Nature's Shade: Blue

By Karen Parr-Moody


Mother Nature is a talented decorator, and when it comes to the color blue, she has splashed about scads of shades from which to draw inspiration. There's the seafoam of the ocean, the pale blue of the sky, the vivid blue of the sea, and, perhaps most unexpectedly, the stylish robin's egg blue from an otherwise unassuming red-and-brown bird. Mixing this swath of watery blues with other natural tones imbues a feeling of comfort, making one's decor at one with the great outdoors.


Robin's egg blue, that tone of tiny eggs cradled in a humble nest, has risen to the heights of fashion. Tiffany & Co., the eminent jewelry, is best known for its iconic jewelry boxes that incorporate the tone. No wonder Holly Golightly made so many jaunts to the Tiffany's window; perhaps she was getting decorating inspiration? And in recent years Martha Stewart has branded her empire with the soothing shade. 


Robin's egg blue can be a cheery color, but it can also be elegant; thus, it has great versatility, depending on the setting. In the photo, right, this most delicate of hues blends in with the gilded accents of a scalloped portrait plate to create an elegance perfect for the color ($70; Booth B-230). During the 1800s, many Austrian, Bavarian, German and French firms produced both hand painted and transfer portraits on porcelain. This particular plate has a transfer print of a goddess and a cupid in its center. 




The icy tone of robin's egg blue can impart serenity to a room, which lends itself to an office, where one should presumably feel contemplative and calm. The painted metal desk and chair, left, could be used in a crisp white room for a classic and clean look, which is what the sleek lines of the furniture suggest. What a springtime look it would be when contrasted with colors that give it a bit of energy. Such tones would include cherry red or deep orange. A touch of robin's egg blue paired with blond wood offers a minimalist, modern feel, so this desk would work well with such materials.








The robin's egg blue of this drop-leaf desk, right, works in a slightly different manner, since the desk is more traditional than the metal one above, and would lend itself to a cozier color palette. From a warm wheat color to a deep chocolate, such shades would work effortlessly with the robin's egg blue of this desk and allow its color to pop against them. The overall effect would be a calm balance in color. Linen drapes in the color of wheat or brown, just touching the floor, would add a little luxury, while billowing white drapes would lighten the look. A jute rug, banded in chocolate brown, would also fit into the overall scheme. 






The blue of the sky seems channeled into this oval clock ($119; Booth B-103B). Reading "Antiquite de Paris 1887" in Roman numerals, the clock looks just like a French antique. It is made of rustic timber and metal, with an distressed finish and a wash of blue paint encircling it. This clock would be fabulous in a room with oversized, statement-making furniture. 






Due to its calming influence, blue is a lovely color to sprinkle throughout a home to summon a sense of peace. Since it can also seem formal, it lends itself well to living rooms, dining rooms, or any period room décor. Then there are the classic color schemes that are built around blue, such as bright white, blue and yellow, or robin’s egg blue with chocolate brown. No matter what the combination, the color blue is a chilled-out anecdote to the hectic lives of modernity. 

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