Decorate with blue, without getting the blues

Zoe Hewett Interiors Blue Room

Although blue is the people’s choice when it comes to favourite colours, it is a lesser spotted tone around the home. With its watery associations, blue tends to be confined to bathrooms and then usually only in polite, pale portions. Blue isn’t a common candidate for sitting rooms or bedrooms, as we tend to equate it with cool, cold or even sadness. 

Yet, navy and denim blues have already been trending for a while among the early adopters of the interiors world, so here are my pointers for trying out blue without getting the blues.

Go as dark as you dare! Smaller spaces that don’t receive much natural light are perfect for bolder colour choices. As counter-intuitive as that may sound, the convention of usingwhite or light shades to make a room seem larger is a popular misnomer. Pale hues caneasily look insipid and lifeless where deeper tones add drama and interest instead. So turn up the saturation and increase the energy in the space.

Choose a warm blue - they do exist! If you are worried about it all seeming cool, particularly at this chilly time of year, a slight hint of purple will read as warmer than a green-blue. 

Mix and match different shades. Powder blue can look juvenile, whereas navy is sophisticated, but with so many beautiful blues to choose from there is no reason why you can’t shake things up by using more than one to create something new.

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Ignore gender stereotypes about colour. In the 1920s blue was considered the most appropriate colour for baby girls to wear, not blue as is the convention today. It is true though that darker walls tend to be thought of as masculine, so to make it more gender neutral, balance things out with pretty or vintage touches. Dainty china and the vintage postcards of birds decoupaged onto the chair are unexpected, feminine and happy companions to the dark wall behind.

Bring pattern in to the scheme somewhere, be it on a rug, cushion, throw or art print to break up large expanses of blue, add interest and homeliness. Keeping to the same blue palette will give it a cohesive look and allow you to use more than one patterned surface without it becoming too chaotic. Accessorise with neutrally coloured elements (such as vases, lamps, cushions etc) to temper all the colour. Use creams and stones for warmth, or whites for crispness.

Flowers and plants always add life to any room, and many designers will say no space is complete without at least a little foliage. Yellow is blue’s complimentary colour, so pops of it will really sing in a flower arrangement, depending on the season and what is available.  Orange and pink would also be jolly, but avoid red as it tends to ‘fight’ with blue. 

Above all, if you’re going to go blue, be bold.

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Images (c) Zoe Hewett Interiors