How to decorate with blues and greys

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.

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.


living area with blue wall and blue sofa with cushions

(Image credit: TBC)
  • 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.

Muted blues

bedroom with muted blue wall and wooden floor

(Image credit: TBC)

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

Pastel greys

living area with fireplace and arm chair and grey wall

(Image credit: TBC)

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

Moody greys

living area with moody grey wall and fireplace and arm chair

(Image credit: TBC)

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.

Accent blues

bedroom with white wooden floor

(Image credit: TBC)

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


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.