50 Shades of Urban Decay: Colour Palettes Inspired by Abandoned Places

Have you ever stumbled upon a derelict building and though about how much of an eye sore it is? What about that dilapidated old park bench that could do with being replaced?

If you’re into urban exploring, finding beauty in something that you’d ordinarily find grotesque can be a magical thing, and looking deeper into what these spaces offer can open up a whole new world, especially from a design perspective.

When decorating, it’s common to work out a colour scheme before you start. With that in mind, we’ve decided to take those unloved buildings and spaces, and draw inspiration to create a stunning set of 10 unique colour palettes. In addition to this, each colour palette comes with its own set of Hex codes, perfect for those designers looking to get creative and delve into the world of rust, overgrown structures and exposed brickwork on a more granular level.

So, if you’re looking for some design inspiration, check out our colour palettes inspired by abandoned places below. You never know, urbexing might just become your new favourite pastime too!


Something as simple as an old, wooden bench can tell a thousand stories. Who sat there? What thoughts were those that sat there thinking when they gazed out in contemplation? The weathering of the wood and the life that’s sprung from it over the years, provides an array of natural hues which are perfect for those looking for an earthy, muted colour scheme.


Popping down the local for a swift pint on a Sunday, might seem like a distant memory for many. The surprisingly comforting scent of tobacco-aged decor and the dust from an open fire providing a somewhat smoky haze, are long gone as times have changed. But what’s been left behind provides a plethora of classic tones that are familiar and cosy.


When metal starts to oxidise, the changes in structure and colour can be fascinating. The stark, cold surface transforms into what looks like a birds-eye view of a barren, sun-dried landscape. The corrosion causes craters and pits to form; adding a new dimension to the shades of lush orange, red and yellows, providing you with a warming, fiery colour palette.


There’s something quite magical about man-made structures being overwhelmed by nature. New life sprouting from the forgotten, blanketing the foreign object and rightfully reclaiming that space as its own. In an almost firework fashion, an explosion of lush greens and subtle browns create the perfect colour palette for anyone wanting to reconnect with the earth.


You’d be hard pushed to walk though a city and not find a burst of graffiti adorning the walls of an underpass, building or bridge. While many might see it as a random act of vandalism, the shock of bold colours and dystopian scrawl wrangle a sense of passion and youth; creating a colour palette that’s ideal for anyone looking to inject some energy into their design.


A once much-loved home now left to ruin. Dusty memories fading away to nothing more than a wilted mess. A sad yet beautiful image of a quickly forgotten past, sun bleached and weary with mellow tones of blue and yellow, creating a feeling of calm after the storm.


A place once full of colour and fun, the cavernous, empty space of an old swimming pool is monotone and quiet. The colours drained like the pool itself. Hollow blues and shades of grey are understated and neutral; fitting background colours for anyone that would like to accessorise their space in a more ostentatious way.


Busy and industrious, the tea breaks and idle chit chat with much loved colleagues now a distant memory. A shell of the machine it formally was, the exposed pipes and bare walls leave a milky, dream-like colour palette. Luxurious and inviting, the colour palette inspired by an old warehouse is far removed from the toilsome environment it once was.


Almost skeletal, the deeper inner layers of a building exposed for all to see. The bright orange clay of bare brickwork is harsh against the years of dull, grey rendering. The mix of colours is striking and allows you to add depth to your design.


A grand old house, emptied and deserted with nothing but a piano for entertainment. A reminder of the good times passed and a secret treasure left for someone new to discover. Light and airy, the mix of cool blue hues and nostalgic caramel create a calm yet tentative colour palette.

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