Choosing the right colors that go with royal blue can really make this hue come alive. Bright, regal and energetic, royal blue can make a real statement when paired carefully, and there are many combinations to try out, from muted to electric pairings.
'Royal blue is definitely having a moment,' says interior designer Laura Stephens. 'It creates a wow factor and pops beautifully with neutral tones and honey-coloured hues.'
'Royal blue is one of my favorite colours,' agrees Dirk Jan Kinet, a Flemish interior designer living in Mexico whose own interiors use this royal shade in many of his designs. 'I prefer to use it in kitchens, bathrooms but also in bedrooms. Nothing is as soothing as waking up surrounded by deep blue walls, curtains, ceiling and bedsheets.'
Royal blue is a tricky shade to get right in the home, given its richness and vibrancy. But balance the color well and your interiors will be given a playful feel and a real lift. Here, interior design experts offer their top advice for colors that go with blues in this regal yet joyful shade.
What are the colors that go with royal blue?
On the color wheel, this saturated tone of blue is a combination color. This means that its most basic complementary color is also a combination of two colors – in this case, a yellow-orange. This is a classic combo that can be seen throughout art and interiors, a duo used in the work of artist Van Gogh, for example.
But it doesn't mean pairings with royal blue are restricted to this side of the color wheel. When using other bold and warming hues, royal blue can create intensity and vibrancy. Pared-back with softer tones, it can be used to create a more subtle and neutral scheme.
1. Royal blue and bright orange
Royal blue and orange work fantastically together, creating a bright and vivid interior and creating a playful space. In this example from Natalie Papier of Home EC, this colorful living room idea began with the royal blue cabinetry as the inspiration for the rest of the scheme.
'This den renovation started with the concept of bringing in bold color through the royal blue cabinetry,' explains Natalie.
'Because this space is meant to be a play space, drum practice space and entertainment room, I wanted to bring in saturated colors with high energy.
'Royal blue is a natural complementary color to orange on the color wheel lending itself to maximum saturation and an all-around mood-lifting spirit with a playful pop,' she explains.
2. Royal blue and gold
In the way that yellows and oranges work with royal blue on the color wheel, gold similarly balances against royal blue's vibrancy, but brings a touch of sophistication to a scheme.
In this example at Justina Blakeney's famously colorful Jungalow, the vibrant Fireclay tiles were inspired by the bold blue of Lake Tahoe, and are given an extra lift with the golden grouting . The blue bathroom idea makes for a zingy interior that will have you jumping into the shower every morning.
3. Royal blue and taupe
For a cooler scheme, try decorating with neutrals. This sandy taupe color works well to balance against royal blue's energy. The wall acts as a blank canvas, and the color is taken from a piece of art and used as inspiration for the sofa color choice, with notes dotted throughout the room on lampshades.
'This sofa is in the lounge area of a very big open plan kitchen diner,' explains London-based interior designer, Laura Stephens. 'The caramel color helped the large space to feel cozy especially with the concrete floor.
'The client had lots of beautiful, colorful artwork and the wall color really helped to make the pieces ‘pop’. We wanted to pull out the bright blue in the artwork and go for a real statement color to brighten up the space.'
4. Royal blue and white
Blue and white is a truly classic colour combination usually associated with a nautical look and aspiring to evoke a sense of the freedom associated with holidays and the allure of nature. But used in a clever way and the blue and white combination gives off more than just a seaside look. 'With hundreds of shades to choose from, blue and white can be paired to create a breadth of interior styles,' says Helen Shaw of Benjamin Moore. 'Deep rich colours such as deep navy and dark blue look fantastic against a crisp white as the contrast between them creates a dramatic, yet calming effect.'
In this design by Suzy Hoodless, Little Green's Ultra Blue is used for a fresh blue kitchen idea. 'I mixed it with F&B’s strong white, a subtle warm grey and All White, a fresh pure white,' explains the designer.
'The bright white creates a contemporary fresh contrast that the blue needs because it is so powerful. A bright yellow eg. Trumpet from Little Greene is a nice accent colour tool.' Or here the yellow accent comes in the simple form of a bowl of well-placed lemons.
5. Royal blue and pink
Royal blue is one of the colors that go with pink best, the result being a warming combination. Both royal blue and pink have red undertones, so they work in harmony together.
In this example, a monochromatic color scheme has been broken up with a bold tone for the table - the center of the room. The blue cuts through the scheme in a dramatic yet complementary way.
6. Royal blue and light blue
For a moody combination, royal blue works well as a color that goes with light blue, too. In this example from Dublin-based interior design studio, Kingston Lafferty, the client worked in a very corporate environment so the brief when working on this home was to really explore her playful love of colour and travel. 'It was also about creating a deliberate contrast to the spaces she worked in day-to-day. The client was really open to all of our suggestions and really trusted us to bring this vibrant space to life,' explains Becky Russell.
'Playing off the colors in the mid-century central light fitting we wanted to go with bold colour choices. The mid-blue is balanced here with the soft green of the ceiling - Farrow & Ball's Vert de Terre.
'These lighter tones are balanced with the royal blue of the fireplace and the depth of colour in the rich floor and burgundy tones from the curtains and living room wall art create a well-balanced palette.'
7. Royal blue and grey
Use grey and royal blue together in a smart way and make the royal blue stand out against a calming background. In this example, from Portland-based interior design firm, Daniel House, a grey wall and rug let this royal blue cabinet steal the show for a unique dining room idea. 'I used to be such an advocate for warm, richly-colored dining rooms, which look the most seductive at night when dinner's on,' says Peter Spalding of Daniel House.
'Then I visited Edith Wharton's house in Lenox, Mass. Her dining room was so light and airy and worked equally well at any hour of the day. I wanted that too, so I selected Farrow & Ball's Borrowed Light, which actually can go very silvery grey at some times of the day.
'I usually hate grey, so to give the room a jolt, I painted the cabinet where I keep dishes and games an arresting royal blue. It dialed everything up – now the whole room looks crisp and clean, but has the depth to provide the sort of gravitational pull any dining room needs to keep guests lingering in happy conversation long after the meal has been eaten. Turns out maybe you don't need warmth so much as depth.'
8. Royal blue and green
Royal blue is a color that goes with green, but it's a combination that people can so often get wrong. The two colors are so close on the color wheel that you have to tread carefully when putting together. In this scheme, royal blue works with the bold green painted inside a cabinet and the colors clashing has been embraced for a striking finish.
How can I decorate my home with royal blue?
Depending on how you pair royal blue, it can bring different moods to your scheme and so should be treated differently per room. In the bedroom or bathroom, you may want to dial it down a notch with a paint color idea like a neutral palette or pair it with bright white to create a place of calm and sanctuary. In the kitchen, a lively pairing with another primary colour can reflect the energy of the space.
'Royal blue is an exceptional color for the kitchen,' says Cassie Wyner of Boston-based interiors firm, CW Design LLC. 'It brings the outside in, and both brightens and enlarges the space. It is at home with all metal finishes, and pairs beautifully with off-white cabinets. The royal blue finish is a great complement to a fabulously vein-y marble countertop too.'
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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