Coloring Your World: The Paradox of BLUE

Coloring Your World: The Paradox of BLUE

Color surrounds us. It drives, soothes, influences, intrigues and inspires us.  It also intimidates the heck out of us when presented in the form of a paint fan, or a wall of fabric swatches.

Coloring Your World is a series that works its way around the color wheel, looking at the history and psychology of color. Continuing with the primary colors, let’s talk about BLUE.

Percentages vary but ask someone what their favorite color is. Chances are good they will say blue. In fact, Google  ‘most popular color in the world’ . Seriously. I’ll wait.

Uncharacteristically) you get the same, succinct answer: Blue. But with range comes paradox.

It can embody trust and loyalty (true-blue), winning, (blue-ribbon); happiness (SMURFS!), basic and comforting (jeans, blue-plate special). But, also sadness (blue mood), and old-time, even the indecent or risque (blue movie, blue laws).

It can represent the rare-blue-blooded royalty and the common-blue collar. It is calming and soothing, but cold and unappetizing.  Perhaps the Romans are to blame? They imported the dye, but it was the color of working-class clothing; the nobles wore white, black deeper toned red or violet (red + blue).

Its one of the hardest colors to create. It’s chemical makeup is one of the least stable, prone to fading in the sun, and running in the wash. Originally, all colors came from organic sources, and in the beginning, just not a lot or organic sources of blue.

A few plants created the dye, and solid pigment came from crushing semi-precious stones lapis lazuli or azurite. It’s rarity in real form, but ever-present via the sea and sky is probably how it came to represent divinity, and protection from evil spirits.

Flirting with the blues? This Westchester County Decorator counsels her blue-centric clients with two words: “It depends”.

  • How much:  A blue bedspread or area rug, blue draperies or blue painted walls are not the same as blue wall to wall carpet, blue tiles, or blue wallpaper. COROLLARY: Blue as an accent-one wall or a tile inset could be a good start if you’re chromophobic.
  • What: Said bedspread and draperies are not permanent fixtures. Unlike tiles, carpet or wallpaper,  they’re easy and inexpensive to change out
  • With what: Color is synergistic…cobalt blue with sunny yellow is stunning, azure blue and white-refreshing, navy blue with red-stirring, midnight blue with plum and silver is smoky and sexy.
  • Where:  Be aware of natural light. Blue is a cool color, and blue fades. Northern exposure offers no direct light, and will further chill a space out; direct light from any other direction will add balance, but protect against UV rays that will diminish your blues’ impact quickly.
  • Who Uses This Space: Is it a defined, limited or private space like a bathroom, home office or bedroom? Or an open, public space like a LR/DR or Family Room?

The Refreshed Home is your Design Sherpa, counseling : Design is for the people who use the space. The more private a space, the more you should feel freed up to just do what you want!!