Discovering that perfect shade of neutral “blue” can be rather difficult. My clients are often looking for the ideal blue, gray or green. Not too blue, but a little muddy, sophisticated, but not depressing. I take a deep breath in as they describe their ideal color, and then I recommend what I’ve come to call “blaygeen!”
Whether on walls, cabinets, trim or accessories, every design magazine, book and blog seems to be incorporating this elusive but much sought-after shade. It may appear as your favorite French blue on an accent island in the kitchen. It could adorn the family room walls as a beautiful “greige” with a hint of blue or that just right tone that complements Calacatta and Carrara marbles.
Yet how do you find this picture-perfect paint color? Blue is always a tricky color to work with – it can easily be too bright or too childlike. In my experience, blues intensify when painted on the wall, so I typically suggest muddying them with green and gray to create blaygeen.
The genesis of the term “blaygeen” stems from countless times when I have picked the softest shade of blue, but the client fears that it’s too green or reads gray. However, once this color is applied to the wall – no matter how large the space – its tones magically transform into the ideal color that meets their wishes!! Blaygeen is that perfect color: blue tinged with subtle notes of green and gray in equal parts warmth, serenity and depth.
The base of blaygeen is blue, appealing to both men and women, and overwhelmingly cited as many people’s favorite color. It reads as trustworthy, dependable and faithful. Soft shades of blue calm us, keep us feeling cooler, and have even been said to connect us with our intuition.
The color of the ocean and sky, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. Kept in its softer variations, blue invokes rest and enables the brain to produce chemicals that relax our bodies and minds. In this computer age, we’re overloaded with high technology and a bevy of daily tasks, so coming home to a peaceful color palette is an enticing and inviting choice!!
Blaygeen’s second and third components – gray and green – also contribute largely to the creation of a peaceful mood. Gray gives the blue a bit of elegance and subtlety, creating a neutral slate that stands up against the more intense accent colors in the room.
Green, on the other hand, means growth, security and harmony, lending a sense of tranquility to the other two colors. This dressing room, which is the cover of my second design book, Segreto Style, was designed by Kara Childress and is a perfect example of how adding a hint of green to the mix lends sophistication and quietude.
I custom mix my own blaygeens for each client when plastering walls or glazing cabinetry; however, there are ready-made colors that work well for painting walls and wood a solid color!
A few of my favorite commercial colors that present as beautiful ready-mixed versions of blaygeen are Sherwin-Williams’ Silverpointe, Lattice, Tinsmith, Repose Gray, and Mineral Deposit; Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl and Silver Lake; and Farrow & Ball’s Skylight, Borrowed Light, Light Blue, Lamp Room Gray, or Blackened. For a slightly greener tone, try Sherwin-Williams’ Sea Salt, Rainwashed or Tradewind; Benjamin Moore offers Woodlawn Blue or Pale Smoke. Going one shade lighter on any of these colors gives great results too!!! And I love using these hues for blue ceilings or porches as well.
In any space, with the perfect blaygeen shade, you can add a quiet sense of serenity while still highlighting treasured accessories. I love it so much I used blaygeen for my own living room redo (check it out here)! Go ahead and give it a try… you may become a blaygeen believer, too!!! I wish you all a very happy (and safe) New Year’s! See you next week!!