San Francisco’s travel guide for color obsessives


What I remember from a city is its color. Paris lives in my mind as a light gray and soft pink city, while Portland, Oregon is made up of an array of greens and cloudy whites. While all sorts of qualities make up the character of a city, lasting inspiration often lies in the unique color stories we see. So why not create a travel guide based on the experience of these beautiful palettes? With the help of the Sherwin-Williams® ColorSnap® Visualizer app, we bring you a series of travel guides for cities with their dreamy color palettes.

First up: the Brit + Co headquarters in San Francisco. This travel guide was created with two ideas in mind: Which places should you visit to see brilliant color stories that will *also* give you a good idea of ​​what the city by the bay is like? Luckily, SF is full of gorgeous vistas, vibrant cityscapes, and crazy beautiful architecture, so there’s no shortage of places to find inspiration.

Thanks to the ColorSnap Visualizer app, we have a tool to bring those amazing color palettes from our cameras to our home. The ColorSnap Visualizer app samples colors from your photos and creates a customizable palette using Sherwin-Williams paint colors. With the help of the ColorSnap Visualizer app, we’ve created the following color palettes from our travels. We even applied one to renovating an office space, which you can find out at the end of this article.

First stop: Twin Peaks. We will start at the south end of town. Twin Peaks offers breathtaking views of San Francisco, San Francisco Bay, and even the East Bay from across the water. The constant fog keeps the infamous hills of Northern California vibrant and shiny green, and we’re not mad about it. Twin Peaks is one of the best places to see these colorful hills up close. The greens and yellows juxtapose nicely with the hazy blues and whites of the cityscape beyond, don’t you think?

Witness the famous Painted Ladies. Talk about colorful! San Francisco is known for its charming Victorian homes that can be found throughout the city, but especially along Alamo Square in NoPa. We locals are quite proud of the quaint silhouettes, pastel colors and ornate faces of these historic homes. And here’s a fun fact: these homes were once painted battleship gray due to excess paint from WWI and WWII, but were updated in the ’60s to their colorful state. Pass by Alamo Square to experience this magical IRL architecture, then descend to NoPa for shopping and even more food.

Board a cable car in the financial district. The cable cars that run through downtown (until 1am!) are an iconic San Francisco sight that we try *so* hard not to take for granted. What other city uses full-size toy cars as an efficient means of public transport? Plus, it’s a total photoshoot: the golden carts blend perfectly with the sea-green highlights of the skyscrapers they pass between.

Head to bustling Chinatown. With its bright colors, bustling streets, and rows of festive lanterns year-round, Chinatown is a must-see for colorful inspiration. There are tons of hues to draw inspiration from here, but we were particularly taken with the reds, pinks, and cream tones found throughout the store’s architecture and decor. We highly suggest grabbing a steamed pork bun and a freshly baked fortune cookie while you’re in the hood.

Walk to North Beach. The first stop in this famous district? Check out the Sentinel Building, San Francisco’s small version of New York’s Flatiron. Located at the tip of Chinatown and North Beach and just one block from the famous Transamerica Pyramid, this impressive emerald building is said to house the offices of famous filmmakers! But you haven’t heard it from us 😉 Personally, we love it for its unique architecture and the way it juxtaposes the white and blue flocked skyscrapers behind it.

Check out the view from Telegraph Hill. You’ve probably already realized that there’s no shortage of steep hills in this small town, which is probably why real estate is in such demand. There are spectacular views everywhere you go – of the city, the bay, the Bay Islands, the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, even the mountains of neighboring counties. This is especially true on Telegraph Hill, just east of North Beach. Take a walk through this area to see wonderfully colored houses, lush garden stairs and, you guessed it, incredible views.

Climb up to Coit Tower. Atop Telegraph Hill stands Coit Tower, which offers 360-degree views of downtown SF, the bay, North Beach, Russian Hill, and beyond. When it comes to color stories, this stop will offer dozens – it just depends on which direction you’re facing! The view above depicts the tree-lined streets of Telegraph Hill, the funky, bright, whitewashed houses of North Beach, and the skyscrapers that fill the Financial District. We love the ombre effect from green, to white, to blue, with pops of sunny yellow.

Picnic at Crissy Field. On San Francisco’s north shore is Crissy Field, a stretch of green fields and beaches lining the bay. Translation: This is the ultimate picnic spot. As you name sandos, be sure to visit the beautiful historic buildings that dot the former US Army airfield. We’re about to freak out for a second, but we have a *crazy* crush on the coral/ivory combo of these buildings. They are so Instagram capable! Whoever army general decided on this color scheme had great taste 🙂

Ogle at the Golden Gate Bridge: Duh! This giant needs no introduction. Be sure to witness our proudest asset during your stay. This baby is gorgeous in EVERY direction, but we love the view just north of the Battery Spencer Bridge. The best part of the bridge is its chameleon-like tendency: the colors of the bridge, the water below, and the city beyond change with the time of day. If you visit on a foggy morning, you’re sure to see a beautiful view like the one above – with the bridge providing a splash of red against an otherwise foggy scene. If you visit at dusk on a clear evening, the traffic lights on the bridge light up like electrical wires under a setting sky. That’s wonderful.

See the sunset at Rodeo Beach. It wouldn’t be a complete trip without a visit to one of the Bay Area’s cool and beautiful beaches. We love the lesser-known Rodeo Beach, a Pacific Ocean beach just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why? You are sure to beat the crowds and the ride is just as beautiful as the destination. Stop in the evening to enjoy a pastel sunset that the northern California coast is known for, with peaches, creams, and gray-blue hues. Just be sure to bring a jacket!


Want to see *just* how easy it is to use the ColorSnap Visualizer app to redecorate? We will show you! We renovated an office space with the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge as inspiration.

First, we extracted the colors from the photo. These bubbles you see can be moved around, allowing you to create your own custom color scheme from any image.

Then we painted! We painted the office walls in three tones – Grape Mist SW 6548, Lite Lavender SW 6554 and Pure White SW 7005 – to mimic the silhouettes of the hills and cityscape in the background of the photo. Then we painted our Raucous Orange SW 6883 desk and Fireweed SW 6328 chair as they are the focal point of the room, just like the bridge is the focal point of the photo 🙂 We additionally decorated with classic vibes of San Francisco: A nod to mid-century decor, layered textures and lots and lots of plants.

To see? It’s *so* easy to have a holiday that directly inspires your home decor 🙂

There you have it: a San Francisco travel guide with color as a compass and a demonstration of *just* how simple it is to apply these Bay Area color palettes to your home decor. Stay tuned for more travel guides of our favorite destinations!

Want to use this travel guide on your next trip to San Francisco? We want to see! Share photos on Instagram and tag #britstagram so we can take a look!

Color palettes: Maddie Bachelder + Karen Pham

Photography: Brittany Griffin + Adam Naples

This position has been authorized by Sherwin-Williams®.

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