Culture,  Living,  Style

Color & Mood: Peacock Blue & Petrichor (Reader Tangent)

In a post from a couple weeks ago, Linda commented about how she’s inspired all year long by autumn’s colors, which she uses around her home. I feel the same way about peacock blue. But it wasn’t always this way. Several years ago I went shopping for a new sofa. I figured I’d order one with a neutral mushroom-brown cover. Or else I’d go in the other direction, and wind up with emerald velvet. I did neither. At the urging of the saleswoman, I went with peacock blue velvet.

My dog, Izzy, looking regal, perched on top of my peacock blue couch.
Even Izzy looks regal on my peacock blue sofa.

For a while, I wondered whether I’d made the right decision. I usually gravitated toward warm colors, because I thought they made a home feel warm and cozy (which I still desired, even in Los Angeles). I didn’t own anything else in this color.

Peacock blue is unusual, in that it can feel at once both warm and cool. It has just enough green in it to evoke a mossy, damp forest. And enough blue in it to feel regal and grown-up.

One thing I miss in Los Angeles is a rainy day. We get them, though rarely – mostly during a single time of year – and then I treasure them. I open the window to hear the ambient splashes hitting the ground outside and to smell the scent of petrichor. Peacock blue reminds me of that feeling. The velvet of my couch is cozy while the color evokes a violent storm.

Peacock blue is reflected in fashion…

It’s hard to know where a trend begins. But I’ve noticed this color is a popular one in fashion this fall. The pieces below are from J. Crew and Boden (and I’m tempted to order at least one).

…and in design

It’s easy to dress your home with this color, not only in sofas like mine, but in decor like these sumptuous rugs.

Peacock blue is especially inviting when used as a wall color, and it’s versatile, too. See it successfully deck out both a bedroom and living/dining areas below.

It’s romantic, adventurous and stately

The dominant color palette in “Outlander” seems to revolve around peacock blue. I’m guessing it’s because the feelings I’ve associated with the color are ones the show’s creators want to elicit in their viewers. It feels romantic, adventurous, mysterious and even a little dangerous.

Even if the painting “Blue Boy” doesn’t exactly include peacock blue, my mind fuses the cornflower blue uniform with the the surrounding deep, smokey khaki golds, and reads it all as peacock. (Note: The famous painting is currently undergoing restoration at The Huntington.)

Peacock blue scents, tastes and sounds

Even where I don’t directly see this color, I sometimes feel it. I sense it in scents like those in these Diptyque candles. Or in a good glass of warming, peaty whiskey.

There’s a now-discontinued fragrance by Miller Harris that I picked up in London, Terre d’Iris, that reminds me of this color. It smells wet and stormy and warm all at once, with notes of orange blossom, sage, patchouli, fir balsam, iris and moss.

I even sense peacock blue in songs like “Terrible Love” by my favorite band, The National, and most tunes by Agnes Obel, which feel moody and place me in a cabin deep in the woods, or in a British castle set on a cliff, where gusts pound the sea against the rocky shores.

Of course one less obvious (yet more probable) reason why I’m now so drawn to this color is because it’s the color of my couch, the central piece of furniture in my home for several years now. It’s where I lounge after work; where I nap; where Izzy snuggles up for belly rubs. By now, this color equals comfort. It equals home.

This is the first Color & Mood post of an ongoing series. If you liked this one, please let me know! Also, tell me what colors elicit special memories or feelings for you. Have you sensed the “feeling” of those colors in things you can’t see? Tell me about it in the comments!

Robyn Kern is the Tangentier. A long-time writer based in Los Angeles with a degree in screenwriting and an interest in mindfulness, many tangents led her here: a place where people can come to find and share inspiration, dwell in each others' passions, and learn how to surround themselves with what they love on the daily.

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