Take a look at this gallery of cool blue rooms to find color inspiration for your home.
"Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones...It will always stay blue," wrote Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy. Why limit yourself to one shade on the balusters when you can unleash your creativity and enjoy eight at once?
Using little test pots of paint, we coated the uprights in twos, pairing them off on adjacent steps and graduating the tone from light to dark to create an ombre effect all the way up the banister. So easy to do, such a striking effect.
Traditional porcelain with a Chinese motif provides a charming reference point for this crisp breakfast room. The mesh weave on the light, modern chairs, which are painted in two shades of blue (in an easy-to-clean acrylic semigloss), echoes.
and updates the fishnet-pattern rims on the china. On the vintage bench, a cushion upholstered in a graceful floral is coated in Tyvek for effortless wipe-downs. Accent pieces and accessories in soft, rich blues -- napkins, glassware, a throw, the art on the walls -- play up the theme, while the glossy white walls, table, and floor give the setting a gleaming stage.
Choosing the right blue is all about creating a mood. Here, washes of light sky blue on the walls and lots of white evoke the tranquillity of a tropical breeze. A pale aqua on the underside of the shelves extends the theme for anyone who's in the tub. Add another tropical touch by using radiator-grill panels on the walls and as shutters to provide privacy without sacrificing light. Coordinated accessories -- a table, glass canisters -- plus items in a contrasting sunny citrus enhance the balmy mood.
By picking blues that are more neutral than primary, you can get away with a lot -- in this case, seven patterns and an eclectic grouping of furnishings and accessories in one living room. The space oozes comfort because the blues have undertones of gray or beige that allow the patterns to happily mingle. And they make it easy to add playful pieces such as an exuberant Victorian mirror framed in steel blue.
Using patterns of different scale also helps hues coexist. A custom carpet, made of square rug tiles cut on the diagonal and arranged randomly, reads like an abstracted quilt. Its bold shapes add interest without overpowering the room's other prints.
The gentle progression of color in ombre suggests the transition from wakefulness to slumber, especially in soothing shades of blue. The headboard slipcover and matching pillowcases are shrouded in sky-blue linen that's dyed a deeper, sea-inspired tone, embodying the spare beauty of a monochromatic palette.
Tin containers have been manufactured in a very cool color of Wedgwood jasperware. For display on a neoclassic sideboard, we've chosen grays, blues, and greens. Symmetrically arranged with eighteenth-century formality, stacks of the circular "Wedgwood" tins can be used for storage. On the wall, a row of lids is displayed like a collection of antique plates or prints.
In a rustic family room, built-in bookcases hold art books, children's books, and novels -- a whole family's worth of interests. To maximize storage, a 4-inch-high, 5-inch-deep wooden step was built; the shelf holds two rows of books, and all are visible. The tilted top shelves display covers; the molding lip supporting the books matches molding on the middle shelf. The inside of shelves can be boldly painted or wallpapered; only a fraction of color is seen. Ours are lined in colonial-blue book cloth, found in bookbinding supply stores.
The second-floor landing of this home features a large baroque cabinet from Sweden, which retains its original paint.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Paint Color in Love-In-A-Mist at the Home Depot.
This guest bedroom, which overlooks Central Park, is covered in a charming butterfly-and-bird-patterned wallpaper. The coverlet matches the pale-blue ceiling, and the bed skirt was copied from a decorative template published in the September 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
A pair of clamshell pendants started out as table lamps, but wires were snaked through the bases and the pendants were hung upside-down. The paint in this living room was also customized, adding a water-based polyurethane top coat to get a mirrorlike finish that reflects the ocean.
This bedroom illustrates how blue can be used in a fresh, clean, American way, mixed with white linens and light woods to evoke breeze-blown New England seaside cottages. An antique spool bed painted white and laid with a pure white spread has blue floral pillow shams. Behind the bed, a blue botanical cyanotype is framed in white, suspended on a medium blue ribbon. The ceiling is painted sky blue for a feeling of being up in the clouds.
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