By Katherine Duncan
Having the blues has taken on a whole new meaning with recent home design trends. Thanks to its seemingly endless shades, there’s a hue for everyone and every space—particularly in seaside settings like Newport Beach, where it can act as a neutral.
“If you’re looking out and you have a view of the ocean, then the blue that you’re using kind of blends in because of the natural colors,” says Brooke Wagner of Corona del Mar’s Brooke Wagner Design.
Wagner is most fond of using blue with traditional neutrals, which provide essential contrast. For example, if you were to use colored wallpaper, white woodwork like thick baseboards and crown molding provide elegant, clean lines that break up the blue. She also notes that “crisp” whites are ideal with any shade of blue.
“That makes it feel a little more coastal and beachy,” she explains of timeless combinations like navy and white. “If you go in the creams and the ivories, it feels a little more formal and sophisticated.”
Just like particular combinations, certain shades also tend to evoke different feelings, making them more or less suitable for some spaces. The more casual blues and whites might be perfect in gathering spots like the kitchen and family room. Deeper options—like navy and indigo, which Wagner says are currently having a moment—could be used in more formal areas such as the dining, powder or great rooms.
“In master bedrooms we try and keep it a little more romantic and subtle instead of the deeper tones,” Wagner says. “… I like dusty blues, a gray-blue or slate-blue—just kind of more muted tones.”
Once you’ve settled on a particular shade, Wagner recommends sticking within that family. “You wouldn’t want to mix, like, navy and turquoise,” she explains. “But you would want to use different variations. So if you were to dilute the strength of a navy, it’s a lighter pigmentation but it’s the same tone.”
Layering is the key to pulling a room together for a cohesive, chic look. It’s often easiest to start with a neutral base, such as the walls, flooring or large furniture items like sofas, and then incorporate blue variations using different patterns and textures—think pillows, curtains and accent pieces. And don’t forget to add a little shine to really bring the color to life: Metallics are in the spotlight right now, and Wagner says brassy options paired with a rich blue add a great contrast.
In the Home
The following products come in shades to meet every personal preference and decor style when it comes to incorporating blues.