Interiors: Brighten up your home with the colour blue
- Credit: Archant
At this time of year, even a glimpse of bright, blue sky, with its promise of spring, lifts the spirits.
But our unpredictable climate often teases, keeping us waiting for those elusive sunny horizons.
Take heart though; you can guarantee a bright outlook at home by waving a magic wand - well, a paint brush, at least - and splashing on the blues indoors. Or, if DIY would dampen your mood, simply splurge on beautiful blue homewares, currently playing a leading role in the new spring/summer ranges.
“The appeal of blue isn’t surprising, because with its strong links with nature, it’s a universal colour, surely loved in one of its forms by everyone,” says Gail Abbott, whose new book, Blue & White Style, is a beautifully illustrated blueprint for using the shades featured, which range from Mediterranean to country blue.
“For instance, if pure blue veers towards the greens that lie next to it on the spectrum, it becomes aquamarine, cerulean and turquoise - cool, clear watery hues which have associations with lakes, oceans, and rivers.
“When tinged with purple, blue assumes the warmth seen in royal blue, indigo and navy - colours that make us feel confident and safe. There’s no limit to the choices, and accents of blue work well in most interiors.”
So ensure a settled forecast, and follow the experts’ advice on making rooms ‘sing’ with the blues...
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Dark, rich shades, from navy to midnight blue, look dramatic, and add character and individuality to otherwise bland rooms.
“Blues are proving popular because they’re in harmony with the current industrial trend and blend with urban and architectural materials, while the darker shades on the palette enhance natural timber schemes,” says Tim Tatlock, head of buying at Topps Tiles.
“Blues meet a real range of interior needs, whether creating a statement, conjuring a calming environment, a soothing sanctuary or simply refreshing a space - the latter’s a popular choice at this time of year. Blue paintwork or tiles can give a drab, winter-weary room a lift.”
Decor tip: Play around with the dimensions of a room by using colour to trick the eye, suggests Abbott.
“Make a small room look bigger with walls painted in a pale, sky blue, or use cobalt on the end walls of a long thin room to make proportions appear more balanced. Blue on the ceiling of a high room will make it appear lower.”
Teal, reminiscent of shimmering green-blue exotic seas, is fashionably on-trend, and is a key colour for new season homeware collections.
“Teal’s a combination of the natural harmony of green and the tranquillity of blue, resulting in a balanced, versatile shade, which works perfectly in any room,” advises Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.
“Combing teals with greens, such as mint, duck egg or emerald, will give a fresh, natural effect. Or for a neutral combination, choose a colour with a subtle, natural tone so you don’t overwhelm the space. Then just add the perfect finishing touch, a crisp white for woodwork, to allow this magical colour to truly stand out.
“For more punch, layer teal with indigo, denim or navy, which suits a dynamic, welcoming interpretation.”
Decor tip: Teal tones invite summer vitality and a sense of ocean freshness into a home, and work particularly well with corals and blushing pinks.
Pale blue, aqua, ultramarine or washed-out denim blue are those easy-on-the-eye hues that suit a relaxed setting.
“Using pale grey-blues in conjunction with white creates an airy, informal look which echoes wide open spaces and will always make a room look more spacious,” says Abbott.
“Pale blues bring to mind the expansiveness of a northern summer sky, while white recalls billowing cumulus clouds. Used together, the effect will push away walls and ceilings to create a feeling of space.”
Decor tip: Use muted blues for north-facing rooms, whose light will be cold and unforgiving, while warmer shades, like cobalt, can enhance dining areas.