Why You Should Beautify Your Home With Blue
Learn how to inspire your interiors with the calming spirit of the color blue. From indigo to ultramarine, blue is a universal color that has been used throughout the ages to create elegance, timeless beauty, and the illusion of airy, open spaces.
Blue is the world’s most popular color for good reason. No matter which country you’re from, you likely have a strong inclination towards the color blue. It is all around us, from the wide expanse of the sky to the water that covers 71% of the Earth.
Unsurprisingly, blue is the color that is the most strongly associated with a sense of serenity. But, that’s not all. Scientists have recently discovered that blue also stimulates our creative and free thinking processes. Perhaps, this is why the color was famously favored by Fine Artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse among others.
What does the color blue make you feel ?
Blue is considered to be the most peaceful color in the spectrum. It is the color that our eyes perceive when they look at the sky or a body of water. Yet, the color is just an illusion. It is created by the fact that blue light wavelengths are shorter than other colors in the spectrum allowing them to travel faster as they enter the atmosphere and scatter through the gasses that surround our planet.
This duality—the fact that it is the color that seems to surround us the most, yet, in reality doesn’t—is also part of what has fascinated humans for centuries.
The meaning of the color blue varies depending on the location. In Greece it is thought to ward off evil and bad luck. In Europe, the color represents nobility. Most Western countries consider blue to be a masculine color while in China it is feminine. Blue stands for hope and heritage craftsmanship in Vietnam.
For Hindus, dark blue represents the sacred color of Krishna, the God of compassion. In India, there’s a popular children’s cartoon depicting Krishna as a baby; which children love to emulate by painting their faces blue.
“I’m always attracted to the color blue when I travel. I’ve photographed turquoise classic cars in Cuba and waters so blue that they seem unreal in Malaysia. I’ve found beautiful backgrounds in all shades of blue in places throughout the world. My most cherished “blue moment” was when I watched the Hmong ethnic group make natural indigo dye in Northern Vietnam. Now, I look at this color in a different way. It is the color of something truly precious – heritage.” – Réhahn
A brief history of the color blue
Despite the fact that real blue occurs relatively rarely in nature, it was the first artificial pigment ever made. Lapis-lazuli, a semi-precious stone, was revered by the Ancient Egyptians, yet was difficult to find. The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen was inlaid with Lapis. As were Cleopatra’s headdresses. The stone was believed to stimulate knowledge and intuition, creation and fertility.
The stone was so rare that it quickly came to stand for wealth. The Egyptians managed to replicate the color with a combination of copper, silica, lime and an alkali. This “Egyptian Blue” can be found on ancient artifacts from jewelry to artwork to garments.
Interestingly, the Egyptians were one of the few ancient civilizations that had a word for the color blue. According to some studies, most ancient languages (Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew etc.) never mentioned blue, leading scientists to hypothesize that perhaps they didn’t see the color at all.
Or they perceived it in much the same way we might sense the difference between light and dark, shadow and sunlight – as a contrast to other tones rather than a unique color.
The color blue in Fine Art
“From a coat of peeling blue paint on a background wall to the sapphire blue used to transform Indian children into mini Krishna gods, the color blue often has a starring role in my photographs.” – Réhahn
The anonymity of blue didn’t last for very long. By the 6th century A.D., people were able to grind lapis lazuli into a very expensive powder known as “ultramarine,” which was initially used to tint sacred elements in Buddhist artwork and, later, Christian iconography. It was often used on the garments of the Virgin Mary.
The pigment was so expensive and rare that laws were even passed to ban civilians from wearing the color. It was supposed to be reserved only for the most important religious artwork.
However, by the 1600s, painters were widely using the precious color to add beauty and prestige to their works. Vermeer was especially fond of the color, famously used in his masterpiece The Girl with the Pearl Earring. In fact, his obsession with ultramarine drove his family into debt because he wouldn’t settle for any other pigment.
The Old Guitarist, Pablo Picasso, 1903
The starry night, Van Gogh, 1889
The dual emotional quality of blue – whether standing for hope or sadness – caused certain painters such as Van Gogh and Picasso to become obsessed with the color in their works. These “blue periods” resulted in iconic paintings such as “The Old Guitarist” (Picasso 1904) and “The Starry Night” (Van Gogh 1889), which revolutionized the artworld.
Beyond Fine Art, blue is also an essential element in heritage artforms. Many ethnic groups in Northern Vietnam, such as the Hmong and the Dao, use it to create their traditional textiles that serve to showcase their individual customs and craftsmanship.
Blue inspiration for your interior design
Now that you know the significance behind the color blue in history and Fine Art, you can use it with skill in your own home.
The general rule in design and Fine Art is to use a three color palette (main color 60%, secondary color 30 %, and accent color 10%.) However, blue is one of the few colors that allows us to openly break this rule. Blue’s wide range of tones from Vemeer’s cornflower blue to royal blue to indigo means that the tone rarely becomes overwhelming if properly used.
It can be used to paint an entire room, cover a couch or to open up a space with tranquil artwork. Mix it with almost any other color to create a variety of styles from worldly sophistication to a light and youthful ambience.
Use blue to add the illusion of more space
The human eye perceives the color blue to be further away than other colors. Like the horizon line where the sea meets the sky or the deep blue of dusk just at the moment that the first stars begin to appear in the space above us, blue is expansive.
Large format landscapes can draw the viewer’s eye beyond the wall and into the blue background of the artwork, widening your space.
This illusion works equally well with dark or light blues. Ideally, pair your blue with white to add to the feeling of space.
Use blue to add serenity to your home
Humans mainly associate the color blue with positive connotations. From peace to hope, openness to air, blue brings with it a feeling of safety and tranquility.
According to the Chinese art of feng shui, when you add blue to your space, you’re adding the energy of the water element. If you can imagine the way that water flows seamlessly around stones, this is the calm and confidence that blue will bestow to your home. This zen effect works equally well in an office, a bedroom or a living space.
To avoid the cold or melancholy effect that is sometimes associated with blue, use highlights of yellow or red to uplift the space.
Even if you prefer a neutral interior decor, touches of blue in your Fine Art can be used to add timeless elegance to your space.
Check out our online store to buy blue toned photographs, to bring the beauty of blue to your home.
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Discover more of our photographs featuring the color Blue.
Think about how each one makes you feel. Which one matches your personality? Which one will renew your home with its sunny charm or regal depth?