From the washed blues of the Mediterranean to the Blue City of Jodhpur, this cooling summery colour gives a sense of gentle times ahead. According to many designers, blue is the hot tip of the year — especially cobalt and indigo.
Even Dulux's 18-strong panel of colour experts, who specialise in colour's uses across cultures and disciplines, have put blue at the top of the charts. Perhaps they were inspired by Picasso, whose Blue Room, painted in 1901 at the start of his so-called Blue Period, goes on show at the Courtauld from February 14 in Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901.
For many, such a blue room may be too bold — but mixing blue with white makes it easier to live with and works in both the most contemporary and the most traditional of interiors. The best way to give a room a crisp accent for spring and summer is to introduce splashes of blue and white in the form of paint, textiles, glass, ceramics or furniture.
1. Dulux Indigo Blue, matt medium base
£14.89 for a litre; 2.5 litres, £24.29; five litres, £42.39 (stockists: dulux.co.uk or call 0844 481 7817)
This rich, deep blue from Dulux, with its reddish hue, is warm and inviting, even in a northern light. It looks good indoors and out and gives a boost to furniture in need of an update. It works well with other blues of a similar intensity, and even better when combined with white, a striking Mexican pink or a bright yellow.
2. Ceramics from Sue Binns at the Conran shop (conranshop.co.uk)
The all-time blue-and-white ceramics queen is Sue Binns, whose handmade, hand-painted striped teapots, jugs, mugs and coffee cups (pictured, £28 from Conran) never go out of style.
3. Modernist rugs from the Aram Store, 110 Drury Lane, WC2 (aram.co.uk; 020 7557 7557)
For real statement pieces consider bold blue-and-white rugs by modernist designers, such as Eileen Gray's Blue Marine, £1,365 (pictured), a play on circles and waves, and Eva Jiřičná's Aram A40 with its blue moon and broad, cloudy sky, £2,895.
4. Sanderson blue-and-white fabrics, and cushions (sanderson-uk.com, or call 0844 543 9500)
Use as a sweep of curtain, as an impact statement on a chair or sofa, or as a cushion. Designs include (pictured) Opal indigo blue wallpaper, £44 for a 10m roll; Ceylon (on chair) £49 a metre, piped in Tresco £36 a metre; with a cushion in Dalarna Indigo, a semigeometric leaf trail printed on linen and embroidered, £56.
5. Sizzling cobalt from Habitat (habitat.co.uk)
Polly Dickens, Habitat's new creative director, picks bright cobalt for this year's accent colour. She uses it on everything from a chunky hand-knitted pouffe for £100, and cushion, £80 (pictured), to a block-printed bright blue and sparkling white Zatti throw, £100. Habitat is a great source of well-priced accessories to brighten up February — and the rest of the year.
6. Ceramics from Contemporary Applied Arts (2 Percy Street, W1; 020 7436 2344; caa.org.uk)
Ceramics are an easy and functional way to introduce a blue-and-white theme. Contemporary Applied Arts (CAA) specialises in handmade designs and has intriguing blue-and-white ceramics by Robert Dawson from £80, and Paul Scott from £115 — both reworking traditional willow pattern for the 21st century — and softer blue pieces (pictured) by Sasha Wadell, from £70.
7. Glassware by Sue King (suekingglass.co.uk; 07710 829396), 202 Cockpit Arts, 18-22 Creekside, Deptford, SE8 (shopping by appointment, prices on application)
For real sparkle try blue-and-white glass. Sue King trained as an interior designer and not only makes beautiful platters and sushi dishes (like this one, below, 10cm by 38cm, £85), but will also design site-specific pieces — from door glass, to windows and stunning decorative panels.