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Freebie: 10 Winter Color Palettes Inspired by Nature

Freebie: 10 Winter Color Palettes Inspired by Nature

These 10 FREE winter color palettes take their inspiration from the diverse hues of winter landscapes, and the flora and fauna that inhabit them.

Your perception of winter might be that it’s a season of bleakness and gray weather but, in nature, this couldn’t be less true. Look hard enough and you’ll find that winter is full of vivid color, whether it’s exceptionally rich sunsets or dramatic tones of evergreen forests dusted in snow.

You can use these winter palettes to bring nature-inspired hues into your design projects—social media posts, event flyers, holiday hangs, etc.

Many of these schemes also offer unique color ideas for interior design projects, allowing you to create cocooning and comforting decor schemes.

Winter color palettes including a small pink house nestled in the snow, geese flying, and closeup of pink textured fur

License these images via Caroline Ericson, Wang Zhibo, and YRABOTA.

The Winter Season in Full Color

Nature is the ultimate color inspiration, and here we take the cold weather as the starting point for 10 evocative winter color schemes—dusty pastels, tonal jewel hues, and so much more.

A celebration of the natural environment in the cold weather season, you’ll discover unexpected winter color combinations that showcase the richness and diversity of winter.

Found a winter palette you love? Simply right-click and save the image, or pin to a mood board to use in a project later.

Each winter color palette includes the HEX code values that allow you to use the swatches in digital designs. For print designs, simply convert to CMYK swatches.

1. Forest Glow

Shades of blush pink combine with mint green and teal green to create this ethereal color scheme. Inspired by quiet moments in snow-dusted forests, this is a calming color palette that will bring freshness and tranquility to your design projects.

License these images via Sanga Park, Delbars, and Fanfo.
Aerial view of pink winter forest next to color palette examples
License this image via Olesia Babushkina

2. Weekend at the Cabin

Who wouldn’t relish the thought of a weekend hunkering down in a cozy cabin?

This biscuit- and hazelnut-hued winter palette is all about comforting colors that bring to mind leisurely countryside activities, such as crisp morning walks and the reward of home-baked bread.

Winter color palettes including a cabin in a snowy forest, reindeers in a snow-covered field near a forest, and a woman preparing dough for baking
License these images via Peter Zenkl Photography, SamuelKlein, and Rasa Arlauskiene.
Top-down view of a dog standing in the snow looking up at his human next to color palette examples
License this image via eva_blanco.

3. Aurora

There’s probably nothing more spectacular in nature than to witness the otherworldly glow of the Northern Lights.

This color palette takes nature’s greatest light show as its inspiration, combining inky peacoat blue, pale blue gray. and celadon green with mesmerizing neon sea green.

Winter color palette including the Northern Lights over a waterfall in Iceland, a man standing on a snowy rock in winter overlooking the Northern Lights, and a closeup of frosty green leaves
License these images via MAGNIFIER, Jamo Images, and Tina Rencelj.
Northern Lights over snowy mountains with traveler walking in the distance next to color palette examples
License this image via Mumemories.

4. Brownstone

Nature can be found in even the most urban of environments.

This earthy, brown-based color palette is inspired by snowy walks in the park, with the promise of hot cocoa to follow. A preppy palette perfect for crafting brand identities with authority.

Or, why not try with interior design projects to create a cozy, cocooning effect?

Winter color palette including friends walking through the snow in New York City, a closeup of a steaming cup of coffee, and a closeup portrait of a Red Deer stag in winter setting
License these images via Nym3ria, Anna_Kim, and Mark Caunt.
Snow on the trees and the stoops of historic Brownstone apartments in Crown Heights, Brooklyn next to color palette examples
License this image via Colin D. Young.

5. Pastel Hamlet

The light in winter is starker and clearer, making colors feel cooler and paler than in summer. While pastel colors have a common association with springtime, they’re also perfectly in tune with the winter season.

This pale and interesting palette combines sugar-dusted hues of egg yolk yellow, powder pink, sky blue, and pastel green to recreate the feel of a snow-clad country village.

A light-hearted, fresh palette that would be a great fit for social media designs in the colder months.

Winter color palettes including a small pink house nestled in the snow, geese flying, and closeup of pink textured fur

License these images via Caroline Ericson, Wang Zhibo, and YRABOTA.

