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Blue is the Hue of the Season

Her Hawaiian heritage inspired interior designer Sherry Engle to create a tropical paradise—grounded in deep-sea blues—in a guest room.

Having the blues is the latest trend in interiors.

By Kimberly Rapanut

We saw the signs. First, we were beguiled by the deep midnight shade of a stylish chest; then we were bewitched by a bluebird-sky-hued kitchen. Finally, after succumbing to an ocean-inspired, deep blue-and-teal guest room, we knew we were having a blue moment. Beyond the familiar use of turquoise here in the desert, the trend of blue instills spaces with complicated hues that command attention. Our thoughts align with those of interior designer Sherry Engle who says the hues’ relaxing effect, along with its depth and richness, are major reasons for its enduring popularity. While unexpected in the common traditional Southwest palette of warm, neutral shades, blue is a great foil for earthy browns and greens. “Blue is a sophisticated choice in a room,” she adds, “It provides a sense of calm that appeals to both men and women.”

Justin Nee, head of merchandising and sales at John Brooks Inc.’s Scottsdale showroom, notes that the use of bold colors has made a long-overdue return to interior design. He cites the recession and financial crisis in recent years as a driver behind the popularity of what he calls “safer” interiors.

“Bold colors were perceived as risky, and many people were drawn to the comfort of more neutral palettes,” he says. “Now, people feel comfortable injecting more of those rich jewel tones and deep blues into their homes. We’ve seen the trend move beyond accent pillows to larger statement pieces, such as lounge chairs, sofas and draperies.”

For Scottsdale-based interior designer Terese Messina, blue is an anchoring color that she’s always gravitated toward because of its timelessness. “Blue pairs well with so many other hues,” she says. “What’s exciting to me about it is that it always feels fresh.” With all these options and more, bringing the beauty of blue into the home has never been easier.

Hand-painted shades of indigo, sapphire and cerulean swirl together to create a one-of-a-kind glass and wood display tray. 19″ in diameter. $168 (

Designed by Arizona native and ASU alumna Caren Rideau, the Frida Collection of kitchen cabinetry pays homage to iconic artist Frida Kahlo. “Her richly hued paintings and Latin American imagery are immensely inspiring,” says Rideau, who imbues the pieces with the festive tones of Mexico. Cabinets in Casa Azul blue are shown here. To the trade. (

Aquamarine-colored glass beads dangling from a fringe of gold chains make the Tallis Teardrop Chandelier instantly fun and mesmerizing. The five-light fixture is 16″H by 24″ in diameter. $998 (

Large both in scale and style, the sky blue-glazed Okura planter by Jonathan Adler is 22″ in diameter and nearly that tall when on its black iron stand. Great for use indoors or out. $895 (

Inspired by the look of fine parquetry flooring, Palazzo wall covering comes in a distinctive blue-on-blue color way called Azul Atrium. 432″L by 37″W. To the trade. (

A bit of blue elevates everyday dining, especially when pretty hues take a floral form in the Indigo Vine Linen Napkin from Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand, Draper James. 20″ square. $10. (

Abstract ovals in a large-scale grid take on a sophisticated air when rendered in a rug of steely blues, dark sapphires and icy silvers. Available to the trade in custom sizes. (

The chest that served as our inspiration: from the Asian-influenced Ming collection, the mahogany-in-indigo chest with antique brass base and matching drawer pulls had us at “hello.” 30″H by 32″W by 16″D. $1,490 (

Iridescent Biarritz Ocean upholstery accentuates the tailored and faceted silhouette of the Sorrento Chair—which is reminiscent of midcentury Italian designs. $1,795 (


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