Blue room ideas – from sky blue through ocean blue and on to cobalt – bring serenity and tranquillity to any space because they are on the cooler end of the spectrum.
Because cool tones aren’t overpowering – in fact they often feel like they are receding – room color ideas in these shades often help a small room appear to have more space, which can make them a great choice also for bathrooms and narrow hallways.
Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St George (opens in new tab), says of blue room ideas, ‘Cool blues 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.’
‘Don’t be frightened of using the color on a carpet, rug or runner; color lifts the spirit from the floor up, which is a room's main canvas,’ says Lorna Haigh of Alternative Flooring (opens in new tab). ‘Work with on-trend gentler blues: duck egg blue is always popular, although we are seeing more teals being used with secondary popping colors.’
Blue room ideas
Whether you're looking for blue room ideas that are predominantly blue or just want to have touches of blue in accessorizing, you'll find ways for decorating with blue that suit here. We have included blue ideas for quick remodels and inspiration for spaces that are being entirely renovated and, using the color wheel, show you how to use complementing and contrasting blue room ideas.
1. Match blue with white for a classic color pairing
'The best color combinations for rooms are those that stand the test of time, don't date and create an elegant finish. Blue and white is a classic pairing that has enduring appeal and will deliver schemes that are fresh and elegant every time,' says H&G's decorating editor Emma Thomas.
Perfect for blue living room ideas, fresh whites keep the room feeling bright and spacious.
2. Use mid blues for an elegant finish
Blue consistently tops the charts of our favorite colors but when it comes to decorating, its negative connotations of being cold and masculine – think about the phrases we use in everyday parlance including being 'in a blue mood' or ‘feeling blue’ – can make some feel nervous about using it as a leading color in the home.
But a major plus of blue room ideas that’s worth bearing in mind is that they work well with northern hemisphere light which, for most of the year, is already quite blue.
It’s a flexible shade, too. When paired with fresh white, such as in this Cape Cod living room scheme, you have a tried-and-tested color combination that speaks of sunny and sophisticated New England summers.
Just be sure to stick to the same tone of blue and then mix in stripes and patterns to keep the scheme cohesive.
3. Take a color cue from accessories
Mixing bold modern pieces with traditional accents is a well-established route to create an eclectic overall feel to a room. But look carefully and often you’ll find that the artwork chosen can act as source of color inspiration for a room.
If you like a particular hue that a painter has used, take it as a design cue and base the scheme around that. The end result will make a treasured painting stand proud in the room.
4. Use blue with a contrasting color
'If you are worried that blue will be too cool for a room – perhaps you've moved home and have to house existing blue furniture that once sat in a sunnier space and are looking for blue couch living room ideas – know that, of course, adding colors from the opposite side of the color wheel will add instant warmth,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens.
'You needn't use large expanses of color, blue or otherwise, to add impact, as you can see in the room above.'
5. Add warmth to blue rooms with woody textures
In this house in the Hamptons village of Sag Harbor, interior designer Steven Gambrel (opens in new tab) has played on variations of a blue and grey color palette throughout, as well as picking out architectural details such as doors and windows by switching tempo and using matt and polished gloss.
Any risk of these blue room ideas coming across as cold is relieved by the natural elements including with chunky fiber rug on the floor and fluted antique wood side table.
Think about using an alternative paint finish to lift the overall effect on walls and give a color greater clarity. Venetian Plaster leaves a smooth finish which is layered with the multi-dimensional, two-tone appearance of marble surfaces, adding visual interest and charm. Watch out though, it’s a considerably more laborious (and therefore expensive) skill than standard painting.
6. Create a splash of blue with a feature wall
An eye-catching geometric Pierre Frey wallpaper (opens in new tab) design, inspired by a batik motif, gives color and character to this home office. A floating wall is a great way to divide a large space and the addition of a patterned wallpaper adds impact and character. The white walls and accessories keep the feel fresh and bright.
7. Use blue in a hallway to create a serene feel
'Inspired by the considered simplicity of Japanese style, this contemporary hallway evokes a zen-like calm,' says Emma Thomas. 'Combining blue and white with pale woods in this way offers a softer, more organic take on decorating with these two colors.' For more inspiration, see our collection of blue hallway ideas.
