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Blues to make rooms soar

From the Resene decorating blog

Who doesn’t love blue? Wispy, soothing tones of pastel blues are perfect for creating the coastal breeziness that’s a perennial favourite.

But we’re also getting bolder in our use of blues, with deep dramatic midnight hues like Resene Carpe Noctem and vivid primary blues like Resene Wet N Wild that give us all an immediate mood lift.

There are few colours so universally loved than blue in all its iterations. Get the colour combinations right and blues can really make your rooms soar with timeless style.

A soothing blue-grey bedroom

Soothing walls in Resene Breathless (top) and Resene Duck Egg Blue (bottom) are perfect for a relaxing bedroom. Floor finished in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, skirting in Resene Breathless, pendant light in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, bedside cabinet in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue and the stool at the end of the bed is Resene Duck Egg Blue. Bedlinen and flower cushion Small Acorns. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

This room showcases the dramatic impact of rich blues and golds. A framed section of Resene Wallpaper Collection ONB102646290 makes a stylish backdrop against walls in Resene Wallpaper Collection ONB7684565. Combine with a feature wall finished in Resene Aviator and let the decor shine with simple flooring stained in Resene Colorwood Natural.

Set the tone

If you’re thinking about a blue-based colour scheme for your home, start by thinking about what kind of feel you want the space to have for the people in it.

As Resene colour consultant Amy Watkins says: “Blues are a great colour tone to change the whole look and feel of the space.

“Try Resene Morning Haze or Resene Timeless for that light, easy breezy coastal feel in your living areas, bedrooms or throughout your home.”

To complete that beachy, bachy vibe, pair your muted, grey blues with wood finishes in Resene Colorwood Natural or Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy from the Resene We Speak Beach range. To add visual interest, pair your soft blues like Resene Duck Egg Blue with sunset shades like Resene Crail or Resene Sante Fe. Billowy white curtains, and plenty of natural fibres and plants will complete the look.

Add a sophisticated beachy tone by going for bolder blues like Resene Cobalt with brighter naturals like Resene Quarter Spanish White, and accent touches of deep terracotta Resene Mexican Red for more of a ‘Hamptons-style’ coastal feel.

But blues needn’t always mean coastal or nautical. Amy also suggests experimenting with blue-greens and dark navy shades for a completely different effect.

“Resene Boost is a soft-edged teal blue that can be great for bold feature accent walls, while Resene Carpe Noctem or Resene Indian Ink are deep inky blues that will add drama to any room.”

A blue bedroom with caramel accents

Caramel accents add to the impact of these walls in Resene Epic, which above the trim line is painted over textured anaglypta wallpaper – Resene Wallpaper Collection RD5671. The trim and coffee cup are Resene Toffee with bedside table and console table in Resene Pendragon. The bulb vase on the console is Resene Brown Sugar with a bowl in Resene Double Blanc, also on the bedside table vase. The DIY artwork canvas is painted in Resene Brown Sugar with MDF hex shapes in Resene Epic, Resene Pendragon, Resene Toffee and Resene Double Blanc. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton. Bedlinen from Foxtrot Home, throw from Adairs, round cushion from Citta, rectangle cushion cover from H&M Home, mug from Freedom Furniture.

Unexpected combinations

Blue is an extremely flexible colour to decorate with, as you will likely find a shade of blue to work with almost any other colour. That said, it does have some classic colour partners, like primary red and bright white, or yellows, which sit opposite blue on the colour wheel.

Amy adds that mustard tones, which are typically yellows with a blackened or slightly green edge, such as or Resene Sunbeam are another safe complementary colour to try with blues. If you’re worried about your palette getting too overwhelming opt on-trend muted colours like Resene See The Light with softer blue Resene Upside.

“But to step outside the box I would recommend trying an orange or pink,” Amy says. “Orange tones such as Resene Tequila Sunrise will bring added life and vibrance to any blue space.”

If you want to use a moody deep blue like Resene Midnight Express, softer pastel pinks can help prevent the darker colours becoming overwhelming.

“Classic pinks like Resene Coconut Ice or Resene Valentine paired with heavier deeper blues can soften spaces and add a sense of comfort,” Amy says.

A sea blue living room

Breezy sea blues elevate neutral off-white decor pieces for a fresh modern sitting room with high-impact. Walls painted in Resene Ziggurat with flooring in Resene Mountain Mist, planter in Resene Alabaster, DIY artwork in Resene Celeste, Resene Nocturnal, Resene Rolling Stone, Resene Blue Bayoux and Resene Alabaster with frame in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue, coasters in Resene Rolling Stone and tray in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue. Sofa, coffee table, side table, rug, cushions and vase from Nood, rug from Freedom, black and white striped cushion from H&M Home, loafers from Zara. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Other unexpected colour combinations to try are charcoal greys like Resene Thunderstorm and dramatic reds like Resene Incarnadine with tropical blue Resene Idyllic. Deep crimson Resene Very Berry is another shade that works deliciously with these turquoise blues.

For a simple yet vivid modern art finish, try pairing grouping the primary colours of Resene Resolution Blue, Resene Red Berry and yellow Resene Turbo with crisp Resene Black White and Resene Black. It can be a fun, and inspiring combination in kids’ bedrooms or workspaces like creative studios and home offices; or even toilets and bathrooms.

Using blue with neutrals

The inherent versatility of blues, means they are fairly easy to pair with neutrals. The neutral you chose to pair with your blue will depend on how you want your blue to transform your space, Amy says.

For example, she suggests softening the crystalline aqua edge of Resene Breeze by using a cooler based white like Resene Poured Milk or Resene Black White. “It reduces the intensity of the blue undertones,” Amy says. “To intensify the blue nature of Resene Timeless try pairing it with Resene Chalk Dust or Resene Bianca.”

The soft, muted and versatile nature of some popular modern trends mean they can actually be used as neutrals themselves, if you are looking for a subtly different look that is still fairly minimalist.

Try the wispy blue of Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue on trim areas with walls in Resene Half Pale Rose, or painting ceilings, skirtings and doors in Resene Dusted Blue with the deeper faded denim of Resene Atomic on the walls. Add notes of olive brown Resene Go Ben for unexpected contrast.

Top tip:  If you want to add a note of glamour, warm mid-blues like Resene Takaka, blackened blue Resene Indian Ink or deep teal Resene Warrior all look great with notes of metallic Resene Gold. Turquoise sea blues like Resene Boost and violet-toned blues like Resene Astronaut can work well with touches of silver.

Let’s talk feature walls

Because of the variety of shades available blue is a good choice if you’re stepping out of a strictly neutral colour comfort zone. But if you do want to go bolder why not experiment with shades of blue as a feature wall.

How about geometric shapes in a combination of palest blue Resene Zumthor with steely blue Resene Hammerhead and Resene Half Gull Grey?

Add a drop of textured navy blue wallpaper with Resene Wallpaper Collection E307334 as a visually interesting backdrop to a warm beige couch, then add a couple of cushions or a throw in copper or deep mustard. You could be more adventurous with a floral on muted blue wallpaper pattern like Resene Wallpaper Collection E307306.

Whatever your colour preferences there is a shade of blue out there to suit your palette and take your interiors to the next level.

Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Timeless

Resene Morning Haze

Resene Valentine

Resene Coconut Ice

Resene Very Berry

Resene See The Light

Resene Sunbeam

Resene Tequila Sunrise

Resene Upside

Resene Epic

Resene Idyllic

Resene Boost

Resene Takaka

Resene Thunderstorm

Resene Carpe Noctem

February 04, 2023

For help choosing the right blue to suit your home, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert free online or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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