What color is indigo? Everything you need to know about this invigorating color

We explore and dive into the details of the debate, what color is indigo?

What color is indigo
(Image credit: Future)

A deep, intense shade that comes from a natural dye, indigo sits between blue and violet in the colors of the rainbow. There is much debate over what color indigo represents most and if it is closer to a blue or purple shade; in this article we will explore the frequent questions asked when researching, what color is indigo? 

What color is indigo?

Labeled a secondary color on the color wheel, indigo is formed from mixing primary colors blue and red, creating a beautiful, rich shade. As indigo is mixed, there are many different shades available, sometimes causing confusion over what the ‘true’ color is meant to be. 

Pantone (opens in new tab) have selected their color of 2022 as ‘17-3938 Very Peri’ which is described by Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, very similarly to what makes an indigo shade, ‘encompassing the qualities of the blues’ with a ‘violet red undertone’. Eiseman goes on to say the color, ‘displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions’. 7-3938 Very Peri marks how we will be seeing this color palette used across the design world this year to create uplifting, inviting spaces. 

When choosing room color ideas, indigo is a timeless and versatile shade to use in an interior space. Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) Brand Ambassador, states, ‘indigo can create a very regal backdrop for an elegant sitting room when teamed with a clean white trim - or it can play to the ‘Pop Art’ characteristics when teamed with a bright and clean yellow’. We now explore some of the common questions asked when researching, what color is indigo? 

blue bedroom with blue scallopped headboard, blue wardrobe with rattan detailing

(Image credit: Future)

Is indigo considered purple or blue?

With there being many different shades of indigo available, there can sometimes be confusion over whether indigo is considered purple or blue. Indigo sits between blue and purple (violet) in the color wheel, so it can be considered as a mix of both. Patrick O’Donnell from Farrow & Ball states, 'indigo is perceived mainly as blue with an underlying violet note. It can sometimes be a hard color to truly classify, as some ‘indigo’ colors can read closer to purple'. 

kitchen with purple cupboards, marble worktops and green bar stools

(Image credit: Future)

What color is closest to indigo? 

The closest color to indigo according to the color spectrum is blue. As discussed, indigo sits between blue and purple (violet) on the color wheel, violet sits halfway between blue and purple, so the indigo shade is technically closest to blue.  

kitchen with botanical wallpaper, marble countertops and purple cupboards

(Image credit: Future)

Is indigo the same as purple? 

As indigo is a mixture of primary colors, there are many contrasting shades out there, which adds to the debate of what color indigo is meant to be. It is close to the shade of purple but sits independently within the color spectrum. 

Kitchen with indigo cabinets and metro tile wall

(Image credit: Future)

Is indigo the same as navy? 

Both indigo and navy can be considered as darker blues so there is a connection between them, however, indigo can be seen as a more contemporary blue and slightly lighter than navy, whilst navy is more traditional and somewhat darker than indigo. 

When it comes to blue room ideas, Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St George, says, ‘Indigo and deep navy tones promote calmness and are the perfect choice for your living room, bedroom or guest room – typically spaces that you go to for escape and respite.’

Because indigo isn't overpowering – in fact, this color often feels like it is receding – it can help a compact room appear to have more space, which can makes it a great color choice also for small room ideas

Is indigo a good color for the home?

Indigo is a good color for a home – and not just aesthetically. Our perception of indigo has an affect on our moods, too. 

As fabric and wallpaper designer Vanessa Arbuthnott (opens in new tab) says in our feature on color psychology in interior design, 'It’s been proven that students exposed to indigo, blue and purple before undertaking an exam achieved greater results, making it the perfect color palette for our home office or bedroom.'

Zara Stacey
Content Editor

Zara joined Homes & Gardens in February 2022 as a Content Editor. After studying English Literature at University, she worked as an Ecommerce Website Editor, Content Writer and Buying Intern at multiple independent businesses within the luxury retail and lifestyle sectors. Her role at Homes & Gardens unites her love, experience and passion for the world of design and desire to create inspiring written content. She enjoys nothing more than discovering new trends, brands and products, whether that be in fashion, interior design or lifestyle.