There are many colors that go with light blue – a comforting and popular shade that promotes feelings of inner calm and peace. On the color wheel, it sits on the colder side, but with the right pairing it can be warmed up and brought to life. It's gaining popularity as a choice of paint, used on walls. It's the next step on from greys and beige neutrals, using light blue as a base and working to build color on top.
Paint and color expert, Annie Sloan, says that light blue helps us deal with life worries. 'Light blue is the ultimate color for creating calmness and quiet in a busy stressful world. Just think of how looking at a soft pale sky in summer makes you feel - relaxed, reassured, at one with nature. Just take care with the light blue you choose because light blue can be very sweet and baby-like,' says Annie. 'For walls look for something sophisticated – a blue with a hint of grey, lilac or green even.'
For the best colors that go with blue in lighter shades, we talk to leading interior designers who share their ideas.
Light blue is becoming more and more popular as people move away from treating it as a cool color combination only for bathrooms and bedrooms. Think outside the box about where you use this shade in your home and use it in living spaces, like offices, kitchens and living rooms. It's a little more unexpected but can still be energetic and fun. 'I love light blue,' says interior designer, Natalia Miyar. 'It’s a great color. It welcomes everyone it doesn’t alienate anyone.'
'I think it just has this very natural and soothing feeling. You feel welcomed. I just think blue is an incredibly dynamic shade that has so many different impressions. It makes you feel calm and at home.'
Light blue and white is a classic pairing, evocative of seaside schemes and postcards of Grecian islands where white sugar cube villages tumble down to the water's edge. This color association means light blue and white come together to create a calming design.
In this example from Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab), Little Boy Blue has been painted on the walls, a light and warming baby blue shade, while white has been used in the soft furnishings as an accent. The bedroom color idea works together to create a clean, soothing palette which works perfectly for the intention of the bedroom, encouraging sleep and relaxation.
Light blue and red are another strong pairing. In this instance, the light blue acts as a base, allowing the red headboard to take the stage. In color theory, red is close to light blue on the opposite side of the spectrum, meaning that science explains why they work well together.
This combination is illustrated here in Natalia Miyar (opens in new tab)'s design at Mayfair hotel, The Twenty Two (opens in new tab). The project honors the color blue and uses the shade in various hues throughout the hotel. In this room a light blue is picked for the walls, and a bright, cheery scarlet red velvet headboard idea adds a focal point and a touch of luxury to the room. 'Blue is a color that goes with so many colors,' says Natalia. 'In this bedroom of The Twenty Two, it is a really classic combination and has worked really well.'
Navid Mirtorabi, proprietor of The Twenty Two, worked with Natalia to take inspiration from 18th-century classical French design, giving it a modern twist with rich, playful textures and custom upholstered pieces.
Light blue works beautifully when juxtaposed against wooden tones. Brown is a dark tone of orange, which on the color wheel sits opposite blue, so the two colors complement each other. In this example, light blue and the brown from wood create an opulent and grand look, which is exactly the intention of designer Bunny Williams (opens in new tab).
'At a client's request, we undertook the process of recreating precisely the same shade of blue as the drawing room in the 2005 movie, Pride & Prejudice,'explains Bunny.
'We watched it repeatedly because each frame contained so many different shades. With master painter John LaPolla, we ultimately achieved the right one. The blue wall paneling idea is a bold backdrop for the client’s collection of contemporary art and an 18th-century Georgian mirror presiding over the fireplace. With bare floors, the room feels airy and open, perfect for Southampton where this house is located.'
In the corner of the room, the golden glow of the onward room lures us through a doorway.
For a more dramatic contrast, black and light blue create a sleek and sophisticated look. In this home, designed by Danielle Brustman (opens in new tab) and The Stylesmiths (opens in new tab), the result of this color combination is artistic and chic.
The walls are painted in a light blue hue, but the black walls and fireplace, plus pieces of furniture dotted around the room – the dining table and chest of drawers prevent the baby blue tone from being too soft. Instead, the result is dramatic and stylish, a similar effect to a black and white monochrome color scheme, but with an inclination of color.
The family was inspired by the New York apartment of model Cameren Dell'Orefice, using color and monochromatic schemes throughout the house to give it atmosphere and a distinctly sophisticated feel. For extra contrast, the circular dining table was refashioned with black japan lacquer with a black glass table top for an extra sheen.
According to color theory, blue and orange are complementary shades on the color wheel. This explains why blue is a color that goes with orange that work together in their varying forms. A lighter shade of blue, combined with a subtler hue of orange, like terracotta, is a great match for your interior scheme – warming up the blue with the warmth of the orange, while the blue brings a great neutral base for your orange shade. This Ligne Roset (opens in new tab) Enki sofa looks beautiful against a wall painted in a light terracotta.
A classic color combination that is referenced throughout generations of interior design, and has deep roots in artistic theory, made popular by the works of Van Gogh, blue and yellow make for a great combination.
So what makes light blue a good color that goes with yellow? 'When designing a space I always think about contrasting with complement,' says Notting Hill-based interior designer, Natalie Tredgett (opens in new tab). 'For example in a home in south London I took the lead from an amazing blue in a cushion, mimicked this on the wall in a soft blue and then contrasted with vibrant yellow in the furniture.
'Although to the eye these colors stand out against one another, their tones complement one another within a space and therefore make a great pairing.'
'Blue and green should never be seen,' goes the age-old myth, but their contrasting nature can make for an interesting design when paired carefully, even though they are clashing colors on the color wheel. Both with strong associations with nature, they are vivid tones, but using nature as inspiration should be a good reason to give the combination a go. 'Colors that go together in nature are great to study and can show you have to use nature when considering color and how they work so beautifully together,' says designer Amy Lau (opens in new tab).
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. The blue paint has been pushed all over the walls, the cornices and on the ceiling for a unique ceiling decorating idea, making the cabinet really stand 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.
Light blue is another color that goes with pink. Although very different hues, they can appear complementary together given that a cool shade of pink and a light blue is used. The pink will warm up the coolness of the blue shade, while the blue stops the pink from being too vibrant a scheme.
'I love pairing something in the pink family like raspberry or blush,' says New York-based designer, Jennifer Hunter (opens in new tab). 'It adds a pop and fun accent.'
'Light blue evokes a sense of calmness and zen when paired with pink,' Jennifer adds. 'I love Farrow & Ball's Borrowed Light – it's the perfect shade of pale blue without going too baby blue.'
Brand consultant, Lucy Williams has recently undergone a renovation at her west London Victorian home, featuring a living room color drenched in Farrow & Ball's light blue shade, Yonder. For Lucy, light blue is nostalgic. 'I love that sort of light blue that’s reminiscent of painted shutters in France or Greece; anything that works as a little nod to warmer climes is good with me!'
Lucy's plush living room is a warm and welcoming space, debunking the myths that light blue is a cold color. 'To me, it can be so encasing and cozy when done in the right shade and with the right pairing.'
It's not just reserved for walls either. 'One of my favorite ways to use blue is just on woodwork. Window and door frames look so pretty when painted in pale blue and the change it can make to an otherwise all-white room is dramatic.'
Also think about going monochromatic with your light blue paint, and push it around the room. 'Take the color across the ceiling and skirting boards to save it from feeling at all drab or cold,' says Lucy. 'Ironically an intense color feels more intense next to a square of white than when it’s allowed to take the whole space.'
'Light blue can be very Zen. Great for meditating. You can use it any room, but I would avoid it in a dining room, unless you want very zoned-out quiet dinners,' advises Annie Sloan of the eponymous paint brand.