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Denim blues are some of the hardest working colours out there

From the Resene decorating blog

Regardless of what décor style you’re drawn to, blue-collar hues offer something for everyone.

Denim blues are a staple of interior decorating. In a coastal country, it’s difficult to bypass blue – it’s all around us. And being one of the most universally loved hues out there, the love for blue runs deep.

A classic denim blue bedroom in Resene Frozen

A lounge with denim blue wallpaper

Bedroom: Denim blues were used to build this classic colour scheme. Walls in Resene Frozen, painted headboard feature in Resene Biscay, bedside table in Resene Solitude and tray in Resene Alabaster. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.  Lounge: Denim-hued wallpaper is another classic choice. Try Resene Wallpaper Collection 90422, seen on the wall above, with timber floors stained Resene Colorwood Light Greywash and a greyed denim such as Resene Neutral Bay for the trims.

For those looking for a versatile blue, you need not look no further than denim. Teamed up with various Resene colour combinations, it plays a key role in achieving a whole range of looks. Denim blue can be an integral player in a classic timeless look, it’s quite at home in a Hamptons home and it’s an obvious choice for bach decorating. And while its popularity spans countless eras of decorating, there’s nothing dated about denim blue – the colour can also be an integral inclusion in achieving a trend-forward look.

Dunedin based interior designer Robyn Buis of Robyn Buis Design is one such true blue lover. Given her penchant for the hue, she has a host of suggestions around what Resene paint colours to team up with denim blues to suit different decor themes.

Classic and timeless

If your intention is to create a room style that is both classic and timeless, Robyn suggests being bold with blue.

“Embellish your walls with a moody blue like Resene Madison,” Robyn suggests. She recommends using Resene SpaceCote Flat in bedrooms or living rooms to provide a velvety matte finish and to play up its depth and drama. Try it with neutral timber floors stained in Resene Colorwood Light Greywash and trims, skirting boards and ceilings in a soft stone grey such as Resene Eighth Truffle.

“Team it with a classic navy and cream ticking fabric accented with emerald green velvet. Load up on natural linen fabrics, which are also timeless, and mix in plenty texture.”

An alternative option is to use Resene Casper on the walls. While a lighter colour, has a denim blue ambience and works well with off-white Resene Half Merino ceilings and trims. For the floors, try a deep grey timber stain like Resene Colorwood Iroko.

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

The Hamptons look

Robyn singles out Resene Westar as a delicious neutral to wrap around the blues of Hamptons. Combine it with a muted mid-range blue like Resene Lynch for a soft but defined direction – especially when combined with striped upholstery and off-white linen window treatments or a classic geometric pattern such as the Intersection design from the Resene Curtain Collection in Naturelle, Hydra or Charcoal.

Casual Hamptons style can be achieved by painting walls in Resene Half Gull Grey, with trims in Resene Quarter Black White.

“Add in the drapery or roman blinds with a fine striped linen and layering lovely throw rugs in denim blues. Add fabrics and accessories in navy and introduce sisal rugs to timber floors. Natural materials give off the feeling of ‘home’ in a generous way”.

A look for the bach

Creating that homely-yet-laidback version of holiday happiness is essential in a bach. Inspiration can be drawn from your surrounding environment and if you are close to water then elements of blues are par for the course, Robyn believes. She suggests bold navy blues such as Resene Blue Night or Resene Tangaroa on accent walls.

“They are absorbing, enveloping and perfect for cosying up around a fire in the cooler months, yet quietly sophisticated when mixed with crisp whites for a summer scheme.”

A lounge with lighter washes of denim blue

Lighter washes of denim blue work well in a bach setting. Walls in Resene Duck Egg Blue, floor in Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue, shelf and coffee table in Resene Unwind, bamboo pot stand in Resene Quarter Tea, pendant lamp shade in Resene Raindance, tall vase (on shelf) and bowl (on coffee table) in Resene Raindance, smaller vase painted in Resene Quarter Tea with palm tree stencilled in Resene Raindance and tea light holder in Resene Slipstream. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

For a less saturated look, try Resene Seachange or Resene Blue Bayoux trimmed with a steeped milky beige like Resene Eighth Tea and use it’s full strength variation, Resene Tea, for the floors. Bring in sandy shades like Resene Napa on key pieces of furniture, such as coffee or side tables.

Another concept Robyn adores is walls in Resene Midwinter Mist trimmed with Resene Cod Grey – a combination that looks fabulous with rich greens and navy and natural, textured rugs over neutral timber flooring stained in Resene Colorwood Natural.

