Return of the Blues

Return of the Blues
Return of the Blues

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Return of the Blues!

There’s no easier hue to work with than blue, in all its warmer and cooler tones.  You may have noticed more blues in advertising and features in home decor magazines in the past year. From accessories to upholstery to throw pillows, blue was a huge color in 2013, and that trend will continue through 2014.  Worldwide, about half the population claims blue for their favorite color.  Research shows that most Americans prefer blue eyes, although only a sixth of the population was born with them.   Blue sometimes evokes qualities of integrity, ability, holiness, and steadfastness. It can also induce responses of calmness and relaxation, such as when one visualized the sea and blue sky.

True Blue
When you lighten red, it becomes pink.  When you darken yellow, it becomes brown.  Whether darkened into navy blue, or lightened into powder blue, this hue remains true unto itself. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to utilize blue in your décor if you really don’t care for the hue. 
As pure color, blue is spirited, attention-grabbing, and courageous.  When you blend in white, you soften the hue, cool it down and turn it toward a pastel version of itself, otherwise known as a tint.  The tint of blue is young-at-heart, subtle, and gentle.  If you add black to it, you deepen and darken the color, which is known as a shade.  Shades tend to be opulent, enigmatic, and sophisticated.  A tone is composed of a blue with added grey, or a combo of white and black.  Tones tend to be more neutral, calming and soothing.

Warm Blues
Famously calming and peaceful, blue can have very different effects on a room depending on its temperature. Warm blues, like denim, ocean blue, or azalea blue, contain hints of red. They have a tendency to advance when compared to their cooler version, (or come toward you,) so they help make a room feel cozier. Designers often like warm blues in social spaces, like the living room, the kitchen, or the dining room.

Traditional Home Magazine

Traditional Home Magazine
Coastal Living Magazine

Cococozy Kitchen
Tina Giovan, Designer

Cool Blues
Cobalt, aqua, and ice blue, have a bit of yellow in them and make them tend to recede, which helps a small space look bigger. Cool blues encourage calmness (for a bedroom) and focus (for an office.) Sometimes cool blues can go a little further and be cold. In a bathroom, where you may want a clean look, that can be a good thing.

Traditional Home Magazine

House Beautiful Magazine

Here's an old version blue- yuck!

Gorgeous true blue- so clean!

Feng Shui
Blue is the color of knowledge and wisdom in feng shui.  While it can be seen as a stand-alone quality that is important in life, it has strong influences on almost every other gua/area, whether it’s family relations, intelligence to make good decisions about our children, our financial decisions, making good marital choices, creating good business partnerships, building wise relationships with helpful people, intelligent career choices, and even choices that promote our health.

Color Combinations
Conjuring up images of the sea and sky with a few perfect clouds, a blue-and-white palette brings comfort and style that’s cool, calm, and collected. Using various tints, tones and shades of blue can create a conservative and/or sophisticated look.  Using blue with its complement orange can create an eye-popping excitement or toned down with rust, can create a traditional appeal.  Mix the color green with blue for a natural feeling of a lakeside or meadow.
Traditional Home Magazine

Roger Davies, Designer

Source: My Home Ideas

Source: Sunnyside Up

Rust with greyed blue- rich!

In conclusion:
My inspiration for this entry was a recent article in the New York Times that you should take time to read if you have another few minutes.  

In upcoming entries, I’m going to point out some other new trends occurring in the design world, whether it comes from fashion, technology, or another source.  What comments, queries, or ideas has this entry inspired in you?  I’d love to receive your photos of blues in your decor.   Check out my website at if you need help with your space.  I’d love to help, and I always have time for my readers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Trending: Silver and Gold Accessories

We have all loved gold and silver combinations in our jewelry, in wedding decorations, and Christmas decor for many years.  

The trend in the last few years is to combine silver and gold in our décor.  You can utilize brass, copper, pewter, chrome, stainless with them if you want to really diversify.  This is a trend that been here for a while, but I can assure you that we won’t move into 2015 and find you tossing either of these combinations into the box of Goodwill donations.


This trend works with Modern décor.

