« Great Bedroom Colors | Main | COLOR LIFE--A Totally New Way to Explore Color »

August 08, 2011

Finding the Best Blues and Purples

Jane Dagmi


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about decorating with blue.  Inspired by a recent and joyful overdose of hydrangea plants along the California coast, I am loving many shades of blue represented in this bountiful flower from fresh French blue to a mellow heather hue and onto a vivacious violet.  Riding a hydrangea blue high, I found a few beautiful rooms whose palettes reflect my state of mind.


A Patriotic Palette in Raspberry, Cream and Cornflower


I always enjoy a stylish spin on the American patriotic palette, and that's why I went gaga for this open and airy non-kitschy gracious living room designed by Little Rock maverick Tobi Fairley.  While the furnishings and architecture reflect strong Anglo-American roots, the traditional red, white, and blue is tweaked.  Updated shades of blue are brilliant and serene and go splendidly with a more berry-ish red and creamy white.  Aptly named, Heaven on Earth 1661, seems to raise the room's ceiling, yet the impressive Chippendale lantern, a piece in Tobi's namesake home collection, keeps the space intimate and centered. Underfoot, black adds graphic goodness and a bit of punch.


Walls 926 Seashell, Trim Ivory White 925, Klismos chair San Francisco Bay 802
photos: TobiFairley.com

Heaven on Earth 1661, Raspberry Truffle 2080-10, Seashell 926, Ivory White 925, San Francisco Bay 802


Understated Chic with Faded Lavendar Blue


While purple is always high on a child's list of favorite colors, this hue in its diluted and grayed state is decidedly mature.  Pale smoky lavender blue, such as Organdy 1248, is seductive in a bedroom and modestly posh everywhere else.  Emulating the look of dried hydrangea, the faded, chalky cooled down version of a fairy tale hue feels timeless and real.  Its amethyst vibe pairs well with elegant servings of silver, gold, and white.  Mixing in weightier metals and less precious textures such as rough hewn wood and natural fibers, brings this refined ethereal shade back down to earth, and makes it a tad more man-friendly.


photos: hydrangea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehomebird/4318565779/
bedroom: Decorpad, living room: fourwallsandaroof.com

Dreamy Cloud 2117-70, Hearthstone 1601, Dunmore Cream HC-29, Sterling 1591, Vanilla Ice Cream OC-90


La Vida Violet


Violet feels indulgent, spirited, and mostly feminine.  It is not recommended for decorating lightweights since it never goes unnoticed.  Several sophisticated steps up from little-girl pink, violet is a confident choice for a private or personal space such as a dressing room or study.  I could see it being successful in a dining room too.  Its innate redness gives it an intense, warm personality.  Too much for some, violet's vibrancy is easily tamed with white or a strong, solid neutral--such as chocolate or black.  Wildcard accents in tangerine, aqua, or olive green add a bohemian flair.


photos: hydrangea: Jane Dagmi
bottom (left to right): Steven Gambrel, Coco & Kelley, Apartment Therapy

Cranberry Ice 1362, Barrista AF-175, Marscapone AF-20, Electric Orange 2015-10

End Note: I know that I share this earth with many other hydrangea admirers, and so I wanted to make you all aware of the passionate efforts of the late Ms. Penny McHenry who became first enamored with a blue hydrangea bloom back in 1975.  From there, she spent many years learning about the various hydrangea species and cultivating them in her Atlanta garden.  In 1994, she founded The American Hydrangea Society.


photo: The American Hydrangea Society


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Finding the Best Blues and Purples:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I know you are a photographer and wonder if hydrangeas also inspire you visually.

It makes me happy that you love this blog. I hope you love my next one too! :)

I will definitely check out your up-cycled bags.

Hyacinth, hydrangea, lilac, lavender - all these fabulous blues are named after flowers that naturally know how to create beauty.

And no, i did not know that bit of architectural superstition. Thanks for enlightening me...and for commenting.

I have many Cheryls in my world but with those simple words "Love it" -- i do believe I know exactly which Cheryl you are. And of all the beautiful flowers in the world, the hydrangea will always remind me of you. Thanks for checking in and commenting.

Very nicely written Jane! As always, so poetic...

Loving your blog!!! I also am an Interior Designer as well as a "UPCYCLED" Handbag Designer!! Check out my creations at fb vintage spiderwear!

One of my favourite colours is hyacinth blue, seen in all it's minute colour variations in this gorgeous post, thanks Jane! Did you know old timers painted window frames blue to keep out evil spirits...

love it!

The comments to this entry are closed.