“There is no blue without yellow” Vincent Van Gogh

Seeing this invigorating cover of HGTV Magazine this week really got me thinking.

Blue and yellow decor is back!

A blue and yellow decor renaissance?

Blue and yellow decor is officially on trend,  just in time for the Northern Hemisphere summer. Magazines, Pinterest and endless blogs are ablaze with decorating ideas boldly using this – oh so easy to get wrong – colour combination. I do like what I see but have to wonder if I can embrace this trend. I’d have to work through my painful recollections of these hues. They’re just so tainted.

I haven’t seen bold blue and yellow used seriously in interior design since that awful coastal decor craze in the very late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Remember all those pointless blue and yellow accessories so many of us had in our living zones and bathrooms? Blue sofas with yellow cushions. Yellow spray painted coral stuck to blue signs saying ‘life’s a beach’. Blue starfish shaped soaps . Tissue box covers made from small yellow cowrie shells and seahorses – there were plenty of seahorses.

The rule was if it was yellow or blue it was indeed for you!

Perhaps its a universally excruciating memory because I can’t find any photos of this trend online. At all. Boy have I tried. It really is the fad that time – and thankfully Google – forgot.  (It does beg the philosophical question; if a trend doesn’t appear on the internet, does that mean it didn’t exist?)

All I could unearth was an image of this wallpaper border on currently for sale on Ebay and it gave me chills. Coastal chills.

Ring any daggy decor bells?

Ring any decor bells?

By the time the mid 1990’s rolled around I began to associate blue and yellow more with with IKEA. Coming off the back of the coastal decor craze, I really was OK with that. I like IKEA. No matter what the design purists say every house needs a little bit of IKEA. It’s what connects us to the rest of humanity. It used to be religion. Now it’s IKEA and the three wise bookshelves Billy, Expedit and Hemnes.

Extra Ikea nulla salus.

So now blue and yellow have been delightfully rebooted. And I have been wondering who really does it best and would the scheme be soothing enough to work at all in a weekend home.

I found the answer in Morocco.

You see, while I’ve been grappling with my Pavlovian aversion to blue and yellow. Moroccans have been doing it with aplomb. For a long time.


Blue and yellow accessories in the souk

Bold rugs and mirrors in Rabat

Seeing blue and yellow used so effortlessly in the Rabat souk inspired my search this week.

Rabat is Morocco’s capital and perfectly positioned between Tangier and Casablanca on the Atlantic coast. The climate is more Mediterranean than African it seems with temperatures in summer reaching 30 degrees centigrade and evening lows in winter literally freezing. This contrast makes for comfortable living in my book and far from the blazing heat I would have expected.

OK, some tourist reports imply it could be in the top ten of the worlds most boring capital cities, edged from the top spot by Ottawa and Canberra. But I don’t buy that. It has a fabulously colourful souk, UNESCO World Heritage sites and wide palm lined boulevards. Boring or utterly livable? With houses like these to choose from, I think the latter. Just the sort of place for a blue and yellow weekend home.

Rabat, Morocco


This delightful 2 bedroom, bijou riad in central Rabat is superb. Blue and yellow – how it should be – for just over USD$60,00. Each time I peruse the photographs, I can’t believe it could be mine for such a price.

Rabat 1.1

Quite possibly the most beautiful front door I’ve ever seen. Blue and Yellow magnificence.

Rabat 1.2

Stunning painted fretwork.

Rabat 1.3

Light and airy central courtyard with a blue spiral staircase.

Rabat 1.4

The media room?

It makes my heart sing.

I’ll take it.

Rabat, Morocco


This airy one bedroom mezzanine apartment (according to my school girl French translation) has plenty of room for entertaining and stunning views over the Bou Regreg river. There may not be an overt blue and yellow detailing but everything about the panorama croons blue and yellow. The view of the  blue sky and river juxtaposing the sand beds and yellowy building skyline is lovely. I’d wager these hues would change constantly with the movement of the northern African sun and become truly alive as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean beyond. What more could we need?

Rabat 2.1

Blue and yellow views in Rabat.

Rabat 2.3

Arched windows in the living room.


It’s gorgeous and USD$46,000.

I’ll take it.

So a snap poll this week of my friends has revealed I’m just about the only person I know who hasn’t experienced the magic of Tangier, Meknes, Fes, Chefchaouen or Palmeraie and Marrakech. Yet no-one I know has spent time in Rabat.

I’d quite like being the first I know to discover Rabat’s pleasures and pick up a weekend home that will have everyone falling in love with blue and yellow again.



4 thoughts on ““There is no blue without yellow” Vincent Van Gogh

  1. Pingback: "There is no blue without yellow" Vincent Van Gogh

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