Why Designers Love This Color That Reads As A Neutral
If there’s one subtle, soothing hue designers love almost as much as neutrals, it has to be blue. Specifically, a pale, airy, barely there shade. So what’s the appeal? Light blue reflects natural light just as beautifully as white, but feels just a touch fresher. It’s also a very livable choice for walls and ceilings, fading into the background like your usual tans, creams and slates, so it’s perfect for those who just want to dip their toes into color. Inspired? Check out 15 spaces accented by the uplifting “neutral,” and learn how to embrace it in your own space.
One of the main draws of pale blue is how well it reflects light, visually expanding tighter spaces. In Magela Bruno and Marcelo Palacios’ home, a super soft shade brightens up a narrow entryway (without screaming “blue!”).
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Light blue also has a crisp, super-clean appeal that makes it perfect for use in bathrooms, like this serene his-and-hers ensuite.
H&H senior design editor Stacey Smithers used the hue on the walls in her own family bathroom, bringing in a hint of color that doesn’t compete with her vibrant shower curtain.
Another way to embrace blue in the bathroom is with a wall of pretty stone or ceramic tile. Here, the team at Sarah Richardson Design opted for a sophisticated small-scale mosaic.
Pale blue is also a dreamy choice for bedrooms, as evidenced by this refined space by Mazen El-Abdallah. Cool blue walls create a serene atmosphere — perfect for an end-of-day retreat.
For his own bedroom, H&H alum and retailer Michael Penney chose a wallpaper that brings together soft blue with crisp white — a delicate backdrop for his botanical art and vintage treasures.
Laying out a rug or coverlet in soft blue is a lower-commitment way to play with the color. We love how designer Cindy Bleeks paired light blue bedding with throw pillows in a more saturated tone in her principal bedroom.
Pale blue can also work in the kitchen. The key to keeping it from skewing too sweet? Choose a slightly muddier or grey-based shade, like the handsome cabinetry color used in this West Coast home.
Designer Sarah Hartill brought light blue onto the ceiling in this Scandi-style kitchen. The effect is fresh, sunny and livable.
A pale blue ceiling creates a similar vibe in a bathroom, like this one belonging to editor-in-chief Beth Hitchcock, bringing in the brightness and airiness of the outdoors.
Sarah Richardson applied the treatment in this handsome living room, painting the ceiling a super soft blue that reflects the light spilling in from the wall of French doors.
To set the stage for focus in this home office, the designers at Aqua Vitae Design chose a cool shade of blue for the walls. The effect is calming, without feeling sterile.
Light blue has a similar soothing effect in a child’s room. Here, designer Robyn Young went with a powdery, blue-green shade of paint to create a tranquil envelope for sleep.
Soft blue bedroom walls also let brighter bedding and art steal the show — and are a less stark choice than gallery white.
Wondering if you can really leave your go-to neutrals behind? Consider pairing light blue walls with crisp white frames, lighting and trim, like designer Cameron MacNeil did in his own home. The effect is undeniably fresh.