BY ELAINE MARKOUTSAS UNIVERSAL UCLICK
Feeling a little blue? You’re not alone. From the palest chambray to inky midnight, blue is asserting itself in the home and on fashion runways.
Deep, rich shades of indigo (some with notes of violet) and an in-between cobalt, sapphire and navy hue called Monaco are dominant — the latter identified by Pantone as the “it” color for spring. But you’ll spot variants from peacock, Aegean and robin’s egg to whispers of sky and dusk — all of which enable blue to soothe as well as excite. So cool, it’s so hot now.
Monaco blue, in particular, “speaks to the practicality that we are seeing in society,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director for the Pantone Color Institute. “There is still concern out there for the economy.” But blue is elemental, the color of the sky and water, and a staple and part of a traditional palette in many countries. It conjures images of brilliant blue and white houses on Greek islands, beachy cottages, Colonial Williamsburg, tile in Mexico, Turkey or Morocco, Delftware, 19thcentury Flow Blue earthenware, Chinese or English porcelains, vintage Japanese kimonos. And, of course, the ubiquitous blue jeans keep it ever present.
A favorite of many around the globe, blue never gets tired, especially when the shade is tweaked or refreshed in pattern. But the deeper shades such as indigo are being inspired by the world market, especially Asia.
With the new blues, from homespun textures to silks smooth as satin to printed linens and velvets, there’s a range from rustic to elegant.
While solid blues in different shades and designs can be effectively combined, the layering of patterns is especially popular in tabletops.
The kind of statement you make with blue depends on how much you use, and whether it’s background, as in paint or covering for walls or ceiling, or grounding the space with an area rug. One of these, says Boyd, would become a more prominent design element, as would a large sofa. “Lamps, pillows and other accessories will be more subtle.”
Is blue the new you?
Anyone who wears blue jeans can attest to their gowith-everything versatility. So particular shades of blue really can act as neutrals, as some designers attest. You may already be a true blue fan. But even if blue isn’t a part of your home’s “wardrobe,” you might consider some touches.
Depending on the shade you choose, blue can be edgy or calming. You can add high-voltage electricity to a neutral scheme or a relaxed vibe that’s also elegant. A simple addition like a bold blue framed mirror can create surprising energy, commanding attention in a foyer. You might add a floor runner in blue and white — even weatherproof outdoor rugs are available in this palette.
Introduce a little blue into the kitchen with enameled cookware, or on a smaller scale try a spatula or whisk in marine blue. Add a blue plate special to your table. You might try a new service for four, or simply opt for salad or dessert plates in a perky pattern, modern floral or geometric. Pillows easily change up looks, and you’ll have plenty of choices from nuanced solids to patterns. Paint the interior of a white bookshelf in a marine blue for richness or create your own lacquered look on the walls of a powder room.
Courtesy of Sheridan Press SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2013