HOW TO CHOOSE THE BLUE HUE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Blue is a popular paint pick for MANY reasons. It’s calming, classic, coastal, country – subtle, striking, and sensual. But there’s one thing it isn’t, and that’s easy to pick.
And while I’ve written a blog post about the best blue and blue-green paint colors, we need to have a lil’ chat before you whip out your paintbrush. Why? Because while they may seem simple, all blues are NOT created equal…
TRUE BLUE PAINT COLORS
Short of going ‘primary blue,’ it can be hard to peg down a true blue, particularly once you start mixing in gray.
Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue
A colour like Newburyport Blue is more likely to give a ‘true-blue vibe’ without entering the primary range.
BLUE PAINT COLORS WITH PURPLE UNDERTONES
These blues lean slightly more toward purple/violet without committing all the way. A blue-violet often feels a bit cooler than neutral or softer blues. Technically, these are blues with a touch of red (and you know how technical I am – wink wink).
Benjamin Moore Steel Wool
In our last home (above), it was a toss-up as to whether our guests thought the paint colour was blue, blue-purple, or gray!
BLUE PAINT COLORS WITH GREEN UNDERTONES
I’m not going to say that blue-greens are WARM, but they’re definitely a bit softer and more inviting looking than shades of blue-violet. Blue-greens ‘technically’ have a touch of yellow in them.
Benjamin Moore Beach Glass
Sherwin Williams Tidewater
Above two photos: Benjamin Moore Silver Marlin
In the above two photos of Silver Marlin, things look pretty darn green in spots! However, this combines lighting and exposure, as Silver Marlin is a beautiful blend of blue, green, and gray!
Why does all of this matter?
Because you want to make sure you pick the type of blue you like and avoid the ones you don’t. For example, if you don’t like purple, there is a whole WHACK of blues that you’ll want to avoid; the same thing for green.
HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT WHICH SHADE OF BLUE IS BEST?
- Ask the paint store which side of the blue scale your fave sits on.
- Compare. Pick your FAVE four to six shades of blue and compare them (even if one or two are faves, grab some more). This will help you notice how undertones shift from one to another.
The above photo shows three of Sherwin William’s more popular blue paint colors.
For each one of these color strips, there are MORE comparables if you want to shift more green or violet – it just depends on which direction you’re heading in!
Sherwin Williams Jubilee
BLUE PAINT COLORS IN NORTH-FACING ROOMS
To paint your north-facing room a beautiful blue, you need to tread carefully. Northern exposure is a cool gray/blue light. Adding blue to the walls will only compound the ‘cool look’ of the room, and northern light also enhances cool colors.
Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue
If you’ve fallen in love with a cool-toned blue, get ready for some serious interior work with lighting, accents, and texture to add balance and visual warmth to the space.
Benjamin Moore Lucerne
However, if you’re worried about blue looking too cool for your room, consider a blue leans into green so that it’s a bit softer.
BLUE & SOUTH-FACING ROOMS
Unlike a north-facing room, a southern room just loooooves blue. Why? South-facing light is warm/yellow, and painting a southern room a warm colour only packs on the heat! By painting the walls a cool blue tone, you’ll help balance the warm sun rays and add serious colour balance to the space.
However, it’s important that you LOVE blue, as in the evening, you won’t have that warm sunshine to balance things and will have to rely on your interior lighting to add balance.
Read more: The Best Paint Colors for South-Facing Rooms
BLUE & THE BEST LIGHT BULBS/KELVINS
How your blue looks can be subject to the type of light you shine on it…
WARM-TEMPERATURE LIGHT BULBS
When there isn’t any daylight, you might find that warm bulbs (particularly old-school bulbs) can cast a yellow/gold glow on the walls. When this mixes with blue, it can create a kind of blue/green blend (especially the 2700K range, give or take).
DAYLIGHT LIGHT BULBS
While personally, I find daylight bulbs a bit too crisp for everyday living; they can be nice in a bathroom.
Daylight bulbs will show your blue at its most true, but remember that this higher Kelvin isn’t a warm, friendly-looking light. I’ve found that men often prefer daylight bulbs, whereas women often like the softness of a warmer light (3500K is often a happy medium).
COLD-TEMPERATURE LIGHT BULBS
There’s not a single room that I would recommend these for – nada.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WHITE TRIM COLORS FOR BLUE?
There are three ways to paint your trim when you’re using blue.
1. COOL WHITE
Cool whites can keep up the crisp, clean, cool vibe of your blues. Remember, it’s best if your white trim is consistent throughout your home, and a cool white trim won’t accommodate a wide range of colors.
2. TRUE WHITE
Choosing a simple white like Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace is often the safest bet when painting with blue. However, it ALL depends on your décor style and other features, such as any white cabinets/existing whites – it’s best not to mix and match your whites!
3. WARM WHITE
A warm white will slightly contrast with the blue, creating a pretty combo as long as you don’t go TOO warm on the white; subtle and simple is best (i.e., Benjamin Moore White Dove.)
So, now that we’ve covered the basics of blue, it’s time to pick your FAVE, so head over to this blog post to see some of my faves!
PEOPLE ALSO ASK…
WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR SHADE OF BLUE?
It depends on which depth you’re looking for. Benjamin Moore Hale Navy is one of the best darker navy blues, as is Sherwin Williams Cyberspace. In the light range, Sherwin Williams Tradewind is popular, as well as Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue and Ocean Air.
WHAT’S THE MOST CALMING SHADE OF BLUE?
Not sure which blue is right for you?
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ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2018, AWESOME UPDATED FOR YOU IN 2023