Wednesday 23 October 2019

Interiors: Feeling blue

From a natty navy to a tempting turquoise, cool blue is the new hot decorating hue, writes Kirstie McDermott

Blue works brilliantly here with olive paint work, the natural tones on the stone floor and on the Arundel dining table, €2,040; neptune.com
Blue works brilliantly here with olive paint work, the natural tones on the stone floor and on the Arundel dining table, €2,040; neptune.com
Armchair, €375. Brass gives a contrast in this Frame Armchair; michaelmurphy.ie
Jar, €22. Introduce the shade in an accessory like this &Klevering Dotted Storage Jar; Amara.com
Sofa, €999. A perfect bedroom couch: the Earle Two-seater sofa in powder blue suedette; dfs.ie
Cushion, €20. Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Velvet Cushion at dunnesstores.com plays well with others
Rug, €400 Luxe and subtle, the Polar Vortex Rug is a perfect intro to blue; harveynorman.ie

Kirstie McDermott

Glaciers, Arctic lakes and the Night King's cold, electric eyes in Game of Thrones. Blue is a colour we particularly associate with plummeting temperatures and icy wastes, and as a result we're wary of using it in our homes.

If we do employ it, we banish it to the bathroom and accessorise it with a few nautical fripperies - and then forget about it.

We might be doing ourselves an injustice, though. "Basic colour theory always refers to blue being one of the cool colours, but that doesn't mean to say it will make your room feel cold," says Amy Conn, from Neptune's design team.

It's also a mistake to think that all blues are cold. "Colour temperature depends on the base and what tints and shades are added - for example, a blue with a yellow or red base will feel warmer than one with a purple or green base," she explains.

But why are we even talking about blue in the first place? Well, it's back, see. And like a lot of things, we can thank the catwalks for that. "The worlds of fashion and interiors have a close bond, but not a co-dependent one," Amy cautions, adding, "in the case of blue though, it's a story that found its feet in fashion. Shades of soft blue started to emerge last summer but have continued into spring/summer 19's collections with baby blue coming through strong".

If you're a fan, here's some more news: we'll be seeing it for a while yet; at this year's furniture fairs such as Salone del Mobile, it was everywhere too, which means a roll-out to the mass market is imminent. And if you're feeling blue about it (sorry), where do you start with the shade?

Navy kitchens are de rigueur at the moment - "but even mid and light blues will thrive on cabinetry", says Amy. In colour psychology terms, blue is calm and serene, so it works well in bedrooms.

"It's also linked to intelligence and contemplation, which is why you often see it in a home office," she reveals.

Design offers you a many ways to warm up a blue hue. "Even if you choose a cooler blue, you can warm it up through layers of texture and lighting. Warm white bulbs in lighting that spreads from ceiling pendant to wall lights and table lamps and exposed timber floorboards, cosy wool rugs, warming oak furniture and an abundance of textiles from fully-lined curtains to upholstery will promise your room's temperature feels balanced, whatever shade of blue you pick," Amy reassures.

Contrast too, is a good way to bring out a blue. "Generally speaking, blue loves contrast," agrees Amy. The sharp juxtapositioning of cobalt paintwork with white trim and architraves is a classic. "Think neutrals like white tones and oatmeal, or richer colours such as mustard," she advises. Opposite shades on the colour wheel such as raspberry reds and corals can look terrific with shades of blue too, depending on your scheme.

"Remember that you can think of materials as a colour contrast too," Amy points out. "For example, with Neptune Flax Blue paint, oak is one of its best partners because it combines both a tonal and textural foil. So, bring that in through flooring and furniture - and even in aspects like lamp bases."

Kirstie McDermott is editorial director of 'House and Home' magazine

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