Why: Be transported to Mediterranean climes with this powerful, evocative tone – but avoid using in already cold rooms, as it won’t endow it with seaside sunshine warmth, however hard you wish.
- For a clean, crisp finish, work with lashings of white and the odd touch of smart navy blue. To instil a summer feel, try to keep whites and blues balanced.
- Pare back your scheme to add warmth – yes, less clutter and more stripped wooden flooring and teak furniture will work with blue to create a seaside vibe.
- Celebrate your decorating bravery by teaming sky brights with white, orange and mid-green for a light and lively atmosphere.
Top tip: Intensify your colour choice by matching it to the exact hue of your sofa. Make the most of those companies that offer a specialist paint mixing service.
Why: Ideal in cold, northern light, Scandinavian blue-grey shades are a smooth and sophisticated option, particularly when contrasted with lovely warm woods.
- Use with other colours from the mid-century modern set – olive green, mustard yellow and tomato red – or aim for a more ‘heritage’ look by contrasting with striking black.
- Follow the classic Gustavian or Scandinavian palettes and blend with oodles of white and simply patterned fabrics. Muted greens and silvers provide an instant booster, too.
- Bring muted tones into the 21st century using streamlined furniture in darker shades, such as charcoal, chocolate and ebony. Lift with textures rather than pattern.
Top tip: Add detail and contrast by painting smaller areas and woodwork in a toning shade of grey, rather than the usual white.
Crown originals paint: Aqua 1997, Blue 1980, and Grey 1952, all £15.98 for 2.5l
Why: Cool, calming and surprisingly warm when used right, greys suit the modern decorating mood incredibly well.
- Alongside pale woods such as ash, beech and maple, these soft tones look best teamed with soothing off-whites and warm neutrals.
- Glam up a pastel-grey scheme with black and white additions – think Art Deco-inspired furniture, gloss surfaces and soft-sheen fabrics.
- Play on the subtlety of cool colours and use them to emphasise fine detailing, like embossed surfaces, intricate weaves and hand-drawn designs.
Top tip: Mix and match two patterned wallpapers using similar designs but different base colours for a room with an interesting personality.
Wallpapers: Norcombe in Welkin, £44.50 per roll; Cones in Lint, £38 per roll; both The Little Green Paint Company
Why: Want to recreate that all-enveloping feeling of the night sky? These inky blues and dusky charcoal tones are the way to do it.
- These dark colours work well to create intimate small spaces, but they can be intimidating in larger rooms – break up with blue-and-white patterned fabrics and rows of framed pictures.
- Want a bold lift in a rich grey living room or kitchen? Just add bright red, punchy orange or vibrant green accents.
- Give deep blue an opulent twist by teaming it with cream and old gold. Avoid pattern to make it slick and contemporary.
Top tip: Create layers and depth by using varying shades of grey on walls. Define with flashes of white and green.
Why: A dash of blue can turn a plain space into anything from seaside chic to Oriental opulence.
- All it takes to opt for classic coastal is a dash of mid-blue in an all-white scheme. Ticking stripes – of varying widths – do this best.
- Think Twenties charm and combine powder- or sky-blue with muted tangerines and chalk white in a pattern-rich palette.
- Get edgy with an urban-inspired selection of shades: think inky blue, charcoal, oyster and aubergine, and make the scheme more full-bodied with a deep-blue painting or glassware display.
Top tip: Dark denim fabrics really enrich a fresh blue-and-white bedroom. All-white furniture looks extra fresh.
Polperro bed linen, from £12; Helston throw, £60; Pebbles bedspread, £67.50; Zennor denim cushion covers, £17.50 each, all Nimbus