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Sometime we have design crushes. Our passion for a piece of furniture, an accent or fabric ebbs when something new catches our eye. But then sometimes, we fall in love for life. That’s me with blue and white. True love forever and ever. What’s so irresistible about this classic color combo?

It goes well with everything. Like a pair of jeans and a crisp white shirt, blue and white make an ideal foundation on which to build so many different looks. I love it with pink, red, yellow, green, orange, black … pretty much every color in the rainbow.

When I lived in my Atchison, Kansas, home, I used lots and lots of blue and white Asian porcelain pieces in my decorating. The house just called for a more formal treatment. But now that I’m in my snug little cottage, I’m bringing in blue and white in a more casual way, through relaxed fabrics or old dishes. Whatever your style, you can find unique blue and white accents to bring it to life.

If my house caught on fire, I might be tempted to run back in and rescue my blue and white transferware dishes. In my formal dining room in Atchison, they were the base of some grand table settings. Now, in my cottage, where the dining space flows into the kitchen, we are a lot less formal when we entertain. My blue and white dishes are just as perfect for a dressed down French country look. Thanks to the versatility of blue and white dishes, you can go as formal or as informal as you want.

Blue and white makes a statement. We like to raise the drama level in a room by creating a powerful display, an exciting focal point for the space. One of our favorite techniques is to amassing a collection of similar objects so they create a visual exclamation point. Blue and white porcelain pieces are ideal for this because they come in so many different patterns, shapes and sizes, you will have no trouble finding pieces that are unique and interesting, yet harmonize. Just make sure you vary the heights and sizes of the pieces so the display in intriguing.

Even just a touch transforms. You don’t have to drench a room with blue and white to achieve a beautiful look. Sometimes, just a drop or two is all you need to transport the space.

And it looks lovely in layers. One of the hallmarks of our style is creating layers in displays so they tell an interesting story. Blue, with its wide array of shades, is perfect for layering. On one tabletop display, we started with a blue and white lamp. Then we added in a stair step of sweet blue and white boxes, used as risers to hold other design elements. A pottery piece in the background echoes the base of the lamp, and a cobalt blue paperweight adds deep, saturated color.

We especially like to layer textiles on sofas, chairs and beds. Neutral sofas allow you to go so many directions with your accent pillows. This way you can give an ode to blue and white told pillow by pillow.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com.

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