The Color Blue and What it Can Do for You

The color blue is calming, light tints will open up a room and dark shades will ground a room.  Read on for even more benefits of blue.

Porcelain Blue BedroomI’ve been tracking color trends for over 20 years.  I have found several ways to get the job done, but the one I love the most is available to everyone.  It’s a matter of simply purchasing a variety of current magazines, high fashion and high style for homes and looking only at the color that is shown on the pages.

Advertisements are some of the best places to track where color is going.  In an ad, the choice of color used doesn’t cost any more for a bright red than it does for a sunshine yellow, but advertisers want to be at the forefront, and I can find all sorts of color direction in what they’ve designed.

High end fashion magazines are the next source and often the best directions again come from the advertisements.  It may be for cologne, purses, even jewelry.  Sometimes it is just the background color used for the ads, or I’ll notice that many companies are adding a tiny touch of orange or yellow with the more current range of colors indicating that something new is on the horizon.

Talbot's Baby Blue Coat -

Well, since many of you aren’t planning on doing your own color trend tracking, I’ll move onto what is currently happening with the blue family.

As you may remember, we were in a “green” era for quite some time, and blue has finally taken hold.  What I am finding interesting is that there are several shades out there.  There is everything from rich dutch tile blue as in the Macy’s comforter to a soft, light robin’s egg blue as in this Talbot’s coat. Perhaps we are just so happy to be surrounded by blue tones that we are willing to keep them all!

Of course, there is more to talk about with blue than just the fact that it is a current trend.  Let’s talk a minute about its psychological effects and any social connotations it might have.

Calming Blue in a Bedroom -

I’ve always found it interesting that “blue skies” make you think everything is going to be OK, and in fact can cure, “the blues”!  My feeling is that generally, blue has more positive associations than negative.  It is cool, soothing and orderly.  Blue and white rooms have a regal, neat and crisp quality to them that speaks of discipline and beauty.

Although it can have a regal quality to it, as in “blue bloods”, “blue chip” stocks and blue ribbons, blue is also the color of everyman or the “blue collar” working class.  Blue looks great on just about everyone and we certainly can’t discount the incredible popularity of “blue” jeans.

Cool Blue Office Space -

Blue’s calming effects make them perfect for rooms in the home where relaxation is important.  Therefore, meant for bedrooms, perhaps living rooms even studies; blue creates the perfect mood or ambiance.  However, blue in the kitchen may not be the best choice since blue is associated with food in a cheap sense when we talk about the “blue plate special”!  In many cases, food isn’t supposed to look as appetizing on blue plates.

Bright Blue Kitchen Accessories -

Although from personal experience, Matt had a set of blue plates and I thought barbeque chicken, potato salad and corn on the cob looked superb on his blue plates.  Now it might have something to do with not cooking it myself but I’d rather think it was the beautiful blue background!

For those of you contemplating updating your home with cool new blues, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Sky Blue Bathroom -

Light tints of blue will open up a room just like the huge expanse of the sky.

Dramatic Blue Dining Room -

Dark shades of blue like cobalt and royal blue anchor a room and add drama.

Blue on Blue Living Room -

Different blues mix well together.  Here the deep navy walls are a dramatic background to the mid range blue sofa and light blue checked draperies.

Blue with Yellow Accented Room -

Warm up a too cool blue room with yellow daffodils, a touch of red or a warm green.

An overly bright and sunny room can be cooled down with a blue palette.  Conversely, a north facing room with little sunlight might be too cool for comfort!

Blue Table Setting -

Blue has some natural mates in the very popular blue and white color scheme and  blue and yellow as you see above.

Blue, Red and Yellow Color Scheme -

Trickier blue color schemes to pull off include red, yellow and blue and an interesting blue and orange combination.

If blues do hold some interest for you, now is the time to make the switch.  They are abundant in home furnishings and will be for the next couple years.  It’s hard to believe we’re actually, “thrilled to have the blues”!


P.S. – Photos of blue were taken from “Waverly: At Home with Color” and “Pottery Barn”, “William Sonoma Home”, “Macy’s” and “Talbots” catalogs.

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  1. Mae says

    Shari; you are the person to help me. I like blue in my BR. I have a Dennis Basso coverlet set in blue that I use in the summer. It doesn’t come with a bedskirt so I added a cream bedskirt and the throw pillows are blue and cream. Now. for winter I’d love to use a taupe coverlet set I have in that room with blue..How do I tie a taupe coverlet and bedskirt to blue. I can’t find blue and beige pillows to bring both colors together..also would it be better to put a blue bedskirt for I making sense cause I have hit a ‘wall’ so to speak..Thanks for all your years of great ideas.

    • Shari Hiller says

      Mae, Blue, Taupe and Cream/White are commonly used together in decorating color palettes. I can understand if you can’t find something you really like in an accessory pillow, but have you tried looking at your local fabric store for fabrics that fit the description? It’s easy to make pillow covers that slip over the ones you already have to change things up for the seasons. You may need to bring in another color, like a brown or navy or maybe a dark green or burgundy to get the blues and taupes that you want in a patterned fabric. This extra deep color might be nice for the winter months and it will open up your eyes to other accessories that might help the transition of seasons as well. As for the bedskirt, I think the cream is best with both. Let me know if you find a fabric for making your own pillows.

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