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Over the coming months, interiors journalist and author Kate Watson-Smyth will be exploring color in all its shades. What each hue means, why we react to it, how to choose the right one for the right room and when that might start to affect what happens in there. What you are about to discover may surprise you…

Blue is the world’s favorite color.

Survey after survey, this restful shade comes out on top. And, if that wasn’t enough, the Dulux paint company, which sells in 80 countries around the globe, announced recently that a soft grayish-blue is set to be the color of the year in 2017.

This prediction is determined by an international panel of experts who look at social trends, economic forecasts, fashion and food to see what direction the world is heading in.

And next year the color that sums all that up is blue.

‘The Victorians thought that blue kept flies away so they often painted their kitchens in it.’

Pantone has also announced a strong cobalt blue as one of their colors of 2017, so it doesn’t matter which of the many variations of this shade you prefer, there’s going to be a lot of it about.

The Victorians thought that blue kept flies away so they often painted their kitchens in it. Other research, since slightly debunked but worth a go if you’re desperate, found that serving food on a blue plate makes one eat less.

Blue has also become the default color of communication. Color theory says it should be yellow but if you look at the logos of both Facebook and Twitter, it would seem that blue and white is the way forward.

In its darker form—navy—blue has long been a fashion favorite. And there is barely a house in the Hamptons that hasn’t made a nautical reference in its decor somewhere with a soft blue-and-white palette.

A deeply practical color, blue denim (so named because it comes from Nimes) has long been associated with uniforms. And not just with hard-wearing jeans, but also with primary schools the world over.

Remember we discovered in our discussion of red that pink was originally regarded as the stronger color and therefore better for boys while dainty blue was all about the girls? That was, until a marketing campaign in the US decided otherwise.

But what about the feelings blue evokes? As with all the colors on the wheel, there is both positivity and negativity.

‘Think of lying on your back staring up at the sky and letting your worries drift away.’

This is a color universally associated with conservatism and a sense of old-fashioned reliability.

Looked at from the other side, blue conveys a sense of authority and trust. It is a color that prefers not to be rushed but to reflect and analyse; there is nothing spontaneous about blue.

But blue is also a shorthand for feeling slightly down in the dumps. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly refers to feeling blue ‘because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all.’

It’s not a deep depression or misery but more a general downcast feeling. After all, songwriters since pop began have referenced this color in their lyrics from ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Blue Velvet’ to ‘True Blue’ and, of course, those famous ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’

On the other hand, blue is a deeply calming color. Think of lying on your back staring up at the sky and letting your worries drift away. Or sitting on a beach and watching the waves wash away your problems.

When it comes to interiors, blue tends to make decorators nervous as it is a color that can appear cold.

While there are many shades that are from the cool end of the spectrum—and should help to prevent heated arguments and to lower blood pressures—it can also be a strong warm color.

Navy blue has been gathering momentum in interiors for the last year. Suddenly pale blue looks slightly old-fashioned—unless it is very gray—and the fashion for dark neutrals is growing. Dark colors on your walls make everything else stand out.

If you are choosing blue, which rooms should you use it in?

Obviously, pale shades with their calming attributes work well in bedrooms. A stronger blue, as the color of one-on-one communication, might encourage a spot of breakfast chat in the kitchen or in the sitting room.

As for what to pair it with? Well, yellow is its opposite on the color wheel so that will always work. Move slightly ’round and you get to dark blue with orange—think of the spicy colors of North Africa.

A more watery blue with natural floorboards will evoke the idea of sand and sea—a more relaxing combination would be hard to find.

And while the old adage ‘blue and green should never be seen’ might hold true for many, there are plenty of shades of each that do work in harmony.

All the pinks from magenta to coral are great with this most versatile of colors, not to mention gray and, of course, white for a classic nautical look.

In other words, using blue in your home or business shouldn’t make you feel blue.

Where do you use blue in your home? Or have you seen it on your travels? Share your images on Instagram

Photo: Shutterstock

With thousands of breathtaking options on offer, deciding where to holiday in Indonesia can be hard work. That’s why we’ve come up with 10 simple questions to steer you towards your perfect island partner.

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