Decorating with color: primary color blue

It was an evidence to me that I would start my column on decorating with color with the primary color blue. Isn’t it the color we see the most in large quantities when we look at the sky (well not lately in Europe but you get my point). In Europe and the USA blue is the favorite color of almost half the population who associate it with sympathy, harmony, faithfulness, friendship and confidence. In design the color blue is seen is often described as being  a cold color. I dislike very much those basic color descriptions which reduce a color to one quality or default which gets stuck in people’s mind. How often have I seen clients telling me that they like blue but that they won’t use it because it’s cold. A single color means nothing by itself. It needs to be seen in context next to other colors or furniture to reveal it’s identity.

Blue is not a cold color for me. Depending on it’s intensity and whether a tint, tone or shade is used it can be relaxing, soothing, invigorating, dramatic or even mysterious. One of my core beliefs is that color truly brings personality and presence to any room. Sure, they might back drawbacks in terms of luminosity to using a very dark color like navy for example, but when you understand how on the other hand you might end up with a very cozy and inviting room you are not afraid anymore of trying things out.

In this column I will try to show you inspirational pictures for every color/color combination I discuss. I try very hard to find pictures that reflect accurately either pure color or shades, tints and tones of them, knowing that almost no colors are composed of only true color and white and/or black. The pictures I sourced show mainly monochromatic schemes as I will cover more complex schemes later on.

I love the soft tones that have been used in the pictures above and below. Those pale blues incorporate lots of white making them quite light but also a bit of black. Adding just a bit off black into any tint (pure color + white) gives it always a sense of sophistication. Without this added black the color would have looked much more childish and baby blue like. The color is used in combination with lots of white and cream as well as natural materials like stone flooring, wood or sisal. It brings a sense of peacefulness and invites to relaxation. Blue is very often used in bedrooms for this very reason.

The pictures below tell a very different story. The blue used here is rather bold and close to pure color. A few of you would certainly say that those rooms are quit dark. But do you really find them to be cold and uninviting? I certainly don’t. I’d love to read a book, chat with friends or sip a tee in any of them. Color itself is not responsible for how one feels. If I had shown a room painted in the same color sparsely furnished, with concrete floors and a modern chrome structure sofa, you might have gotten a feeling of coldness out of it. Here the rounded shape of the armchair and lamp, the wooden floors and joyous floral fabric, or the tufted sofa with mixed patterns bring a sense of coziness and visual interest. Dark colors can be very intimidating but using them can bring a truly spectacular effect. In this dining room below, the dark blue really allows to focus on the beautiful wooden table. When choosing a color it is very important to think of the purpose of the room and the time of the day it will be used. Dining rooms are a typical example. They are often used in the evening when natural light is not available anymore. Dark walls allow to have all the attention turned to the table and the company you are enjoying. Below on the left the navy wall was painted in successful attempt to glamorize what looks to have been a rather bland kitchen. The chosen accessories help create a feeling of opulence. Below right is a beautiful reading nook. It’s not because you have a dark painted room that you won’t see anything anymore. Remember this: Lighting that answers your purpose is the key! No need to have the whole room blasting with light when all you need is a good reading light above your shoulder.I am wrapping up this post. I think I did get a little carried away. Let me know if you found it helpful and what type of additional information I could add for you. Have a lovely weekend!

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