There are entrancing tones of blue, the employment of which amply justifies the popularity of this colour in decorative use. There are, however, other shades of coldness or hardness of which one can only say: beware.

Furthermore, there is another difficulty in the use of blue to which attention must be called. Both men and women artistically inclined must have noticed in the matter of personal attire how hard it is to secure blue shades which "go together." "With yellows there is not this difficulty; yellows which are even quite different in hue often harmonise well; various shades of red do not always dwell happily together; yet neither of these colours present the difficulty of blue, where a very slight difference in tone often is enough to result in discord. The present writers believe that they are the first to point out the extreme sensitiveness of the colour blue in this respect, and they are glad to pass on the warning to their readers.

We may go further - let us take, for instance, one of the loveliest colour schemes which the colour-loving" soul of man has yet devised, old blue and old ivory - a room panelled or papered in ivory white, Louis Seize furniture painted in old ivory and upholstered in old blue, with gold picture frames and candlesticks of the period. It is of the greatest beauty; it is, as the French would say, "of an elegance," but does it not lack humanity? It is not the elegance which proves the obstacle, for if we painted simple cottage furniture in the same tone of ivory, upholstered it in an inexpensive material of the same old blue, and laid cotton rugs of the same hue on the floor, the result would inevitably be the same; it is the nature of the blue; for if it is cool it is also a trifle cold - unloving. But let one take into either of these rooms a bowl of roses (not the purplish American Beauty but the true rose shade, mingled perhaps with cream) and we have an harmony which not only sings but which makes the room a place in which to live.

The artistically sensitive French knew this, and continually we find them mingling with their blue either rose or its lighter shade of pink, or else old gold, which is not quite so good for the purpose.

With these reservations, blue may be heartily commended, especially in its greyed, medium and peacock shades. It is admirably adapted for country and seaside use, and as previously noted, in proper combination it possesses refinement and elegance.

If baby pink cannot be recommended neither can baby blue - both seem to indicate a "silliness."


Green is another of the retiring colours. It is also cool in many shades, but naturally not so much so as the blue which enters into its composition and which is partially neutralised by its other component, yellow. If a greater proportion of yellow is introduced it becomes warmer and more advancing, according to the quantity added. As (we write it reverently) The Great Decorator of the World has used these two colours of blue and green in sky and sea and vegetation, we must recognise their appropriateness in larger masses than with the reds, and yellows, and brighter blues in which He paints the flowers.

As will be seen in the section on "Unity and Variety" really bright colours are not advisable for walls and ceilings. A green of considerable strength may, however, so be used and "Chelsea" green was much in vogue for panelled walls in Queen Anne's time.

Green is an eminently suitable colour in its soft tones for rugs and portieres. The violent hues seen in some cheap goods have no place anywhere in decoration. Olive green is rich and handsome; but, like brown, it must be employed in moderation if heaviness is to be avoided. Blue greens are frequently used in painted furniture and when sufficiently relieved with other colours are excellent for this purpose. It may be said that green universally needs relief; while a thoroughly wholesome colour as a background and in combination, an all green room would be almost unbearable in its influence, even in the lighter shades. We feel the need of enhancing yellow, orange, or rose.

Soft green, white, and rose is an excellent colour-scheme employed by some British decorators with great success (Plata 64) and too seldom used here.

Blue may also be used with green if the shades of both are right.

Of all colours there are vivid hues which in small quantities may be effectively and beautifully blended with other vivid colours. One of these shades is Paris green. We have seen this combined with vivid rose in a pair of Chinese slippers. But the Chinese are masters of colour: perhaps some day we shall know colour as they do. Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxon who looks down upon them may sit at their feet and learn.