Sing the blues to washout summer

If there’s one thing we’re craving this summer it must be a long spell of blue skies.

Tuesday, 14th August 2012, 10:57 am

But just because our climate’s not co-operating it doesn’t mean you can’t capture the atmosphere of sunny climes at home by bringing on the blues.

Pairing these with fresh white will instantly evoke the optimistic feeling of bright horizons, glittering seas and cool pools - in short, a getaway Mediterranean style.

“This look has a relaxed, timeless appeal and is just as at home in contemporary or traditional interiors,” says Caroline Gow at Fired Earth.

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“It’s also a style which works equally well on a large or small scale, so you can use it for a dramatic feature in a bold blue pattern, or just a small feature to add an uplifting splash of colour.”

Dipping into a blue palette can be daunting as there’s so much to choose from; whether it’s the intense, saturated blues found in the Mediterranean or the inky, sultry midnight blues of foreign skies.

Whatever you pick, it’s a magical formula because all the blue shades complement one another, making it one of the easiest and most restful decorative schemes to live with.

So instead of packing a bag and going in search of the sun, treat your rooms to some Mediterranean magic.

At its simplest, blue and white living is seen in homes where rough-cast walls are colour-washed with chalky blues or whites, and painted woodwork complements the effect.

While tongue and groove panel walls and bare boards will conjure a similar rustic mood, there’s no need to abandon the blues if your taste is more sophisticated.

“The trend for decorating with indigo blues continues and there are many interpretations. Teamed with ikats and embroideries, the look becomes more ethnic and rich, while bold blue works beautifully with crisp white curtains and accents of blue around the room,” says Jo Eaton, creative projects co-ordinator at Sanderson.

“Black painted or wenge furniture with a modern or Asian feel balances the strong blue. Equally wood or natural flooring like sisal can soften the look and warm a room to stop it feeling too cool.”

The inspiration for a room needn’t come from a colour chart. It can just as easily be inspired by a length of fabric, a piece of china or a work of art.

Use this as a starting point and then build up the scheme around it, whether it’s a tiled splashback in a kitchen, a piece of furniture or a striking accessory.

Don’t assume you can’t introduce other colours. A brilliant burnt orange or yellow will add the vibrancy characteristic of a Mediterranean setting, as will soft pinks, creamy greys and brown.

Ceramics, glass and metalware are often on display in Mediterranean homes. Even after their usefulness is over, they’re used for decorative effect.

Collections can be displayed on dressers or shelves, individual plates hung on walls, and jugs or containers filled with fresh flowers to convey a fresh summer feel.

Don’t forget home fragrance, an essential finishing detail.

“For a touch of sunshine and easy summer living, no matter what the weather, choose scents of tropical and citrus fruits which are zingy and reminiscent of far-away holiday destinations,” says Lisa Hipgrave, director of the International Fragrance Association.

“With the scent of pineapple, coconut, mango, papaya, kiwi, paw paw and grapefruit wafting around your home, you only have to close your eyes to imagine that you are in a sun-kissed paradise indoors, no matter what the British weather.”