Blue is a highly diverse shade to use in your interiors, from navy and turquoise to cobalt and powder blue. It seems that our clients adore this beautiful colour, too...
While on a recent photoshoot of a customer’s brand-new timber Garden Room, a beautiful, patterned feature wall caught our eye. The design of poppies, foxgloves and cow’s parsley was elegant and straightforward, but it was the Ship Cove Blue colour that really caught our imagination. Looking back over previous projects, we were reminded that blue is a popular shade among our clients. So much so that we thought we would explore this diverse colour in more detail.
While the colour blue does appear in nature; in flowers and birds plumage, for example, it is still rare – but rarer yet are natural blue pigments, making blue one of the last colours to be discovered and used by humans to dye fabric and make into paint. As such, the colour blue has historically been associated with high status, reserved for only the most prestigious of figures.
Blue beginnings; a rare and precious pigment
The rarest and most expensive pigment of all One such pigment, made of limestone and copper sulphate, was used to paint the houses in India’s “Blue City” of Jodhpur. Named “Brahmin” blue after the Hindu highest caste, this colour had remarkably strong connotations with a person’s wealth and social standing. In the ancient Greek and Roman world, indigo dye was considered a luxury item and was again only available to the very wealthy.
Lapis lazuli is the shade that we most often hear about when observing art. A semi-precious stone mined exclusively from central Asia, the material was prized for its intense blue colour and traded across the ancient world. Lapis Lazuli was of such value it was set into the golden funeral mask of Tutankhamun. By the Renaissance, lapis lazuli had reached Europe and was being ground to form ultramarine, the most expensive pigmented paint available to artists at the time. Unlike other blue paints available, ultramarine didn’t fade or change over time. Because of its rarity and high price, ultramarine was reserved for only paintings of royalty or religious figures. It was typically used to paint the blue robes of the Virgin Mary. As a result, the vibrant colour became synonymous with holiness and humility.
Using blue in your own interiors
Today, the colour blue has less of an association with status and religion, but we still consider it to be a special colour. Blue has come to mean escapism, peace, and tranquillity. Being one of the most diverse shades on the colour wheel, a tone of blue can represent the sky on a sunny day, a clear sea, or a cold mountain lake. Darker navy blues can give interiors a contemporary edge. Pale, powdery blues can add a softness and brighter blues lend themselves to country cottages and rural residences. This diversity is perhaps why it is the most popular colour in the world.
From a design point of view, it seems that blue is enjoying something of a renaissance itself. Colour trend forecaster Pantone named “Classic Blue” (19-4052) the colour of 2020, citing the dependability of the hue as a calming force in an otherwise chaotic world.
Blue may be incredibly popular now, but that does not mean it’s a “boring” or “safe” choice. British designer’s Nicola Harding and Anna Jacobs both showcase blue in their work to dramatically different effect. Nicola adopts softer colours for a warm, classic feel, while Anna leans heavily on bold and vibrant hues in her designs.
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The cool shades of blue and green on a day like this. 💦 An abstract painting by the Brighton-based artist @johngoodison hangs over a green painted cabinet from an antique dealer in Somerset. Read the full story about this wonderful home in the latest @houseandgardenuk words by @mrdavidnicholls and photography @paulmassey #nicolahardingdesign #nicolaharding
Blue colour combinations that pack a punch
Westbury designer Katie Greenwood explains how versatile the colour blue is: “I think it can work all over the house, particularly in the living room and dining room as it creates a great space and makes it very cosy. It’s a colour not to be shy of, using it on every wall gives a different effect to, say, a blue feature wall. The colours it is paired with can also make a huge difference. I have just done my living room in it with fresh white skirtings, and this combination gives the room bit of a nautical feel.
Off whites, beiges and dark greys can set blue off very well. Brighter colours like mustard yellow, forest green and pink work as a great contrast to blue, so introducing fabric accessories and wallpapers that incorporate a few of these shades can look amazing. House of Hackney has some great papers available at the moment, with deep blues and contrasting patterns.”
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An explosion of palm leaves can only mean one thing: PALMERAL. A true modern classic, its inspiration came from ‘Loddiges’, a world-renowned hothouse and exotic plant nursery that flourished in Hackney during the Georgian era. Planning to bring the outside in? Then be sure to enjoy our exclusive saving for the month of June: 3 rolls of 3m wallpaper for £450 or 3 rolls of 2m wallpaper for £304. Just enter ONAROLL at checkout. #TheJoyOfWallpaper
The possibilities certainly are endless, with colour combinations as diverse as Navy and Tuscan Tan to Icy Blue and Coral, blue looks set to be our, as colour expert Sophie Robinson puts it, “Colour Crush” for a long time to come.
Find out more about how to choose the perfect wallpaper with our sister company Westbury Windows and Joinery.