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Blues to love

From the Resene decorating blog

From cornflower to azure, regal to dusky, the colour blue has many attractive shades; it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t find at least one of these appealing.

But some people find blue a tricky colour to work with, calling it ‘cold’ and placing it into the ‘too hard’ basket. The good news is that with so many options to choose from, a little exploration means it’s a no-brainer to find a blue that works for your space.

Blue diagonal graphic grooves - lounge

Get your graphic groove on by going diagonal on a feature wall that sings the blues in varying tones.

Back wall painted in Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue with angled/herringbone stripes in Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Inside Back, left wall in Resene Half Inside Back, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, plant pots in Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue, coffee tables in Resene Half Sea Fog and Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue, cabinet in Resene Half Sea Fog, floating shelf in Resene Duck Egg Blue, artwork in Resene Milk White, Resene Taupe Grey, Resene Fuscous Grey with background in Resene Half Black White and vases in Resene Innocence, Resene Half Inside Back, Resene Dark Slate, Resene Inside Back, Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Woodsmoke. Sofa from Nood, throw, duvet cover, pillowcases, throw, cushions, nightstand and lamps from Citta. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A blue tonal rainbow design in a home interior

Make the most of an empty wall with a tonal rainbow design, in which form and beauty work together. The rounded shapes emphasis a sense of warmth and ease while the light and dark shades of blue ensure visual interest.

Wall in Resene Half Spindle with rainbow in Resene Frozen, Resene Spindle, Resene Gelato and Resene Zircon, floor in Resene Half Spindle with rainbow in Resene Frozen, Resene Spindle, Resene Gelato and Resene Zircon, pendant lamp in Resene Black White, large toy box in Resene Zircon, small toy box (on wheels) in Resene Gelato and ladder in Resene Black White. Project by Emily Somerville-Ryan, image by Bryce Carleton.

The most successful blue paint schemes are tones with a slight grey edge, Resene Colour Expert Amy Watkins says. “It helps to prevent the colour from going too baby blue so that it keeps the colour fresh without competing with other colours in the space.”

Some people feel blue is a no-go zone for rooms lacking in natural warmth and light. But there is good news. Amy says that an interior that needs a warm effect from colour pays to choose blues with the right undertones.

“Blues that have a slight purple edge to them help to warm up the blue undertones, such as with Resene Breathless or Resene Link Water. These are ideal when paired with a warm white like Resene Alabaster, Resene Quarter Rice Cake or Resene Half Bianca.”

This certainly applies to south-facing, cool rooms within a home, where the natural light can be lacking. “In this instance, you are best to go light, with a blue that has a slight purple edge to it, to prevent the room from becoming too cold,” Amy says.

A soft grey-blue bathroom

Soft grey-blues offset the beautifully brighter blue of Resene Bermuda Grey, its standout hue making a showpiece out of this bathroom vanity, which could otherwise be easily overlooked.

Wall painted in Resene Cut Glass, floorboards in Resene Raven, Resene Half Raven, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Regent Grey, and Resene Kensington Grey, vanity in Resene Bermuda Grey, slatted screen in Resene Half Black White, duckboard in Resene Black White, ladder in Resene Silver Chalice, side tables in Resene Avalanche. Basin mixer and sink from Plumbing World, vase from Junk & Disorderly, soap dispenser from Freedom. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

A blue French countryside themed dining room

Evoke the French countryside in your dining setting with a modern touch.

Traditionally French country décor is associated with duck-egg blue, but we’ve taken a contemporary approach by painting the walls in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue, a soft green-tinged blue. Dark blue Resene Shadowy Blue accents provide a formal touch. For a summery, lighter look simply keep the pale blue walls and swap out the dark accents for cheerful whites and upbeat yellows. Wall painted in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue, floor in Resene Wan White, bench seat base in Resene Periglacial Blue with Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue ‘whitewashed’ edges (paint wiped on with a cloth), dado rail in Resene Wan White, chairs in Resene Shadowy Blue, DIY daisy paintings in Resene Periglacial Blue, Resene Quarter Black White and Resene Energy Yellow with frames in Resene Powder Blue, large jug vase in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue, small fluted vase in Resene Powder Blue and pendant lamp in Resene Shadowy Blue. Dining table and rug from Leopold Hall, tote bag from H&M, olive tree from Mitre 10. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

“I would recommend looking at Resene Half Breathless, Resene Designer White or Resene Zircon. Pairing these with a warm white will also help to prevent the space from becoming too cold and dark.”

