When people think of neutral colors, beige, gray or white often come to mind. But, what about blue? Blue is an overlooked shade that can be neutral — and bold too. Blue, in all shades, is the hottest fall color and here’s how to use it for a timeless feel in your new home.
Blue in the Kitchen
“Blue has really taken over the trend in our design competition,” says Elle H-Millard, editor-at-large for the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) Insiders Program, as well as NKBA’s Industry Relations manager and a certified kitchen designer.
H-Millard says painting kitchen cabinets in blue is the latest trend because “blue lends itself to a positive feeling… Blues and greens are colors that help ease the mind; it’s a calming color. The mind reads them as neutrals.”
Why Has Blue Come Along?
“Because the prevailing trend for so long was so completely neutral, clients and designers were yearning for a ‘color’ we could use to spice up our interior designs, while still keeping the look clean and timeless and letting the amazing architecture, furnishings, patterns and textures not be overwhelmed,” says K Tyler, principal – interior design at Morgante Wilson Architects, based in Evanston, Ill.
Tyler says the sky is the limit when using blue, but if you don’t want to go all out with blue, try using accent pieces to accentuate a room, like this white and off-white great room with navy blue chairs and teal pillows on a white sectional.
Navy blue has been popular with designers for some time because it is a versatile neutral that works well with many other colors. Want to go bold, but also want a classic look? Go for navy blue and white, like this navy study complemented by white base molding and a white entryway.
“Pairing (navy blue) with white is a more traditional way to see navy in a room,” says Karen Gray Plaisted, owner of Design Solutions KGP, a home staging firm in Warwick, N.Y. “Navy pairs well with so many other colors, too. It’s a break from the grays that we have been seeing for such a long time.”
Shades of Blue
Jeff Benach, principal of Chicago-based Lexington Homes, says that blue is a trending color in Lexington’s newest communities.
“Our new townhome models feature blue as a main décor color,” Benach says. “A blue-toned master suite upstairs (has) touches of blue in the bath, as well as the bedding and a blue lamp in the bedroom.”
When using more than one tone of blue in your home, like in this master bath, choose shades that don’t clash. To keep blue timeless, stay consistent with tones of blue, H-Millard says, by staying within the same palette of clean and dirty (muted) tones.
You don’t have to stick to the blue-white or blue-gray pattern when designing with blue! Have fun with blue by using contrasting colors to decorate.
“Designers use different approaches with blue,” H-Millard says. “Some designers use blue to contrast colors, such as using a bold yellow or lemons on the counter or in lighting.”
This outdoor space calls for brightness, so pops of yellow in two pillows, create just the right amount of contrast and interest in this blue outdoor sofa.
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for NewHomeSource, the Associated Press, New Mexico magazine and the Texas Bar Journal. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, battling weeds and high-desert heat.