“It’s a homely, yet sophisticated look,” she assures.

Resene Slipstream

Resene Raindance

A trend-forward look

Blue in its many tones has featured heavily, and been celebrated, on the main stage of the interior design industry for decades, but classic denim-inspired hues have recently come back into the spotlight.

“Today we talk about how this colour has captured the industry and maintained its place as a strong element in the way we live. And beautiful blues will have their place in the future,” says Robyn who believes blues in general will takin on more daring characteristics in 2020. “These blues are shifting and becoming moody, deep and totally absorbing.”

A trend-forward paint palette

In this trend-forward paint palette, Resene Coast anchors the scheme (seen in the background) while accents like the tray in Resene Ethereal, a barely-there blush, and small vases (clockwise from left) in Resene Twilight Zone, Resene Rice Cake and Resene Grey Olive. A4 drawdown paint swatches (from left to right) in Resene Twilight Zone, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Grey Olive and Resene Ethereal. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

“Cobalt blues will emerge,” she predicts. “We will see elements of this jewel colour in accessories as well as fabrics and wall coverings including paint & paper. Resene Half Resolution Blue is an example of this dynamic tone. This colour needs restraint, but when used cleverly, the effect is inspiring.

“Equally, these future-forward blues are becoming muted with strands of marine influence, such as velvety Resene Blue Bark,” Robyn says.

These colours will be useful in contemporising spaces, she says, and can also define and stretch a space. They are gorgeous, she finds, with rich chestnuts like Resene Redwood or Resene Hairy Heath, natural materials and blues with a green undertone, such as Resene Green Meets Blue or Resene Fast Forward.

“The blue palette is ever-evolving and will continue to be an inspiration,” Robyn says.

Resene Ethereal

Resene Twilight Zone

Resene Fast Forward

A true classic

Resene colour expert Carolyn Atkinson is currently crushing on Resene New Denim Blue – which is about as classic as a denim blue comes – and offers various suggestions on what to team it up with. It’s a colour that makes a great starting point and can be fun to pair up with other Resene favourites for a host of different décor looks.

To achieve a classic, timeless look, Carolyn suggests pairing Resene Half House White with Resene Quarter Black White or Resene Half Rice Cake with Resene Eighth Rice Cake next to Resene New Denim Blue.

A dark and moody lounge

A black and light blue lounge

Lounge with red couch: Walls in dark and moody Resene Indian Ink can be used for a dramatic luxe look. Floors in Resene Bastille, coffee table in Resene Persian Red and side table in Resene Negroni. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.  Lounge with white couch: Resene Colorwood Woody Bay, a deep dark denim timber stain, has been used to add translucent colour to this plywood wall in a way that still allows the natural grain to subtly show through. Floor in Resene Sea Fog, sideboard in Resene Casper, coffee table painted in Resene Indian Ink with Resene Sea Fog wiped on as ‘white wash’, tray in Resene Escape, vase (with palm leaf) and tea light holder in Resene Lazy River, rattan votive in Resene Sea Fog, textured vase (on sideboard) in Resene Escape and pendant lamp shade in Resene Sea Fog. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Melanie Jenkins.

“Whites used in unison with Resene New Denim Blue are lovely. It’s a look that never dates, is understated and very simple,” Carolyn says.

Meanwhile, light greys or warmed subtle beiges such as Resene Eighth Malta or Resene Eighth Pravda used with lots of pure white trims in Resene Half Alabaster or Resene Half Black White and decorative detailing can get you an authentic-looking Hamptons scheme. These houses often feature shingled gabled roofs, sometimes with darker trims as deck furniture and accessories – think denim blue, grey, navy or black. For weatherboards, Carolyn recommends Resene Concrete, Resene Quarter Truffle, Resene Half Stack or Resene Cloudy.

When it comes to the bach look, denim blue is often used outside on the roof, doors, and possibly the joinery as well. For a trend-forward look Carolyn suggests using darker tones and corrugated steel cladding with exposed aggregate concrete.

“Sophisticated and modern, Resene New Denim Blue on the roof and joinery is a nice complement for more dominant exterior colours.

“An alternative suggestion is tonally-related lighter variants of Resene New Denim Blue,” Carolyn says, citing Resene Ebony Clay and Resene Double Cod Grey as ideal matches.

Resene Lazy River

December 13, 2019

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for more colour ideas and all the expert advice and products you need for a superb finish on all your decorating projects.

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