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out of the blue


From Habitat magazine - issue 09

From moody azures to delicate duck-egg and vivid sapphire, sea blues are the perfect colours for summer.

Calm, relaxing, refreshing, cooling – as the colour of the sky and sea, blue stands for peace and tranquility. Blue also stands for loyalty and tradition – it’s one of the most popular colours for uniforms and a personnel professional might advise you to wear it for job interviews because of its association with trustworthiness.

“The soothing shades of blue are renowned for their relaxing properties.”

Background summer blue colours
Background summer blue colours
Room with antler: Background: Resene Maestro. White chair, Zebra cushion, Indian book, and Root stool, from Republic Home. Droplet lamp, from May Time Marketing. Pearl shell box, resin Kudu horn, from Corso de Fiore. Table, optical glasses and brass vase, stylist’s own. Room with "A": Background: Resene Zomp. Marcia Scott stool, Sweet Pea owl, Little Scruff, Pluto Blue, from Eon Design. Wood & Scherer cushion, Wood & Scherer ‘Birdsong’ trolley, pink letter ‘A’, from Madder & Rouge. Alimrose Design giraffe, from Abigails. Beba Bean ‘My First Patents’ shoes, from Verde.

Aside from its ingrained association with male gender in Western societies, blue (not red) traditionally stands for love, which is why a bride carries or wears ‘something blue’.

As a water colour, blue is often associated with hygiene and is a favourite packaging colour for cleansers and personal hygiene products.

Background summer blue colours
Background summer blue colours
Photo with vases: Background: Resene Wavelength. Elk antler lamp, from May Time Marketing. Glass bottle, wooden vase, white Hurricane lantern, offering dish, coral, from Republic Home. Small glass buoy, from Corso de Fiore. Blue bowl, stylist’s own. Photo with dishes: Background: Resene Quarter Tasman. Assorted Adobe crockery in Stone, Charcoal, Powder Blue and White from Nood.

Did you know people are more productive in blue rooms, and that blue is an appetite suppressant? Because it doesn’t occur naturally in food, we have a primitive response that blue food is poisonous. So use it in the home office but not the dining room… unless you’re on a diet.

Blue is known as a cool colour, and in decorating its tranquil nature has made it popular for bedrooms. It has an unfair reputation as being cold and depressing. Certainly, if you choose a grey-based or icy blue for a south-facing room, it might not make you feel cheerful. But with today’s paint technology and colour subtlety, blue can easily become a warm turquoise or a deep and reassuring navy. It can have the richness of cobalt and lapis tones, or the sophistication of teals and dusky slate shades.

“You can almost hear the waves caressing the shore.”

Background summer blue colours
Resene testpots
Room with candle: Background: Resene Comfort Zone. Natural side table, from Corso de Fiore. Belgian oval street lantern, from May Time Marketing. Botanic plaque, from Abigails. Cotton throw, from Verde. Blue bowl and white bowl with pegs, stylist’s own. Testpots: Resene testpots, clockwise from top: Resene Wavelength, Resene Zomp, Resene Comfort Zone, Resene Maestro, Resene Quarter Tasman.

Any colour, of course, changes depending on its environment and what you place it next to. Put pale blue next to white and it will become classically Cape Cod, refreshing and beachy. Put navy with gold and it becomes regal. Turquoise with yellow, it’s fun and funky.

So take some inspiration from these pages, and go blue.

Stockists: Abigails, Corso de Fiore, Eon Design, Madder & Rouge, May Time Marketing, Nood, Republic Home, Verde

styling: Lianne Whorwood
pictures: David Whorwood


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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.