum colours, but also maintains its own identity. -Philippa Radon, Interior Designer 

  • Balsam and blue's (think about nature's palette: land, water, sky)  
  • Luna (C2-712), Bahamas (C2-748), Bel Canto (C2-959) 
  • Balsam and neutral earth tones like Alloy (C2-971) or darker Tribeca (C2-904) 
  • Balsam and a lighter palette Potato Leek (C2-914)
  • Or forest darks like Leapfrog (C2-933) and Posh (C2-934) 

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