When I begin work with a client, I ask which colors they have in mind for their decorating project. Often the response is, “Uh,” followed by a hopeful glance toward their partner, as if their significant other might know how to answer the question. In the end, I’ve found that the easiest place to start is to pull a variety of color swatches and show how to use each color in a room. This allows homeowners to discover which colors they like and, almost as important, which colors they dislike.
Now, I’m bringing this process to you. Each month I’ll introduce a popular color and explain how to use the color in your home. This month: Spa blue, that cool blue color that brings to mind clear ocean waters and white sand beaches.
What is Spa Blue
If you ask ten people to show you what spa blue looks like, you will get ten different colors. Unfortunately, every single one of the ten colors will probably be correct. The loose definition of spa blue is any watery blue, usually with grey undertones.
How to Select the Right Spa Blue for You
Never start your decorating project by selecting the paint first. While there are thousands of paint colors available, there are only a handful of fabric dyes in use. Chances are the spa blue color you paint your walls will be impossible to find in upholstery fabric. Instead, start with the fabrics first and work from there. Try to find a fabric that has several colors in it, such as the fabric shown here. Once you find a fabric you love, the rest of the project will fall into place.
Colors to Coordinate with Spa Blue
Pair spa blue with white, yellow and tan. Together these colors evoke images of the ocean, though you do not need to live near the ocean to enjoy spa blue. I have used spa blue many times in Ohio, where the winters are long and gray. These light colors are the perfect way to brighten up cold January days.
For the most dramatic look, go for contrast. If your walls are light, use darker furniture. Dark to light and light to dark, this contrast gives the room a professional finished look.
With contrast in mind, pair the white, yellow, tan and spa blue with darker colors to ground the room. Add a warm brown leather recliner or cocktail ottoman. Dark finished wood furniture will also bring the whole design out of the clouds and back to earth as shown here.
As for metal finishes found on accent tables or cabinet hardware, almost any color will work. Bronze and brass are growing in popularity, though chrome will never go out of style. The only metal colors to avoid mixing with spa blue would be copper and anything in the rust family.
Where to Use Spa Blue
Spa blue has long been a popular choice for bathrooms. However, when planning something as permanent as a bathroom I always design for the distant future. For many homeowners, bathroom remodels are rare, with most occurring 15 to 20 years apart. With that in mind, I use neutral colors on the permanent finishes such as granite, cabinets and tile. You can easily change paint, shower curtains, window treatments, even light fixtures and faucets, to keep the look fresh without spending a fortune. Incorporate spa blue into the design plan using easily changed finishes.
My advice for baths holds true for kitchens as well. Try to keep the permanent fixtures in neutral colors, while adding the spa blue accent color in easily changed finishes. Pair spa blue with white cabinets, Cararra marble or soapstone counters. Use dark-stained chairs and barstools with tan or white upholstery. Again, contrast is king. Dark counters and floors should offset light cabinets. Contrast dark furniture with light upholstery.
Living and Dining Rooms
Spa blue gives an air of formality to any room, making this color combination perfect for formal living and dining rooms. Really show off just how fun and feminine this color can be with luxurious white sofas, blue walls and dark sumptuous leather accent pieces. Incorporate spa blue into your china, serving dishes and table linens for the dining room.
Spa blue can also be dressed down for less formal rooms. Instead of using spa blue, yellow or white on the sofa, opt for dark leather. The dark leather not only dresses down the color combination, but also is excellent for families with young children, who may be constantly wiping up spills. Save the lighter colors for the walls, pillows and artwork.
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