8. Create a blue scheme instantly with accessories
In this entrance hallway scheme, interior decorator Beata Heuman (opens in new tab) has introduced blue room ideas with a playful injection of blue-green teal on the ornate painted sideboard table which is then carried on in the shades above the two bird lamps.
As the hallway is the first interior space that is seen, it often becomes the standard bearer of what’s to come. Using a pop of color here is a useful way of whetting the appetite, advertising that there is more on the way, without overwhelming visitors and guests at first sight.
Instead of paint on the walls, coverings on the floors or at windows, use upholstered furniture such as sofas and armchairs as well as cushions and lampshades to set a color scheme in a room. It has the obvious advantage of being flexible and easily changed if the mood further down the line takes on a different taste.
9. Paint the ceiling blue for an intimate feel
Painting the ceiling in a darker color than the walls is a way to make a bedroom – particularly if it's quite large – feel cozier and more intimate. It'll create the illusion of a lower ceiling, as well as setting a dynamic contrast against white walls.
For this master bedroom, the South Carolinian decorator Cortney Bishop (opens in new tab) took her color inspiration from the views outside and wasn’t deterred by using blue room ideas as the anchor for the space.
‘All shades of blue run throughout this particular home,’ she explains. ‘For the master bedroom, it felt right to bring in other colors inspired by the view outside their window so, in addition to the blues, that included greens and earthy browns. These three colors presented a richness that evoke a sense of warmth and also very pleasing to the eye.’
10. Introduce texture with blue
Taking inspiration from shibori designs, this bedroom corner is all about texture. A beautiful artwork has been created by framing a Japanese-inspired Pierre Frey wallpaper (opens in new tab) in a smart reeded white wood frame. The blue and white palette has been continued throughout, layering the scheme with pale denim walls and deep indigo Ian Mankin fabric (opens in new tab) on the David Seyfried chair (opens in new tab).
11. Match different blue tones for interest
Blue and white bedroom ideas are amongst the most restful of combinations.
'A calm sea of indigo blues makes for an inviting retreat,' says Emma Thomas. 'The small scale pattern in the wallpaper, a more textural alternative to paint, works well with the playful lampshade design. Mixing the blue patterns with white keeps the scheme crisp. Blue-tinted furniture continues the theme.
12. Pick a bold contrast to make blue punchy
In a warmer climate, such as that of the south of France or southern California, be braver with using deeper blue room ideas on the walls. The softer light, which is more often infused with sunlight than seen in northern climes, can take the stronger tones.
The Paris-based designer and architect India Mahdavi (opens in new tab) (who was responsible for painting Sketch’s Gallery tearoom a popping shade of rose pink back in 2014) injected this room, which is part of a 22-room hotel in the Provencal town of Arles, with a vivid blast of turquoise. This is set off by the colorful display of bottles arranged on a postbox-red shelving unit.
India describes herself as a polychrome and a polyglot – as talented with the use of color and as she is with languages. She has said of her work with color: ‘I like to mix and let them insult each other, have an argument.’
It’s an approach that requires a very discerning eye so if in doubt, we recommend staying faithful to classic contrast on the color wheel.
13. Put blue on the floor for impact
Blue dining room ideas can be very elegant but if you feel the shade might be a little cool for your walls, limit it to the floor; here, a graphic design creates a bold, contemporary appeal that fits perfectly in this period property.
'A white backdrop allows the striking Bolon floor (opens in new tab) design to take center stage here. Blue also features in the curtains and chairs, with the limited color palette ensuring the look remains sophisticated,' says Emma Thomas.
14. Layer blue on blue
We love interior designer Anna Spiro (opens in new tab)’s clever mix of color, pattern and materials. The textural indigo blue wallcovering used in this chic dining room instantly conjures a rich, saturated mood. And who wouldn’t be delighted to take a seat on this sky blue upholstered sofa as dining seating? The crisp white piping and border detailing add an elegant finishing touch.
An upholstered chair in a geometric design adds another layer to the scheme, as does the bamboo chair and antique dining table. All mismatching pieces that happily sit together thanks to the use of a restrained palette. The crisp white curtains and marble table top help to keep the scheme fresh and light.
Image from A Life in Pattern (opens in new tab) by Anna Spiro, published by Thames & Hudson.
15. Choose a blue grey for a traditional appeal
Blue room ideas can work in light-starved hallways and entryways, bringing a freshness to these spaces.
