Decorating with Cool Colors

In the heat of summer, fill your rooms with cool blues, greens, and purples to summon a cool breeze to your home. Check out these inspirational ideas and then try it in your place.

Pair with White

Youthful purple coats the walls in this sweet bedroom. Make it work for you:
-- Use all-white furniture to counterpoint the bright shade.
-- Don't be too matchy: Attach baby blue paper to the headboard or use another cool shade somewhere else.
-- Accent with a warm color (like the tangerine rug and bedding here).

Layer Brights

Vivid blue frames the rest of this home and provides a background for glam black-and-white accessories. Make it work for you:
-- Lighten up a strong cool hue with bright white trim.
-- Choose contrasting accent colors to give the wall color an edge.
-- If your rooms open into one another, choose a different shade of the same color for the paint.

Work the Trends

This mod living room benefits from a trendy blue-and-brown color combo. Make it work for you:
-- Invest in one high-impact piece with both the colors, here, a shapely rug.
-- Choose one of the colors to accessorize with; when you want to redecorate you just have to switch out pillows and artwork.
-- Make inexpensive artwork by painting different widths of stripes on plain canvases.

Mixing Styles

Here's another take on the brown-and-blue trend. Make it work for you:
-- With any trendy color palette, buy the more expensive, long-lasting pieces in the neutral hue
-- Make your mark: if your sensibility is more country, hang the gingham shade and blue china
-- Tie the clean-line furniture and casual accessories together with a scrollwork and floral rug that nods to both styles.

Surprise Color

One bit of cool color is all you need to make an impact. Make it work for you:
-- Try it in an unexpected place, like upholstering traditional chairs in electric purple.

Bold for All

Decorating in cool colors doesn't mean decorating in pastels. Make it work for you:
-- Fill the room with colors of equal saturation: fresh blue on the walls, butter yellow furniture, and bright red accents.
-- Group color types -- cool blue on the walls, warm red and yellow at ground level.
-- Subdue the look with dark wood, or whitewash the wood for a beachside cottage look.

Pillow Help

Dress up a neutral setting with cool pillows. Make it work for you:
-- For summer, blue beats the heat. In the winter, swap energizing red or playful orange.
-- Mix patterns: a solid is a no-brainer, but add a traditional stripe and a tasteful pattern in the same color palette.

Cooking with Color

Even the kitchen can benefit from a shot of cool color. Make it work for you:
-- Keep the cabinets white; they'll weather many redecorations.
-- Choose an eye-popping color since you're effectively painting only half the room.
-- Coordinate with your dishes if they'll be out in the open.

Bedroom Blues

Blue is the most common bedroom color, probably because of it's soothing quality and appeal to both sexes. Make it work for you:
-- Choose a soft shade that brightens during the day, but isn't to light at bedtime.
-- Spread the color joy to the ceiling and paint it the same shade.
-- Match the shade with light neutrals and blue and tan bedding.

Go Light and Bright

Whisper-soft green acts almost like a neutral in this bedroom. Make it work for you:
-- Pick the lightest shade available and plan to perk it up with vivid accessories.
-- Focus the brightest point of color off the wall, such as the green checkered rug in this bedroom.
-- Branch out into the same color family, choosing bedding and other furniture in yellow-green.

Sidekicks for Blue

Blue paired with subtle accent colors and natural elements looks pretty, not pretentious. Make it work for you:
-- Use natural bamboo shades to add texture and to keep the blue from looking overdone.
-- Choose a warm accent color and sneak it in, like the yellow strip on the armchair and the checked rug.
-- Vary the patterns on the larger elements in the room. Go with solid on the wall, striped on the chair, and a casual floral for the headboard.

Temporary Fixes

Get cool color for a season by focusing on swappable items and slipcovers. Make it work for you:
-- Cover pillows in fabric remnants or sew actual covers for them in Dutch blue.
-- Tone down an all-blue couch by slipcovering the body; the blue in the cushions is just right.
-- Tie the slipcover with blue fabric ribbons for a girly touch.

Black and Blue

Forget what fashion dictates: blue and black look great together. Make it work for you:
-- Select a vivid shade to go with your dark furniture. A light shade would look out of place and a deep shade would darken the room.
-- Paint the trim white to balance the blue and black.
-- Fill the room with dark furniture without feeling guilty.

Three's Company

This bedroom freely mixes blue lavender, royal blue, and green. Make it work for you:
-- Is it blue or is it lavender? Choose a wall color that goes both ways.
-- Accent with a deeper shade of the wall color, either deep purple or royal blue (the choice in this bedroom).
-- Pick another cool color to accent. Mimic the light/dark of the blue with photo mats in different shades.

Sweet and Savvy

The look is all ladylike in this powder blue room. Make it your own:
-- Wallpaper covers the walls and ceiling of this room, but it's easier to use a large-scale stencil to get the sweet motif.
-- Foil the treacly blue-and-white combo with dark wood furniture for high contrast.
-- Add a slipcovered green chair for just the right amount of bold color.

Fresh Yet Traditional

Floral fabrics + striped wallpaper + fresh green color = an updated traditional style. Make it work for you:
-- Go for fresh hues: The subtly patterned wallpaper would be blah save for its delicious mint green color.
-- Partner all the green with cheery yellow. It picks up the stripe in the wallpaper, too.
-- As always, white trim and furniture adds just the right balance for the smattering of colors.

Color Treat

Periwinkle packs an unexpected punch on a kitchen island. Make it work for you:
-- Try a fun color like this in a neutral setting so it really pops.

Come Together

Modern and traditional pieces live together in peace in this blue living room. Make it work for you:
-- The key to pulling pieces from different eras together is a unifying color. Dutch blue works for the white, clean-line sofa and the yellow-tinged antiques.

Match with Skill

Matchy-matchy works when you vary your use of color. Make it work for you:
-- Furniture shouldn't all be slipcovered in white with matching accent pillows; try putting a solid slipcover on a chair cushion and blue trim on the sofa.
-- Mix patterns, too. Blue floral curtains add interest but don't clash with the more graphic accent pillow.

Starring White

Don't forget white! No color says "summer" as clearly as breezy white. Make it work for you:
-- Washable slipcovers make white kid-friendly...really.
-- Add a variety of textures to an all-white room; for example, the shiny ottoman and distressed antique white chairs shown here.

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