Cuckoo for Design from Elle Decor

Source: HGTV

This trend works with Hollywood Regency style.

Source: House Beautiful

This trend works with Transitional décor.

Source: Arcadia Homes

Source: Elle Decor

This trend works with Traditional décor.

Junior League of Boston Home Show

Source: Chic Gallery

Keep in mind that you again, have to repeat the finish on several items throughout a room if you don’t want it to look accidental.  Combine the two (or more) finishes in several vignettes within a room to have the look feel truly intentional.  It's rich, it's classy, and really quietly elegant no matter what your individual leanings are in a sense of style. 

In conclusion:

In upcoming entries, I’m going to point out some other new trends occurring in the design world, whether it comes from fashion, technology, or another source.  
What comments, queries, or ideas has this inspired in you?  I’d love to receive your photos of some metallic(s) in your decor.   Check out my website at if you need help with your space.  I’d love to help, and I always have time for my readers.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Creating Balance in Your Designs

Does your space lack accessories because you're having difficulty finding a balance within your home?  Too many chotchkies or not enough?  Read on... learn more about balance.

Balance in a given space is equilibrium, or the arrangement of objects physically or visually to reach a state of stability.  We all need balance in our lives, and it allows our actions and movement to flow confidently from within.  We naturally seek balance in our interiors because of this desired state of being.  There are three basic types of equilibrium or balance we can achieve in our spaces: 1.) symmetrical (or formal) balance, 2.) asymmetrical (or informal) balance, and 3.) radial balance.

Symmetrical balance…

…is also known a bi-symmetrical, formal or passive balance.  It creates a mirror image through the placement of items that are exactly (or proportionally) the same on both sides of a central point.  

Klausner, Designer

It can be as simple as placing two floral arrangements on either side of a painting above a mantel, or two identical nightstands holding matching table lamps on either side of a bed.  Symmetrical balance implies moderation, sophistication, organization, and formality.  

Kristie Barnett, Designer


Because formal balance is predictable, it infuses a feeling of stability and durability to interior design.  There’s a sense of history, as it was used from the Greeks and Romans through the Renaissance, Baroque and subsequent periods.  Although often easier to achieve, it is usually more challenging to create a visually interesting room using this type of balance.

 Asymmetrical balance…

…is also known as informal, active, or optical balance.  It can be achieved in two ways:

    1.   Dissimilar objects can be placed at varying distances from the center point.
    2.   Objects of similar visual weight and form may be balanced at equal distance from an imaginary central dividing line.


The difficulty occurs when one must find items that are harmonious yet diverse enough to be interesting, and then arrange them to achieve a sense of equilibrium.  This informal balance demands patience and sensitivity, characteristics which aren’t abundantly found in everyone.  Asymmetrical balance can require a great deal more thought on the part of the designer, but it appears symmetrically balanced and effortless from first glance.  In a bedroom, one might use a nightstand and table lamp on one side of the bed, and a floor lamp and painting or mirror hanging on the wall on the other.  The term “active” is used because it requires a keen trial and error approach in order to get it just right.  The term “optical” results from one judging the artist composition of the room’s contents with the eye.  Informal balance does not have a set of rules, so it can be elusive or even mysterious.  It is taken from Asian cultures’ observations of nature and its sense of Yin and Yang.






Radial balance…

…is a state of equilibrium that is based on the circle.  It is seen in chairs surrounding a round table, circular furniture arrangements or on the face of a clock.  Unless you have a round bed, it is difficult to arrange pieces radially in a bedroom.  However, in a general sense, you can place furniture around the bed radially and evenly throughout a square (or nearly square) room.  A spiral staircase can create a somewhat different type of radial balance within a room, as can the spokes of a wheel, or pie shaped wedges of a round tabletop on a pedestal base.


So, what are your Balance preferences?  I’d love to hear from you on this subject! What questions do you have related to this or other Elements of Design?  I’d love to receive your photos of a room that feels (or never feels) just right.   Check out my other blog on bedrooms if that's your next project entitled, Feng Shui in Your Bedroom published on May 5, 2012, or my website at if you need help with your space.  I always have time for my readers.