How to be bolder with blue
- Credit: PA
Dubbed the new neutral, blue is making waves in our homes once again. Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to take the plunge.
Get ready to banish the bland and boring.
White and grey (yes, really) have a rival on the decor block, as blue is emerging as the new neutral for 2019.
Used as a rich backdrop, blue allows other colours to sing, and is a brilliant choice if you’re looking for a bit of a spring shake-up indoors, or simply want to lift the mood with ‘pops’ of colour.
And like green, blue taps into our love of nature-inspired decor - we are, after all, called the ‘Blue Planet’. Plunge into deep shades reminiscent of stormy oceans, brighten the outlook with sunny-sky hues, or flirt with subtle, moody tones.
If you need more encouragement to dabble with blues, science categorises blue as a ‘cool’ colour, which studies have found can create a calming and tranquil atmosphere, and even help lower blood pressure and heart rate.
So there you have it - conjure a cool decor update and a serene space all at once.
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Ready to bring on the blues? Here, three experts reveal their take on styling the shade...
“We live on a blue planet and are immersed in 1/8this colour 3/8 every day, from the blue of the sky to the endless blue oceans, so it’s no wonder that blue is the world’s favourite colour,” declares Dulux creative director, Marianne Shillingford.
“Historically, blue was an elusive and difficult colour to create in pigment and dyes with any vibrancy, and so early forms of it were originally highly expensive and highly prized.
“But it’s probably the familiarity and reliability of blue that accounts for its popularity. After all, 35% of the world’s population wear some form of blue denim every day, and it’s a colour that seems to work for everyone. It connects us somehow fundamentally with the planet we live on. “
For painting, Shillingford recommends choosing gutsy, velvety blues - like Indigo or Sapphire. “Both love to be seen in a warm candle glow, so consider vintage-style bulbs in the light fittings, and add orange ember and golden shades to the accessories.”
DECOR TIP: Blue, Shillingford believes, can be used very successfully as a wraparound colour. But if a full immersion is too OTT, you can enjoy the calming essence of the colour by teaming a mid-blue, like Dulux shades Stonewashed Blue or Cornflower Blue, with warm, stone neutrals, like Egyptian Cotton and Nutmeg White.
DECOR TIP: Blue can look cold in dark, north-facing rooms, but Shillingford notes: “If you use these rooms predominantly in the evening and add layered lighting in table and floor lamps, the effect is utterly seductive and gorgeous.”
Dive right in
“The energising power of translucent water was the starting point for our ‘Immersed’ palette,” explains Neville Knott, Crown Paints colour consultant.
“The aqua spectrum drifts from a midnight blue to a light fog, carrying with it a depth of tranquillity that helps us to imagine home as a get-away.
“Shimmering and reflective, it blurs the structures of any space, bringing light and tranquillity. A dark navy blue adds depth and anchors the palette, and I love the use of aqua that gives a slightly retro, Fifties mood.”
DECOR TIP: If decorating a whole room blue feels like a step too far, simply feature a few deep blue accessories. In navy or indigo, they’re guaranteed to bring drama and life to a space - especially one with a predominantly white/neutral setting.
“Whether it’s light, airy tones, or dark, bold hues, blue’s enduring popularity lies in its versatility to adapt to any part of the home,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor at Furniture Choice. “Opting for dark blue and white offers a beautiful alternative to a monochromatic space. Compared to black, dark blue is a more subtle choice, and this dark yet elegant shade brings out the distinctive lines and unique details of white furniture for maximum effect.
“It’s all about styling smart and showing off statement furniture - unique details like tufted backs, rolled arms and rounded edges get to shine without overpowering each other. Experiment with edgy side tables, or slip in smaller accents in the form of vases and candles for a polished, chic touch.”
DECOR TIP: If used in small doses, blue works well as an accent shade, Snowden notes, because it provides a pop of something extra to neutral spaces. “This is the perfect chance to highlight distinctive furniture such as a chic armchair or sofa, while showcasing different textures,” she suggests.
DECOR TIP: For a more contemporary take, light blue and white make an ideal pairing, especially for a modern farmhouse look, as they play off one another for an airy, sophisticated effect,” says Snowden.