In warm, north-facing rooms that have plenty of natural sunlight, a cool blue can provide the perfect counterpoint to the light. If you’re after a cool effect with blue, Amy suggests opting for blues that have a clean undertone or have a grey edge to them.

“Once they have a purple edge to it, that’s when they start to warm up,” Amy says that blues that create this effect are Resene Quarter Frozen, Resene Half Spindle or Resene Tranquil. The ideal partners, she says, for these cool blues are cool whites like Resene Eighth Black White or Resene Poured Milk.

For those who have always wanted to include dark-blue shades but feel they are too heavy and cold, don’t close the door on your preferred choice just yet. It may feel like a big gamble bringing this intense blue into your home, but there are ways to make it sing beautifully. Taking a chance on this rich shade will pay off – think the dark turquoise of Resene Guru or the deep grey of Resene Cello.

“They are heavy colours, but there are ways to soften the dark blue shades like pairing the dark blues with a warm white like Resene Alabaster or Resene Bianca for the trims or contrasting with your soft furnishings,” Amy says. “So, bring in the warm palette with brown and terracotta undertones.”

Greens, yellows and turquoise bring a sense of brightness to dark blue interiors, especially when paired with a touch of white. Embrace the almost edible accent colours that work so well here, such as caramels and mustards. Their warmth and spice will inject an extra layer of immersive warmth into your blue scheme. Accents in Resene Pizza, Resene Pirate Gold and Resene Laser are joyful examples of this.

A mid-toned, regal blue such as Resene Aviator resonates beautifully in a sensual way when next to terracotta, pale blue and soft butter yellow. Or for primary blue, pair Resene Torea Bay with tangy terracotta, pale blue and rustic rattan pendants and baskets.

When it comes to using shades of blue that feel welcoming, Amy’s favourite depends on the space in which it resides. “But I like the dark blues as a feature wall as I find they are great backdrops for your wall art,” she says. “Colours Like Resene Tangaroa, Resene Dark Knight or Resene Coast. Or if you want a whole room painted in a strong blue, I would go for a mid-toned blue like Resene Lynchpin, Resene Bermuda Grey or Resene Frozen. These are colours that still offer flexibility in your soft furnishings.”

Although many of us love the soothing qualities of blue, some feel being around it every day might be too much. Ideally, we want the perfect balance of colour between relaxing and stimulating. This is possible by choosing the right blue tones with a hint of green edge to them, Amy says. “The green undertone helps to brighten up the space and often allows you to bring in stronger colour tones with your soft furnishings. I would recommend looking at colours such as Resene Reservoir, Resene Half Kumutoto or Resene Retreat.”

Children’s rooms are always fun to bring in blues, whether they be soft, baby tones, dusky or bright. For a light and cheerful child’s room interior, a perfect paint combination is the green-turquoise of Resene Java, murky green of Resene Highland, golden yellow of Resene Broom balanced with the fresh white of Resene Saltpan. Kids will love this colour palette, especially when translated into a painted mural on a wall in their favourite theme, be it clouds, fish or flowers. Or adopt these colours with simple geometric shapes or blocks of colour.

Other popular blues that continue to hold their own include cornflower tones – try Resene Azure - and coastal colours – Resene Cyprus is perfect – transporting you straight to the Mediterranean. Gentle, dusty mid-toned blues such as Resene Bismark pair well with rustic wooden furniture and splashes of red and white accents.

Or go graphic and inject your favourite blue into a classic combination of black and white. It would work with royal blue walls and a white couch with black and white soft-furnishings, or a room, that can be visible from a monochrome setting, with walls coated in a vibrant turquoise as a surprise feature.

Ultimately, whether it's cooling and calming or warming and enlivening, blues bring dynamism and serenity to a setting that rarely dates.

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

November 17, 2021

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