‘We love decorating with Pigeon by Farrow and Ball (opens in new tab),’ says Emma Sims-Hilditch, founder of Sims Hilditch (opens in new tab). ‘This paint color is a cozy and nostalgic blue grey. It is softer and bluer than more contemporary grey shades, we love using this color for our entrance areas, boot rooms, cloakrooms or darker spaces like studies and panelled rooms.’
16. Add bold panels of blue in curtains
Add a little blue to a neutral scheme with curtains and blinds. Matched with white within the design and made from sheer fabrics, blue curtains can make a room feel light and airy. For a cozier appeal, you can of course choose lined curtains in deeper blues and heavier fabrics, such as velvet.
17. Work blue cabinetry into a kitchen renovation
'Green kitchens have seen the real surge in popularity recently, but I think blue kitchen ideas are the classic choice that you really can't go wrong with,' says Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'Dark blue kitchens, like the one above, are perfect for larger spaces that you want to look traditional, formal and smart – and at the other end of the scale, powder blue cabinetry is pretty in a country kitchen. Just as with white kitchens, you won't go too far wrong with blue.'
18. Pick a strong blue for bathrooms
Pale blues are a tricky choice for a bathroom – unless the space is flooded with warm light all day long, it can feel cold and unwelcoming. A darker blue, however, succeeds in making a bathroom feel incredibly smart. A word of warning, though: blue bathroom ideas must go hand-in-hand with good bathroom lighting so that the space doesn't feel dreary at night.
19. Balance blue patterns and plains
‘The brief here was to create a glamorous scheme with a nod to the nostalgia of 1930s Hollywood films,’ says designer Sophie Eyeington. ‘Geometric patterned Fired Earth tiles (opens in new tab) were used to highlight the bath and basin, with the look softened by the circular mirror and sphere lights.’
20. Create an intricate tiled effect with blue
Bring a sense of grandeur to your bathroom with a scenic statement wall. This Pierre Frey wallpaper panel (opens in new tab) echoes the traditional Portuguese azulejo tilework found in the palaces of Lisbon and Porto.
Is blue good for a room?
Blue is a good color for a room – and not just aesthetically. Our perception of blue 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 blue before undertaking an exam achieved greater results, making it the perfect color choice for a bedroom or study.'
That aside, it's true that blue is a calming, restful color that does promote a feeling of peace and tranquility that's perfect for any room.
Picking the right shade of blue will largely depend on when you use the room – if only a night, you can pick any shade you love – pale blues to enhance space or deep blues to create a cocooning effect. But if you use the room by day, too, you'll want to ensure the tone of blue you choose feels warm and welcoming, so experiment before settling on the final shade, considering blues with a hint of yellow toning for an inviting feel.
What color goes well with blue?
Blue goes well with most other colors, and is an easy color to coordinate with but these are the best matches – and those to avoid:
1. Blue and white – as you'll see above, it creates a crisp finish that's extremely elegant and timeless.
2. Blue and yellow – a little traditional for some tastes, nevertheless, yellow is a great match for warming blues up, and blues for cooling yellows down.
3. Blue and orange – blue and orange have the same effect on each other as blue and yellow, although the result is a more contemporary look.
4. Blue and pink – this is a lovely combination and works well as pastels or as much bolder shades.
5. Blue and green – for a room that feels rich and grown up, this is a fabulous combination that is perfect for rooms starved of pretty, verdant views.
6. Blue and grey – this is one to skip. Instead, match blue with black or brown for a much more elegant finish.
With over 30 years of working in journalism on women's home and lifestyle media brands, Rhoda is an Editorial Director, Homes Content, at Future. Over time, Rhoda has worked on the entire homes and gardens portfolio including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Livingetc, Ideal Home, Style at Home, Woman & Home, 25 Beautiful Homes, Amateur Gardening and Easy Gardens. She was also editor of Country Homes & Interiors for 14 years, leading it across print and creating the blog Country Days. She has also worked at Woman’s Weekly, Family Circle and Practical Parenting.
Paula Sutton's guide to mood boarding decor – and how it can be applied to your life
Creating a mood board will help you to plan a room scheme – or visualize the life you want to lead, says style influencer Paula Sutton
By Andrea Childs • Published
How to deadhead geraniums – and why geranium leaves turn yellow
Deadheading geraniums is an easy way to keep those flowers coming – and you can take care of yellowing leaves at the same time
By Lucy Searle • Published