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Monday, February 2, 2009
When I was a child, my British mother used to say ''Blue and green, only on the Queen'. I thought about this expression last week, when debating whether to hang my collection of early 1900s flow blue china on a green wall in my kitchen. Would it look horrible? Are blue and green not meant to be together? I tried to google the expression, and there was not a single match. I began to suspect that I was remembering the expression incorrectly. I emailed my aunt in Scotland, and she clarified that the expression is "Blue and Green should not be seen without a colour in between", and this saying relates to clothes. (She also noted that it is one of those old fashioned sayings that is completely disregarded now). I wonder what this expression means? I suppose it means that blue and green need to have another color in the mix in order to work together.
In the meantime, I have now started to notice pictures of blue and green used together all over the place. Blue and green are two of my favorite colors; in fact, in my house, the downstairs is predominantly green, and the upstairs is predominantly blue. This is a color scheme I have stuck to for many years, and even when I move I will continue with these colors. I think this is why Swedish and French design is so appealing to me, because soft and muted versions of these colors are used so frequently. However, I must admit that I usually do not mix the two.
One of my favorite posts of 2007 was about the use of turquoise in a room. I saved this picture because I loved the use of turquoise and green. Look at the how the colors in the Marimekko framed fabric are repeated in the half green, half blue jar. How does this measure up to the 'blue and green' saying? The painting is pretty much all blue and green, but the white of the buffet and the walls helps balance it out.
A picture of designer Barbara Barry. I love much of what she does because her signature colors are blue and green. The main reason I love this picture, though, is the beautiful painting in the background. My two absolute favorites colors, in one place - and no color in between! And yet, it is the main pop of color in this scene (other than Barry's skirt). Do you notice how the skirt picks up the blue, and the stripe in the fabric picks up the green? I found this picture from the amazing color and design blog Colour Me Happy. If you have not yet visited this blog, you are in for a treat. The author is a designer and a color expert, and her posts are wonderful and informative about both subjects.
This room is iconic in the design blog world. I wonder what came first in this room? I suspect it was the fabric on the chair. She used the green on the walls, and the blue in the accents. The contemporary art and the window shade offer a little relief from the predominant green. but I must admit that this is not my favorite picture of a dining room. I think it is the predominant color of the green on the walls, or maybe it is the shade of the green. Interior design by Sheila Bridges.
Same house, and look what happens outside the room: the blue is carried out onto the walls. It makes the rooms flow well and connect to each other, don't you think? Although the dining room was not my favorite, I love this little scene of a chair with an interesting wall art collection above it.
Two more images from Colour Me Happy (Elle Decor, interiors by Jamie Drake). She did an amazing post on green last month, which analyzed Drake's design from a color perspective. My favorite room was the dining room - I love the chairs (which I suspect are the Dessin Fourir Gibbons chair) and the blue glasses and vase on the table. The blue against the green really pops. The abstract painting also has the vivid blues and greens. I would not say that the green dominates this room, and the blue is used as an accent along with white and cream.
Here is a nice scheme with blue and green, and white used in between. In fact, the white is the main color, with the blue and gren as the accents. I love the painting above the bed.
In a dining room designed by one of my favorite designers, Liz Williams (Liz, email me when you get a website - I will even develop it for you!!!), an olive green settee is used with robin egg blue pillows and walls. Again, the prints seem to provide the color in between, the contrast and relief to the blue and green.
This is one of my favorite pictures, from the store Max & Company in Atlanta (owned by the designer Phoebe Howard). I love this table arrangement. The indigo blue of the painting is almost a purple, and it contrasts beautifully with the green vases, the yellow-green painting, and the intaglios mounted on green. The white of the walls and the upholstery balances out the color scheme.
Although I tend to stick to either blue OR green in my own decor, I love paintings that combine the two. This is a painting by Dusty Griffith, who is represented by the Lowe Gallery.
A painting by New Orleans artist Amanda Talley combines blue and green beautifully, but the white and gray help balance it out. I love this painting, not only because of the style but because of the beautiful colors.
One of my favorite bedroom scenes, I still get emailed about this picture from a post I created in 2007. The designer is James Michael Howard, and he combines blue and yellow and green to great effect - and again, the white (of the blanket cover) helps balance it out.
In a picture from Country Living, the blue of the walls of the pantry in combination with the green of the garland struck me as quite beautiful. (white predominates, though).
Michael Smith has a fondness for combining blue and green in this room (and again, the light colors, in this case cream, balance it out).
Favorite blogger Cote de Texas is the one who convinced me that it is indeed acceptable to combine a green wall with blue and white china - as seen in her own bedroom. Her walls are a light, soft green, and she has blue and white Chinese ginger jar lamps on her bedside table. However, again there is a balance with the light color of the pillows and bed cover.
Cote de Texas sent me this picture to prove that blue and green do indeed work together, but she admits to not liking this particular combination of blue and green (the curtains being a bit too olive green for her).
The recent cover of Traditional Home had a room that combined green and blue quite beautifully. The teal of the walls has a lot of both green andblue in it, so the accent of turquoise vases works well. The light rug balances it out. Interior design by Suzanne Kasler.
Another iconic picture of the blog world, from Domino magazine. The green in this room is quite olive, and is combined with a lovely blue on the walls (and on the trim of the curtains). This is definitely not a color combination that I would ever think of or even be so bold to use (this seems to be a popular color combination among bold designers). There are some other colors used in this scheme too - brown and yellow - which helps balance the room out.
In a room designed by New Orleans decorator Heidi Friedler, green is the star of the room, but there are definite blue accents in the pillow and the art. The white of the walls is a good contrast and relief to all of the green.
So, does this post prove or disprove the old British saying 'blue and green should not be seen without a colour in between'? Just like in fashion, I think it is a matter of personal taste. My personal taste is to throw a color in between - preferably white or cream, but I think it depends on the tones of the blues and the greens being used.
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