Decorating with blue –a fresh update on this cool, contemporary colour

Beloved by ancient Chinese dynasties, the Moors and the Greeks, this enduring colour takes on a fresh, modern feel with the latest indigo textiles, paint and wallpaper.

Calm, cool and collected, the colour blue is a decorating win-win: not only does it make a beautiful base for a scheme but it’s scientifically proven to be a subconsciously calming shade, making you relax without even realising it.

See our decorating section for more inspirational ideas and advice

Calm oasis

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Calm oasis

From indigo to navy and cobalt, blue hues sit particularly well together, so offer great scope for pattern mixing. In this living room, cushions with small-scale motifs are successfully combined with robust striped blinds and a bold indigo geometric on the screen.

A sea of blue

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

A sea of blue

For a cosy fisherman's cottage feel, try a new twist on tongue-and-groove by taking it up to picture rail height and painting it in a shade that complements the colour of the chambray curtains and upholstered headboard.

A sea of blue

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

A sea of blue

For a cosy fisherman's cottage feel, try a new twist on tongue-and-groove by taking it up to picture rail height and painting it in a shade that complements the colour of the chambray curtains and upholstered headboard.

Bold contrasts

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Bold contrasts

An adjoining bathroom offers an opportunity for more adventurous decorating, as shown here with the strong wall colour and chequered flooring. Echoing the palette of the bedroom scheme ensures a unified look.

Statement pattern

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Statement pattern

A patchwork of textural blue wall tiles create an elegant splash back with an artisanal feel. The rest of the space has been kept clean and bright with white fixtures and fittings, and a touch of contrasting greenery.

Shades of blue

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Shades of blue

Opting for bold, block colour, such as azure, denim or sapphire, on upholstery and in rugs allows depth to be added with pattern. Here, a fine ticking stripe and geometric print fabrics provide lively highlights that catch the eye.

Passion for pattern

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Passion for pattern

A flamboyant floral wallpaper is the defining feature of this contemporary kitchen diner, in which the curtains, furniture and splashback have been kept understated so as not to compete. Natural foliage brings an accent colour and fresh finishing touches to the blue-and-white scheme.

Zoning a space

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Zoning a space

An upholstered screen is ideal for partitioning off a study area in an open-plan room. Using different fabrics on the front and reverse doubles its decorative impact, by introducing two feature patterns that can be rotated for an easy change of look.

Moody blues

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Moody blues

Sumptuous layering of texture and pattern is the key to this serene blue-and-white bedroom scheme. A bold headboard fabric creates a focal point, complemented by a curtain and cushion in similar shades, while the valance and throw add essential warmth and softness.

Blue-on-blue

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Blue-on-blue

Breathing new life into the classic coastal look, our scheme features a breezy palette of blues, from soft shades of pale sky through to denim, teal and Breton navy, all complemented by pops of vibrant red.

Clean and coastal

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Clean and coastal

A glazed white cabinet can be turned into a striking focal point by painting the inside a wonderful deep indigo or lining it in a dark, textural linen. Leaving the shelves white creates a point of contrast, ideal for displaying china.