The Best Light-Blue Paint Colors for Every Room, According to Designers
Blue is a timeless choice for interiors, but in recent years, softer, summer-fresh shades, ranging from icy blue to pale blue-greens, have become a go-to for paint companies and interior designers hoping to capture a certain je ne sais quoi. Also known as powder blue or French blue by industry experts, light blue is a fresh, fun, and relaxing shade. Design professionals nationwide are selecting it for kitchen cabinetry, trim, built-in shelving, bathroom vanities, and more. So what exactly makes pale blue interiors so refreshing?
Perhaps the color reminds us of the sea, sky-blue hydrangea, or traditional Provencal houses with pastel shutters. Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, believes that light, dusty blues also conjure a certain nostalgia and comfort. "It's the color of faded denim. It's the color of the sky, and there's an immediate connection to it because of its roots in things that are natural and comfortable," she says. Patrick O'Donnell, Farrow & Ball's international brand ambassador, says these shades are "effortlessly easy to live with," and coordinate with a range of art, furniture, and architectural styles.
How to Choose Light-Blue Paint Colors
While cheerful and uplifting, the perfect shade of powder blue can be difficult to select. "Be careful with undertones," Wadden says. "With this light of a color, too many red undertones will make it look periwinkle. Shades with a hint of yellow keep it looking blue rather than purple." She notes that you should also make sure it has a touch of gray to it. "You don't want the color to be too sweet, like robin's egg or baby blue," she says.
Nivara Xaykao, associate manager of color marketing and development at Benjamin Moore, says blues are "pretty malleable" but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Are you keeping any existing colors in the space like the trim and door? If so, she recommends making sure the blue has similar undertones to those colors.
Lighting conditions also change the appearance of blues in a room. "If the space has natural light, is it a predominantly cool or warm cast? Is it bright or pretty shaded?" asks Xaykao. "For example, in cool, dim light, I may opt for a brighter blue with a little green in it to offset the lighting conditions."
The Best Light-Blue Paint Colors
We turned to top interior designers for their powder-blue paint color recommendations. These are their favorite choices for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and more.
Favorite Light-Blue Colors from the Paint Pros
Benjamin Moore: For bright, icy blue shades, Xaykao recommends Benjamin Moore's Windmill Wings, which she calls a "very charismatic periwinkle color" from the brand's 2020 color trends palette. "Some other good options with varying amounts of blue and violet are Serenata, Riviera Azure, Sunrise, and Soft Jazz," she says.
Farrow & Ball: O'Donnell suggests Farrow & Ball's Light Blue, which he describes as exquisite in its ability to appear either blue, green, or gray depending on the light. "Pale Powder is our softest duck-egg shade and would work beautifully in a coastal weatherboard home," he says.
Sherwin-Williams: Wadden recommends Sleepy Blue, Tradewind, or Krypton for a more classic look. "These are typically what come to mind when we think powder blue," she says. "For something a bit more modern, Stardew is one of our most popular dusty blues and one of my personal favorites."
Where to Use Light Blue in Your Home
Light blue works in any room of the house, from the kitchen to a relaxing master bath to a children's playroom. If you're looking to design a cheery, traditional space, use icy blue shades with white. "Blue and white is a timeless combination that's been used in design for hundreds of years, from paint to pottery," Wadden says. "So in a way, it's a very traditional color, but now we've got a modern take on it."
For a touch of whimsy, patterned wallpaper and coordinating pastel blue trim can create exuberant energy. Tori Alexander, owner of Nashville's Alexander Interiors, recommends incorporating the color palette from wallpaper into the rest of a space for a complete and sophisticated look.
When it comes to materials, Wadden prefers pairing dusty blue with white marble or another natural, honed stone. "It also can be super-refined with sleek metal finishes," she says. "Or you can warm it up; pair it with terra-cotta tiles for a desert-inspired look, or bold-patterned tiles for a more bohemian feel."