coastal blues living room

Photo: Josh Gibson

A Bit of Blue Goes a Long Way

Blue and white is the only color combination I come back to time and again. Not blue with something else, not white with another hue—not even black. If you're like me, you just can't get enough blue and white, and you can't be swayed otherwise. What is it about this palette that gives it such widespread appeal and inspires such devotion?

To start, there's the fact that blue is the world's favorite color. Found all around us in nature, it knows no limits when it comes to a particular fashion or style, time period or geography. As for white, it shows blue off in its truest form, without distraction or competition. And though it delivers plenty of contrast, the combination is less stark than black and white. It's easy on the eyes. White sets blue up for success, which sets you and your decorating scheme up for success too.

In this casual and relaxed waterfront living room, a bit of blue goes a long way. You can use the color minimally in a mostly white space like this, and your room will still feel blue. To create flow, you sometimes need only weave a thread of a color from room to room.
coastal blues kitchen

Photo: Josh Gibson

The Perfect Accent

In a bright white kitchen, scatter rich blue accents from tiles to barstools and chairs, curtains, and centerpieces. These colorful moments draw attention all around the space, uniting your scheme and creating pockets of aesthetic excitement wherever you place a bit of blue.

For planning a casual coastal dining area you'll want to linger in, placing a pattern on chairs makes a bigger impact than using it elsewhere in a room. A pattern has the added benefit of hiding stains and handling wear and tear well, even more so if you have it printed on an outdoor fabric, as I often do.
coastal blues bedroom

Photo: Roger Davies

Play with Proportion

When decorating a room in similar blues, play with the proportion and scale of different prints.
coastal blues bathroom

Photo: Roger Davies

Set a Clean, Refreshing Tone

Whether you use it on walls or on cabinets, pale blue sets a clean, refreshing tone that's exactly right for your bathroom.

Try adding oversize drawer pulls and cabinet handles to bathroom vanities. They're a great way to keep your space feeling current and interesting.
coastal blues book cover

Discover More Blue-and-White Decorating Tips

From Coastal Blues: Mrs. Howard's Guide to Decorating with the Colors of the Sea and Sky, by Phoebe Howard. Copyright © 2018 by Phoebe Howard. Excerpted with permission by Abrams.