Here’s a good article on decorating with the color blue by Jessica Bennett for Better Homes & Gardens.
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Soothing shades of blue pair well with just about any color. Check out some of our favorite color combinations starring the versatile hue.
Blue is a perennial favorite for interior color schemes. Commonly associated with relaxation and tranquility, blue has nearly universal appeal across all types of design styles. With shades ranging from ice blue to deep navy, the versatile color looks great when painted on walls and kitchen cabinetry or when layered in with accessories and decor. And if you’re stuck trying to decide which colors go with blue, the answer is simple: almost all of them. Acting as a neutral in some cases, blue pairs well with virtually every other color, including vibrant hues like orange or red and more muted neutral tones like beige and gray. Here are some of our favorite color combinations that showcase blue’s easygoing beauty.
Watery Blue and Sandy Beige
Soft shades of blue naturally evoke calm feelings associated with the sea. Partner light blues with a sandy-colored neutral or light-washed wood for a feeling reminiscent of the seashore. Repeat both tan and pale blue with fabrics, bedding, and furniture to create a relaxing retreat in a master or guest bedroom.
Denim Blue and Bright Orange
The kitchen is one of the main gathering spots of the house, so it warrants a color scheme the entire family can live with. Because orange sits opposite to blue on the color wheel, it’s a natural complement to blue. This pleasing combination also offers an energizing contrast that’s perfect for a bustling kitchen. Consider livening up white cabinetry and countertops by painting the kitchen island blue, then layer in hits of orange through stool seating, rugs, kitchen towels, and other accessories.
Cerulean and Apple Green
Neighbors on the color wheel, green and blue are cool colors that form a refreshing combination. Choose vibrant shades of these analogous colors on walls and furniture for a bold look. In this dramatic sitting room, vivid cerulean blue wall color is balanced by an equally bold apple green. Inspired by the artwork, textiles in a deep apricot geometric print accent the velvet club chairs.
Turquoise and Orchid
Located on blue’s side on the color wheel, purple is another cool color that makes a pleasing companion. Because the two tones are so similar, the resulting color scheme is both colorful and soothing. Pair rich purple with striking turquoise for a jewel-like effect in a bedroom or living room. If you prefer paler blue tones, opt for saturated shades of purple to avoid the washed-out look of too many pastels. You can also add contrast to a blue color scheme by choosing warmer purple tones, such as orchid as opposed to indigo, to counteract the coolness of blue.
Pale Blue and Coral
Introduce a dose of femininity with shades of pink, coral, or apricot. The palette of this cozy sitting room is inspired by the striped fabric on decorative pillows. The soft, watery blue is repeated on the painted walls, and the bright coral coats the cheerful entry door. The colorful combination is lively, inviting, and distinctly beachy.
True Blue and Natural Wood Tones
Blue’s cool color temperature stands out sharply against the warm finish of wood floors, furnishings, or trim. For medium- to dark-tone wood finishes, choose a strong shade of blue that won’t pale in comparison. In this open kitchen, deep azure cabinetry contrasts with richly stained wood floors to create a cozy, modern cooking space. Open shelving and large windows keep the dark blue cabinetry from overpowering the design.
Navy Blue and Cherry Red
Blue and red form an all-American pairing that suits nearly any space. In this cheerful fireplace area, a pair of crimson velvet chairs pop against navy patterned pillows and an inky blue accent wall, creating a dynamic look. For more formal spaces like the dining room, go for darker shades such as navy and maroon that read more sophisticated than patriotic. Lighter tones, including powder blue and salmon, work well in bathrooms or bedrooms to create a soft, comforting atmosphere.
Soft Blue and Neutrals
In neutral rooms, even a small dose of blue can add another layer of personality. If you prefer to stick to neutral paint colors and furnishings, bring in blue through small accessories, such as a table runner, decorative lamp, or a throw blanket. To maintain the neutral look, choose a soft, muted shade of blue that won’t feel out of place. If you decide you love the color in the space, feel free to go bigger by repainting the walls or purchasing a blue accent chair.
Classic Blue and White
Blue and white form a crisp color combination that creates a clean feeling, which is ideal for spaces like the bathroom. Here, traditional elements, including beaded-board walls and hexagon floor tiles, take on a more contemporary feel when balanced by patterned blue wallpaper. The fresh bathroom color combination turns the small space into a focal point.
If you’re a true-blue fan of the color, feel free to mix multiple shades of blue into a monochromatic scheme. To make sure the combo plays well together, look for blues with similar undertones, such as blue-green turquoise and dark teal. Repeat the hues across walls, curtains, rugs, and other decor elements to create a rich, layered look. Use a variety of fabric textures and vary the scale of patterns to keep the design from looking stagnant.