Some color crushes come and go. Others develop into true love that lasts forever. That’s how I feel about the color blue, especially when it’s paired with white. Blue and white are a cornerstone of my personal design style, and you’ll find it all over my home. And, it’s a bedrock of the Nell Hill’s look, one we have embraced since we opened our doors 36 years ago.
Everyone falls in love for a reason. For me, and blue and white, there are a lot of things that make my heart hammer hard. It’s fresh and clean, and feels new every time you use it. It’s timeless and classic, never out of style. It adds sophistication to a space. It’s easy to design with: so approachable and forgiving. It can add a jolt of energy or whisper calm. It pairs well with just about every other color, from brown to green to red to pink to yellow. Need I go on?
When I had my historic home in Atchison, Kansas, we held open houses several times a year, inviting people to make the day trip to this quaint river town, visit our flagship Nell Hill’s store, and tour my home, dressed for the season, to get ideas and inspiration. All the photos in today’s blog were taken at my home during one of my spring open houses. They capture the inventive ways you can use blue and white in your décor to create a mood.
It was always so fun for me and the Nell Hill’s team to come up with new ways to style my home for each passing season: spring, fall and the holidays. I wanted to show how you can add a touch of the season to your year-round décor, so my home was the perfect lab.
One of my favorite looks in my dining room (which was painted what color? You guessed it: blue!) featured a fresh take on blue and white. The look was launched with these amazing paper lanterns. We loved the playful touch they added, so we suspended them from bamboo rods, using blue ribbons, then anchored them in two large white vases. It was a magical affect. People still ask if we sell these lanterns and, sadly, the answer is no. I have not been able to find a supplier. But, if you are a DIY person, you could use white lanterns and paint on a blue design.
We had a square tablecloth custom made out of this chipper fabric, then turned it on the diagonal at the center of the table. That’s one of my favorite ways to use tablecloths, because it allows you to add the color and texture of textiles, yet still let the beauty of the tabletop shine through. The place settings are super simple: everyday white plates topped with a sweet blue and white salad plate. When I entertain, I like to put a surprise at each guest’s place, like this little gift, wrapped in a coordinating paper.
I have collected blue and white serving pieces through the years, so we added them to our table. A mix of patterns makes the setting more interesting. I got some of the old platters for a song because they had a chip or crack. I’m OK with signs of age. I think it adds to their character.
It’s also fun to mix old and new on your table, and the displays throughout your home. On our table, we brought in bright cobalt glasses, a fun contrast to our vintage platters and crystal.
We carried the blue and white love out onto my screened porch, one of my favorite spots in my Atchison home. I dressed this old wooden plant stand with blue and white cachepots filled with live plants. Blue and white containers come in every price point, from inexpensive to investment pieces, so no matter what your budget, you’ll find pieces you’ll love.
Dan and I enjoyed eating dinner out on the screened porch. Dining off of trays made it easy to sit anywhere, not just at the table. These place settings are all the more inviting, thanks to the touches of blue and white.
Next Week … So many interior designers have inspired me through the years. I will share four of my favorites.
sandy mccune saysJuly 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm
I bought those paper lanterns but still haven’t thought of a way to use them. Any ideas? Love blue and white. Especially in the kitchen.Hope one of your special designers is Charles Faudree. I miss visiting him in Tulsa. But I love visiting with you at Briarcliff. You are always there. Do you have a clone?
Maxine Kilcrease saysJuly 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm
Love, love, love the blue. I purchased several large pillows the last time that we were there. We have had blue and white for years and are glad that it’s popular again, even though I think blue and white are classic!! Where can I purchase, or have made, the chair seat covers? Does Nell Hill provide that service? I wish we lived closer. Your store is the thing I miss the most after leaving that area!!! On at least three trips we have detoured up to 500 miles to stop and shop!
Mary Carol Garrity saysJuly 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Maxine, thanks for your kind comments! Those chair covers were custom made for my dining chairs. We do lots of custom work through Nell Hill’s, so give us a call to find out what we might be able to create for you! 816-746-4320.
Wrenda saysJuly 17, 2017 at 5:56 pm
I so enjoyed seeing your blue and white beauties. My home is decorated throughout in varying shades of blue (and white). I have never tired of it after many, many years. My blue and white staffordshire and flow blue platters allow for the best wall decor. Enjoyed this post on decorating with blue and white.
I look forward to your next week’s post on four of your favorite designers. As the poster above stated, I also hope one of the designers will be Charles Faudree.
franki saysJuly 18, 2017 at 8:19 pm
Gaaaa….you KNOW I’m not going to rest until I can find some of those b/w lanterns….just fantastical! franki