Aerial view of ancient Russian town with colorful houses next to color palette examples
License this image via Nick N A.

6. Winter Harvest

At the start of winter, nature is often at its most bountiful, with late-year harvests of fruit and root vegetables providing us with plenty of delectable color inspiration.

Here, deep blue is the anchoring color for purple wine and beetroot red, while absinthe yellow provides an uplifting vitamin boost.

Winter color palettes including organic figs in vintage metal box, a winter sunset over a snow-covered vineyard, and sliced beetroot arranged in rows on dark background
License these images via tag2016, Alessandro Cristiano, and yingko.
Single yellow pear on textured violet background next to color palette examples
License this image via Sakss.

7. Pine Cone

Venture out into the great outdoors after the snow has fallen and you’ll be rewarded with all sorts of country critters, as well as epic snow-frosted landscapes.

This rustic, forest-inspired palette is a nice choice for outdoorsy branding or down-to-earth designs, with nature-inspired hues of hunter green, chambray blue, and chestnut red.

Winter color palette including cabins in a snow-covered forest on a frosty lake, a closeup of pine cones, and a portrait of a Red Fox dusted with snow
License these images via VIKTOR KHYMYCH, Tanee, and Jeffrey Haak.
Squirrel standing in the snow with color palette examples on the right
License this image via VOJTa Herout.

8. Ice Breaker

A color palette inspired by the deepest mid-winter, this arctic-inspired scheme is a blend of icy blue tones, including deep water blue, periwinkle, pale baby blue, and pure snow white.

A cool alternative palette for festive or holiday designs, this is a stylish tribute to the enigmatic blues of deep winter.

Winter color palettes including a closeup of a frosty oak leaf, a polar bear on a winer landscape, and an icebreaking ship in the Gulf of Finland
License these images via Pavel_Klimenko, Ondrej Prosicky, and Nelfgard.
Icy blue mountain lake surrounded by pine trees next to color palette examples
License this image via Standret.

9. Caledonian Sleeper

Catch the sleeper train from London to Inverness, and wake up to a view of the Highlands, one of the most romantic and dramatic natural regions on earth.

Whether it’s the golden sandstone of Edinburgh’s Old Town or the rusts and reds of the wild Cairngorm mountains, Scotland is the perfect place to source inspiring winter color.

This Scottish-inspired color palette combines Celtic winter colors, including tartan red, classic camel, deep teal green, and pale foggy dew.

Winter color palette including a Scottish highlander in a natural winter landscape, a castle in Scotland, and a woman wearing a tartan scarf standing in a reeds field
License these images via defotoberg, Stephen McCluskey, and Anastasiia Vyshnevska.
Small red lighthouse next to color palette examples
License this image via Wirestock Creators.

10. Dark Flora

Rich, jewel colors feel just right for winter.

As the nights draw in, dramatic sunsets transform winter skies into watercolors of amethyst and gold, while winter produce ripen towards deep shades of cabbage purple and butternut orange.

Swap your bright summertime prints for dark and moody florals with this sumptuous, opulent palette.

Winter color palettes including a flock of silhouetted migratory snow geese flying against a cloudy winter sky lit in sunset orange, pink, purple, and yellow tones, a closeup of seasonal Autumn vegetables, and a closeup of a frozen purple and orange orchid
License these images via knelson20, zarzamora, and unive.
Frozen dahlia flowers next to color palette examples
License this image via AngelinaLubin.

Get Started with Winter’s Best Stock Photography

Looking for photos and vectors to get your creative process over the river and through the woods? We’ve got the very best winter-themed stock photography to get those wheels (or snow tires) spinning.

License these images via Fanfo, Ondrej Prosicky, Dmitriev Mikhail, Shaiith, Adam Gryko, Sandra Cunningham, Melinda Nagy, Dmitry Demkin, and encierro.

Feeling Inspired by These Winter Colors?

Looking for vibrant, seasonal imagery inspired by these winter palettes or the summer, spring, or fall scene of your dreams? We’ve got you covered. It’s never been easier to access everything you need in a single subscription.

With Shutterstock Flex, you’ll have all-in-one access to our massive library, plus the FLEXibility you need to select the perfect mix of assets every time.

License this cover image via Mumemories.

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