Decorating with Blue
Interior designer and author Sharon Hanby-Robie has an interesting take on color preferences. She maintains there are two groups of people – those who prefer blue and those who go for the green. She believes that roughly 70% of us are in the blue group, including the majority of men.
“Blue people tend to be happier with peach, mauve, gray, beige, rust, and brown tones,” she writes in My Name Isn’t Martha But I Can Decorate My Home. “Green people prefer brighter, more adventurous tones like purple, red, yellow, teal, and hot pink.” And even if you like both colors, she adds, you’re a blue person if your favorite greens have blue undertones and you prefer calmer, less radical patterns.
Blue is universally perceived as relaxing and calming because of the cool tranquility of blue sky and azure waters.”
Hanby-Robie’s conclusions are not exactly pure science, but they work for me. Blue is universally perceived as relaxing and calming because of the cool tranquility of blue sky and azure waters. Still, not all blues are mellow. There’s the conservative, authoritarian dark blue of business suits and police uniforms. There’s also electric blue-violet, chilly ice blue, and playful bright aqua. My personal favorite is the brilliant and princely blue that adds such heart-stopping intensity to Medieval and early Renaissance paintings.
It’s exactly that range of possibilities that makes the color such a joy to work with. Blue, eclipsed by green for the last few years, is making a comeback these days, especially in tandem with its most compatible and complementary colors. Below is a range of possibilities for your own home and disposition, all suggested by the blues of everyday life. (Please click to read more about Color Theory.)
Summer stripes – What’s more refreshing than contrasting bands of white and blue? Think broad awning stripes, or a blue background lined with narrow white stripes. This cool combination is instantly relaxing and works well with outdoor colors like sand, green, clay, and even more white. Up the intensity to evoke another seaside mood: the stunning blue of Greek skies behind stark whitewashed buildings. Either way, black is a surprisingly effective accent color. For a more muted effect, try blue and gray, which can be Zen-like with accents of burgundy or black. For a crisp business-like effect, combine gray flannel tones with Oxford cloth blue and touches of power tie yellow or rep stripe red.