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Which blue is right for you?

From the Resene decorating blog

Blue. Just the word is relaxing, evoking a long deep breath. Visually, of course, it's even more powerful.

Blue is a colour that not only advances but also draws us to it. From living rooms to bedrooms, kitchens, powder rooms, and beyond, there are a league of blues which will envelop your home in colour. Blue can be understated or bold, calming or invigorating, modern or retro, fun or serious. It can be used sparingly, using soft blue accents or bold splashes here and there or you can go for a bolder statement wall or colour drenching. Inject personality.

A duck egg blue breakfast room

In this breakfast room, the walls have been painted in Resene Duck Egg Blue with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Rolling Stone.

The grooved floor is in Resene Half Villa White. Pendant lamp in Resene Half Orchid White and sideboard in Resene Inside Back. On the table, the pottery-style bowl (with lemons) is in Resene Kalgoorie Sands and the cereal bowl is in Resene Moccaccino. On the sideboard the flower vase is in Kalgoorie Sands and the small vase is in Resene Seachange. Table and dinnerware from Citta, chairs from Contempa, artwork from Father Rabbit, lamp from Paper Plane, linen from The Fabric Store. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A dark blue and white lounge

This living room demonstrates the power of the classic pairing of blue and white with beige accents to add texture.

The front wall is painted in Resene Zinzan while the back wall is painted in Resene Biscay (bottom) and Resene Half Dusted Blue (top). The floor is painted in Resene Chalk Dust. Side table at the back of the room is in Resene Biscay. Wooden hooks and bowl at back in Resene Frozen. Pot at back and tall round table in Resene Bunting. Cabinet doors in Resene Breathless. Sofa and rug from Freedom, throw and cushion from Shut the Front Door, Beach People cushion from Green with Envy, artwork from Bed Bath & Beyond, small square artwork from Little Brick Home, bag from Tessuti, cube from Country Road. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

So how do you find the right Resene blue hue for you? Are there particular blues that suit certain styles of house or complement the era in which it was built? Are particular blues most suitable for certain rooms and which can be used to brighten a space or create a cosy feel?

Perfect colour partners for blue

Blue is a versatile colour, happy to stand on its own or share the spotlight with other bold colours, like hot pink and olive green.

Bedtime stories

A soothing soft blue feels adds an ethereal, dreamy quality to every space and is particularly well-suited for bedrooms. Even the floorboards can be washed in a lovely grey-blue. Also offering a restful vibe is Resene Comfort Zone. For a child’s room which serves as both bedroom and playroom, try a more vibrant shade such as blue-violet like Resene Portage.

Calming blue battens in the master bedroom

Battens are an easy way to add depth to a room, and by painting them in colours in an ombre effect, you can add softness to the space.

Wall painted in Resene Rhino, battens in Resene Half New Denim Blue, Resene Neutral Bay, Resene Gull Grey and Resene Midwinter Mist and floor and pendant light in Resene Iron. Chest of drawers in Resene Gull Grey, bedside table in Resene Neutral Bay, bench seat in Resene Quarter Powder Blue and vases and accessories in Resene Half New Denim Blue, Resene Neutral Bay and Resene Rhino. Duvet and pillowcases from Foxtrot Home, blue cushion cover and rug from H&M Home, grey cushion covers from Adairs. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A blue-green outdoor shower room

Green meets blue in this outdoor shower room.

The feature wall is painted in Resene Green Meets Blue. Shower wall in Resene Nepal and Resene Sea Fog. Breezeblocks in Resene Sea Fog. Shower stand in Resene Pitch Black. Mirror-surround in Resene Breeze. Soap dispenser in Resene Nepal. Shelf in Resene Pitch Black. Rack in Resene Nepal. Showerhead from Plumbline, chair from Cintesi. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Nautical and nice

Blue is one of those colours that feels accessible, bold enough to feel like you're taking serious risks, but still classic. If you live by the sea, channel the waves with a range of blues from blue-green hues like Resene Escape and Resene Boston Blue to the more true blue hue of Resene Bondi Blue and the brighter tone with Resene Captain Cook.

Consider the treatment

High-gloss paints are a sure-fire way to make a bold statement with a high sheen finish like Resene Enamacryl. Pair with beige and cream to lighten the mood. If you want your walls to recede, try a deeper blue in the matte finish of Resene SpaceCote Flat. Choose a lighter shade of blue if you're lacking in natural sunlight.

A soft minty sky blue breakfast room

The soft minty sky blue in this breakfast room lends an active restful vibe.

The wall is painted in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue. Chairs in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue. Bench seat base in Resene Periglacial Blue with Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue ‘whitewashed’ edges (paint wiped on with a cloth). Dado rail and floor in Resene Wan White. Coat rack in Resene Sandspit Brown. Bowl (with lemons) in Resene Sandspit Brown. DIY daisy paintings in Resene Periglacial Blue, Resene Quarter Black White and Resene Energy Yellow. Large plant pot (with olive tree) in Resene Powder Blue. Large jug vase in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue. Pendant lamp and floor in Resene Wan White. Dining table from Leopold Hall, bag from H&M, hat from Kmart. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.


Your blue personality quiz

1. Do you prefer…

A –  A lake or river
B –  The harbour
C –  The ocean

2. Do you prefer…

A –  mirror-flat lake
B –  Gentle rolling waves
C –  Crashing waves

3. At the beach, are you…

A –  Relaxed, chilling out in a deck chair or picnic rug to read a book.
B –  Active, taking to the water for a swim, kayak or paddle board.
C – A combination of both.

4. Which house would you prefer to live in?

A –  Villa
B –  New build
C –  Log cabin

5. Do you prefer...

A –  Pretty prints
B –  Botanical prints
C –  Abstract designs

All As –  Your blue preference is for soft understated colours like pastels and sky blues and timeless combinations like blue and white. Try Resene Seachange, Resene Pattens Blue, Resene Solitude or Resene Escape.

All Bs –  You like blues that evoke nature, sky and ocean. Try Resene Forecast, Resene Into the Blue, Resene Undercurrent or Resene San Juan

All Cs –  You’re prepared to be a little adventurous in your colour choices opting for bold splashes and adding a little quirkiness. Try Resene Deep Teal, Resene Green Meets Blue, Resene Space Cadet, Resene Indian Ink or Resene Half Smalt Blue from the Karen Walker Paints collection.

If you weren't sure if you wanted to anchor your space around blue before, you probably are now. You can’t go wrong with blue – there is a blue to suit all spaces, styles and preferences – all you need to do is find the blue that is just right for you.

Resene BFF

January 25, 2022

Get inspired by projects from other kiwi homeowners who have decorated with blue. If you need help finding your favourite blue, book a colour consultation with a Resene Colour Expert, visit a Resene ColorShop or Ask a Resene Colour Expert free online.

Book a colour consult | Ask a Colour Expert | Ask a Paint Expert

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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