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Blue and White Rooms and Decorating with Blue and White

Updated on February 26, 2013

Blue and White Rooms

Thinking about decorating your room in blue and white? This color union is a match mirrored in the sky and clouds, the snowy mountains, the ocean and breaker waves. Perhaps this sympathy with nature is why blue and white decorating schemes have always been popular, from George and Martha Washington's dining room, to Louisa May Alcott's artistic sister's bedroom, to mansion living rooms in the deep south, and most recently, my own bedroom, freshly painted in an antique gray-blue and light cream last summer.

Blue and White Mount Vernon Dining Room

The Mount Vernon dining room is a dark turquoise-blue on the upper half of the walls, and has a white chair rail trim separating the lower half of the wall, which is a creamy white. This color was common in the deep south, where heat and sun sent richly dressed gentlemen and ladies into the plantation's mansion looking for refreshment in a cool, dimly lit room, made cooler and darker by the dark turquoise walls.

Mount Vernon Blue and White Dining Room

Blue and White Room in Louisa May Alcott's Home

Louisa May Alcott's Home

Louisa May Alcott's sister, May, was artistic and imaginative. Her room is a truly antiqued white plaster, with painted white panelling on some walls. High at the top of the walls, along the edge where the wall meets the ceiling, is a thin strip of dusky blue. On a few parts of various sloping walls, a faded creamy patchwork wallpaper adds some delicate texture. By far the best part of her room is her artwork, most of which she sketched directly on the walls or closet doors. Sloping ceilings complete the quaint picture.

Take a virtual panoramic tour of May Alcott's Room here

Blue and White Rooms in the Regency Era

This miniature eggshell blue and white room (below) mirrors the elegant room décor found in a majority of high-society houses during the Regency Era (the period when Jane Austen's books were written and published). The gold accents sectioning off portions of the wall and the white crown molding near the ceiling were often seen in parlors and dining rooms. This dusky eggshell blue color had many advantages. It was light enough to keep the room from absorbing all daylight, and it mirrored the sky outside, giving the sitting room a cheery, natural atmosphere. Richly colored paintings often adorned the walls, and thick rugs on the floor cushioned and softened footsteps.

Decorating in Eggshell Blue and White Molding

Modern "Regency Style" Blue and White Dining Room

This blue and white dining room, below, is an excellent example of a modern rendition of the old, classic style. Notice the same white molding and trim accents, and the same dusky blue on the walls. However, this modern room has cleaner lines, less filling up the wall space, less heavy upholstery and rugs, and accents in black and silvery gray instead of gold and cream. Modern interior decorators are finding that the timeless Regency Era styles have returned, to the delight of many.

Blue and White Dining Room Image

Blue and White Rooms with Delft

Blue and White Delft Decorating

Dutch ceramics, delft, and china add simple blue accents to a plain white room. Rather than painting walls a bold color or having to drastically change the make-up of the room, just stick with your plain white walls and add shelf or wall décor in the elegant and simple dark-blue delft, which is intricate in its design without being gaudy or over-done. Some have even added delft to rooms with a third color, and come away with a quaint and homey atmosphere reminiscent of country homes in America's heartland.

The appealing thing about delft, whether Dutch, Chinese, or Swedish, is that it is easy to find inexpensively if you're not a purist for the manufacturing brand. Thrift stores and flea markets, not to mention garage sales, have delft ceramics of every type. You're bound to find exactly what you're looking for at a price you're more than willing to pay.

Decorating with Delft in the Bathroom

Delft-style wallpaper covers the lower half of this small bathroom's walls, giving it the appearance of a larger room through its horizontal sectioning. A quaint delft vase is filled with colorful wooden tulips and a small stack of miniature delft plates graces the counter. Though the overabundance of blue and white in this bathroom could easily overpower the small space, the entrance of a third color into the mix calms and cheers the scene. Butter yellow towels, floor mat, and toilet-seat cover provide just the right balance of color.

Bathroom with Blue Accents

Blue and White Bathroom

Dark blue glass bottles and luminescent blue butterfly wings in a frame are the focal points in this second blue and white bathroom (below), made whiter by the fact that there are really no other colors in the room, except for a few streamlined stainless-steel accessories and a slightly mottled beige floor. The striking contrast between snow-white and vivid blue as seen in this room brings to mind the pure white buildings and brilliant blue roofs of Santorini, Greece.

White and Blue Bathroom Photos

Subtle Blue and White Rooms

One of the lovely attributes of the color blue is that it comes in many different shades that range from bold sapphire and basic navy to subtle gray-green blues and softer periwinkles. The rooms or accessories below show a more delicate blue and white scheme, often combined with a washed-out green, cream, or gray for a gentler look. 

Blue, White, and Gray/Green Room Photo

Eggshell Blue and White: My Design


The designs in the four surrounding photos are from a bedroom I recently designed and decorated myself. I wanted to imitate the Regency Era colors and white woodwork while retaining the cozier English-cottage style of living. The blue color has just a touch of aqua and gray that makes it not seem too moody or cold: a very cheerful blue during most hours of the day! I chose to use Anna French "Songbirds" wallpaper on the wall opposite the window to reflect the sunlight and keep the atmosphere from getting too dim or saturated. Though the wallpaper actually has no blue in it, the silvery overtones and delicate green hints in the leaves make the perfect complement to my blue walls. I was thrilled to find curtains (Chris Madden, "Mystique Embroidery") that matched my wallpaper and looked brilliant against my blue walls.

My nightstand, fully equipped with the best decoration accessory: old books! (Furniture from American Furniture Warehouse)
My nightstand, fully equipped with the best decoration accessory: old books! (Furniture from American Furniture Warehouse)

The Mood of Blue and White Rooms

One piece of caution I have for you regarding decorating in blue and white is to be careful not to overdo the blue. Blue is known for being a calming, soothing, relaxing color, and it will automatically do exactly that to the atmosphere of the room you bring it into! Therefore, blue is best for bedrooms and bathrooms, where the atmosphere should be tranquil and peaceful. Choose your color and placing of the color wisely. Too saturated of a blue can seem so low-key that it can actually feel depressing or saddening (hence the musical genre: "the Blues").

Too dark or too much of blue will make a room frigid or icy, dark or dim. Blue is on the "cool" side of the color wheel, along with green and purple, so it is best in rooms that are naturally warm, sunny, and cheerful. When I use a large amount of blue in a room I like to balance it with brighter, warmer colors (gold, yellow, red, orange, spring green), or I choose a shade of blue that has warmer colors mixed in. Shades of turquoise blue or sea blue are wonderful for this because they have a bit of yellow added to their blue, and yellow is a warm color. With lighter colors of blue I like a creamier white instead of shocking snow-white because this also "warms" up the color tone of the room.

White is known for purity, cleanliness, innocence, health, sanitation, and sterilization. For this reason, white is great in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and craft rooms! Add a bit of navy blue to your white and you'll get an atmosphere that is pure, refreshing, and soothing.

© 2010 Jane Grey


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