Joanna Gaines' latest 'Fixer Upper' project has a color theme – and it is an unexpected choice for the neutral color expert

Used in decorating for years, bold cobalt blues are enduringly popular and work surprisingly well with many hues for gloriously diverse results

Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It is no secret that interior designer Joanna Gaines champions neutral color schemes. The Fixer Upper co-host and owner of Magnolia has become known for her clever use of beige, taupe, and sand tones, and she does it well. But her latest home renovation project features a rather unexpected color choice – cobalt blue. 

From the moment Morocco's Jardin Majorelle put this hue on the design map it has been making waves. Calm, cool and collected, decorating with blue is a win-win.

‘Cobalt blue, a favorite of artists and ceramicists, is a great choice for interiors due to its intensity, brightening even darker spaces with its visual punch,' says Robert Whitaker, creative director, Claybrook. Similarly to the unexpected red theory, blue can create unparalleled excitement and intrigue in a room. 

Many people are often afraid to decorate with primary colors, but a small accent color can enliven a whole space. It doesn't also have to be cobalt blue either. Blue runs the whole gamut of shades from delicate eau de Nil to the deepest, darkest, inky blues – they are easily the palette of choice for many, from amateur decorators to interior designers as they’re incredibly easy to live with and perfect for layering, believes Patrick O’Donnell of Farrow & Ball. ‘Blue also comes with positive attributes in color psychology, such as enthusiasm, sympathy, warmth, encouragement, spirituality, loyalty, and thoughtfulness,' he says.

'Time and time again, research shows blue to be the world's favorite color – perhaps because we are surrounded by this enigmatic shade. 'The darker and more saturated the blue, the more mentally stimulating we will find it, helping us to focus and boosting our concentration and creativity,' says Karen Haller, color psychology specialist, teacher, and best-selling author of The Little Book of Color.

Designers agree on the beauty of blue room ideas

'Never be afraid to decorate with blue,' says David Mottershead, marketing director at Little Greene. 'Smart and stylish, luxurious and hypnotic, it is totally on trend at the moment, and the latest designs dispel the myth that the color is cold or masculine.'

Samantha Todhunter, founder of Samantha Todhunter is another designer who constantly extols the virtues of decorating with this tried-and-true color scheme.

'Working with shades of blue is endlessly interesting – and playing with tones and textures can change it from subtle and serene to a vibrant jewel box,' she says.

Shop the blue room edit

Named one of the best colors to make a room feel happy by paint experts, blue tones are ideal for setting a welcoming, relaxing mood. Follow Joanna Gaines' lead by introducing cobalt blue accessories and furnishings to your home in smaller doses. 

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.