There's no shortage of inspiration for colors that go with blue. Used in all its varying shades, it is flexible and can evoke many different moods. It can be classic, serene, sophisticated, or full of energy.
'One of my favorite colors is blue in all his shades,' says Dirk Jan Kinet, a Flemish interior designer living in Mexico. 'I feel like a prince when been wrapped in Wedgwood blue but a cool lover in cobalt.
Blue really is such a versatile shade, a color that goes with grey and other neutrals just as well as more vibrant color choices. Here, we look to color theory to pick out color combinations and complementary schemes to inspire you with the perfect blue interiors.
While she was Livingetc's deputy editor, Hebe was in constant communication with the greatest designers in the world. She has been able to keep hold of those contacts as she goes off into the bigger design world, and use them to still regularly contribute to our site. She was able to use this access and insight to get to the heart of what the best interiors minds think you should pair with blue right now.
How to pick colors that go with blue
Look to color theory for inspiration when settling on colors that go with blue. Given where blue is sat on the color wheel, the color works best when paired with tones that are found directly opposite. Think vibrant yellows or oranges for a bold scheme. Mixing with a warm color really takes the coolness out of blue. Alternatively, mix blue with neutral tones of warm shades - near-white taupes or pale pinks work in theory too. However you pair your blue, these are our favorite combinations to inspire you.
1. Blue and brown
For a moody pairing that feels rich and luxurious, a deep blue and brown works in perfect harmony. Brown is a variation of orange, which sits opposite blue on the color wheel, so it's no surprise that our eyes are drawn to this combination, with brown being a deeper tone of orange.
In this example, the front reading room of this red brick home in Western Sydney is intended on being comfortable yet robust. 'The earthy colors hug the space while adding drama, lifted by light wooden floorboards that prevent the room from becoming too dark,' explains Priscilla Elasi of The Stylesmiths (opens in new tab).
The designer has also mixed texture to add that depth and luxury, with the leather chair a great addition to the scheme. 'Layering different shades of blue and brown, mixing in those textiles enhances the impact of an uncomplicated yet sophisticated color palette in a small space,' she says.
2. Blue and white
Blue and white is a classic combination that is evocative of Hamptons style decor, beach houses, Greek islands and has the power to really transport you.
'Combined with white you’ll stay a little longer in bed dreaming you’re on a Greek island,' says designer Dirk Jan Kinet.
It is a calming combination, so works well in this luxurious living room space to create a peaceful feel. With white as your base, you can use various tones of blue and build up from pale hues to deep tones used as accents.
3. Blue and green
Bule and green are both cooling shades that belong on the same side of the color wheel so tread with caution when using these colors together. 'Blue and green should never be seen,' goes the age-old myth, but their contrasting nature can in fact work. They both have heavy associations with nature that can look great together if you embrace their clashing tones.
In this example by interior designer Nicola Harding (opens in new tab), the light blue of the rug and the lighter hue of blue on the walls is a great basis for contrast and the result is that the pop of green on the cabinet stands out. 'Blue is a wonderful color to use in rooms where there are low levels of natural light and it is brought to life by layering it with highly contrasting colors,' explains Nicola.
4. Blue and grey
A very cool-toned combination, blue is one of the colors that goes with grey. It's a well-loved pairing that's perfect if you are a neutral lover that wants to introduce just a touch of color. Paired with the right grey, something warm and taupey, blue almost becomes a neutral too as can be seen in this bedroom with this lovely slubby bedlinen in a denim blue.
As just a general rule, pair warmer, more muted blues with warmer greys for almost a tonal look. And for bolder or more primary blues opt for cooler, light greys to add contrast.
4. Blue and orange
Blue and orange can work as a great pairing as they are complementary colors from opposing sides of the color wheel, a key part of color theory. 'Although pleasing to the eye, these create a high contrast, so use them when you want something stand-out.' explains Sarah Spitieri, editorial director of Livingetc.
'Ideally, use one color as the lead, to create a backdrop, and then introduce the other as accents.' In this example, the orange of the sofa, and even the face of the guitar work well against the blue wall.
5. Blue and red
Red is having a bit of a renaissance in the world of interiors right now, and while it can be a bold shade to decorate with, it can be balanced out when paired with a calming blue. Both are bold pops of color that can be quite difficult to get right, but go daring and it might just pay off.
'There are two ways to play this color scheme.' explains Sarah. 'First, sky blue and red. This is a combination often found in vintage textiles that seems particularly popular right now.'
'You can also opt for a more poppy scheme by mixing deep navy with a pillar-box red. Although vibrant, this is still a fairly timeless combination. We’d tend to suggest that red is used as the accent color on furniture or fabrics, with navy as your lead color.'
6. Blue and pink
Perhaps more approachable than red and blue, pink and blue are an ever-popular combination. Plus, there are so many different looks you can create with this pairing, from the very bold with deep navy blues and blush pinks, to the very light and fresh with seafoam blue and coral pinks.
It's a combination that works in all rooms, but it does look particularly lovely in this bedroom. The blue is calming and serene and the pink adds some punch but also warms up those cooler tones – it's the perfect balance.
If you are tempted by a pink color scheme, we also have a guide on what colors go with pink to get you inspired.
7. Blue and yellow
This high-contrast pairing always works – deep navy blues with zingy lemon yellows, sky blues grounded by deep ochre, blue/greys uplifted with golden tones, as seen here in this home office. Those warmer tones easily balance out any cooler tones of the blue, making in a lovely combination to use in a bedroom where you always want the space with feel inviting.
8. Blue and other blues
Go blue on blue and layer the color for a wonderful monochromatic scheme. 'If you're a through-and-through fan of the color, mix multiple shades of blue into a monochromatic scheme. This is sure to have a calming, stabilizing effect on a room.' recommends Sarah.
'To make sure the combination sits well together, look for blues with similar undertones, such as a blue-green turquoise and dark teal. Repeat the hues across walls, curtains, rugs and accessories to create a rich, layered look. Then introduce a variety of fabric textures and patterns of different scales to bring depth.'
Where to use blue in the home
When decorating with blue, think about the intention of each room, and pick your tone of blue based on this. A light, pared back blue can be relaxing and peaceful - making it work for a room like a bathroom or bedroom where your goal might be to create a relaxing space.
When decorating a space like a living room or snug, a deeper, moodier blue might work to create an intimate and cozy feel. Bright blue pops can be used beautifully as accents around the home, bringing a bit more energy.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
What different styles of living room are there? Here's how to pick the right look for your home
From Scandi schemes to the industrial aesthetic, these designs will inspire your living room makeover
By Oonagh Turner • Published
What are the latest wallpaper trends? New styles, colors and prints designers are predicting for 2023
Find out what's next in wallpaper trends as the soothsayers of design list explain what is going to make waves next year
By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari • Published