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A touch of the blues

Blue is a colour found in nature - the soft blues of early morning skies, deep indigo blues of the shadows on hills, cornflower blue of flowers, sparkling blues of summer seas and every variation of blue from ivy blue through to storm-cloud grey blue and midnight navy.

Sandy beiges and blue conjure up visions of the seaside; the natural combination of leaf greens and blues offset each other well, as do purple blues and lime. Combined with white it brings to mind Chinese pottery painted with animals or birds.

Resene swatch
Resene Magik
Resene swatch
Resene Botticelli
Resene swatch
Resene Regent Street Blue
Resene swatch
Resene Delta Blue
Resene swatch
Resene Astronaut

Though blue comes from the cool side of the colour wheel it need not be a cold decorating colour. The dark shades can bring warmth to a room scheme, while the paler blues can create a softly harmonious look that is almost neutral. Blues that contain an amount of red are warmer than those containing yellow.

Blue is a relaxing colour, suggesting harmony and peace, which makes it a good choice for a bedroom or study. Its natural relationship to water makes it a popular choice for a bathroom. It is also a suitable choice in rooms that with full sun as it has a low reflectance value that diffuses bright sun.

Throughout history, blue has been widely used as the dyes were easily obtained. The indigo plant produces a blue of depth and character. Woad is another plant-based dye used by the ancient Britons to colour cloth and their bodies! The most costly blue was obtained by crushing the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli and was used in paintings of a religious nature and frescoes during the Renaissance.

As an exercise, can you identify a Scandinavian blue, a Persian blue, a French blue, a Shaker blue, or a Wedgewood blue? By identifying these blues you can create many different colour schemes. Think of the effect you wish to create - blue is coolest with greens, warmest with peach, terracotta, primrose or buttery yellows, crispest with white, boldest with reds, heavenly with metallics and softly placid with baby-cheek pink - and use this as the basis of your colour scheme.

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