BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Art-Inspired Blue and Yellow Interior Design

From paintings by Vermeer to Van Gogh, some of the most striking pieces of art feature the colours blue and yellow. It’s a pleasing pairing: cheerful yellow balances calming blue. The impact of the colours varies with their shades: light pastels create a softer look, while darker shades make for bold decor. Inspired by some of the most famous paintings in the world, take a look at some interior design ideas that use the magic colour coupling.

Bright colors bring a neutral room to life

milkmaid vermeer

Johannes Vermeer's The Milkmaid (Photo:

Though the walls of the kitchen are plain, they help to make the milkmaid’s clothing all the more vivid. She almost seems to protrude from the canvas, along with the bread rolls and table drapery. The splashes of bright yellow and rich blue immediately draw the eye, anchoring it to the centre of the otherwise plain canvas.


The same principle can be applied to interior design. The wood floors and high, white walls with their beautiful tall windows make for a pretty plain space. Two pops of colour are all that’s needed to add a splash of fun to this otherwise neutral room. A modern yellow sofa complements the more traditional and elaborate blue chair. The bright shades are perfect for a room offered lots of sunlight.

Pair dark shades together for a bold impression


Vincent van Gogh's Café Terrace at Night (Photo:

Almost the entire surface is vibrant with some shade or combination of yellow and blue. Even the shadowy cobblestones are comprised of dark blue brush strokes. The sky and buildings are all variations of cobalt and deep blue and the café  and window lights are an almost orange-yellow. Though it is a limited palette, there is a wealth of shading and colour variation within the world of the painting.



Make a bold choice by pairing two deeper shades of yellow and blue together. Such stand-out colours work with modern architecture and can support more complicated patterns and textures. For example, the black and white zig-zag rug is a fun and equally bold counterpart for the neon yellow and turquoise-blue.


Take a cue from van Gogh and don’t shy away from covering entire surfaces with colour. This baby blue wall  paint is easy on the eyes and is perfect for creating a welcoming guest room. Matched with a glass-knobbed yellow dresser, the decor is sweet and refreshing.
Pops of yellow brighten any room

Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night (Photo:

The predominantly blue scene allows for the bursts of yellow to stand out, creating the illusion of starry light. The colours complement each other well as the yellow helps to guide the eye around the canvas, from the swirling galaxies to the gentle glow of the town below.
blue room yellow lamp


This sophisticated combination of wood furnishing with powder blue walls allows the sleek and the antique to be combined. Buttery-yellow, textured lamp bases are topped with navy shades. The lamp pair is just the right amount of yellow to stand out against the otherwise basic decor scheme.

blue yellow kitchen


This modern kitchen space is the epitome of sleek. Minimalist appliances and furnishings make for a cool-shaded palette that could use a little pop of sunshine. The yellow cabinetry becomes a central focus, preventing the room from looking too sterile.

Pair citrus yellow with pastel blue for a softer look

turner norham

Joseph Mallord William Turner's Norham Castle, Sunrise (Photo:

This dreamy oil painting resembles a watercolour–blurry shapes and diluted colours make for an mirage-like image. Layers of paint give the illusion of reflection and mirroring, as the mix of yellow and blue gives way to moments of green and purple.


This soft colour scheme is almost candy-like. Pastel green and robin’s egg blue create a soft ambience. Citrus yellow pillows and chairs bring vivid dashes of colour to an otherwise subdued room, while accents of gold and wood accentuate the contours of the mantle and walls, coffee table and chairs. Creamy accessories like the sofa, vase, and rug also help to unify the decor.

elle decor


Pastel blue walls are defined with pale green molding. Two statement chairs stand out with daffodil-yellow, emphasizing their interesting geometrical lines. A peachy couch and trunk-turned-coffee table make for an eclectic and charming combination.


Within the classic pairing of yellow and blue comes a wealth of options for personalizing your decor. Bright shades make for a bold look while pastel and citrus shades create a softer ambience.

Choose to make a statement piece stand out by featuring a yellow or blue accessory and brighten a plain room. Cover the walls and furniture with deeper shades to create a more sophisticated look. With a little imagination and creative decor, you can turn any room into artful design.

Alexandra Wong

Alexandra Wong is interested in design and home decor. She has lived and studied in Canada, England (Oxford, no less), and the United States. She writes pieces on art and lifestyle that reflect her passions.


  1. Love this, Van Gogh has always been one of my favourite painters so love the colour scheme :)

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.