Color Combinations: Activating Blue

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last year, we did a series on color psychology and went through a variety of colors for all the rooms of your home. We learned that colors can have a mental, emotional or physical effect on those living in a space.

The great thing about colors, though, is that we can combine and accentuate them to heighten wanted effects or to dampen unwanted ones. You like blue in the bedroom but you don’t want its serious, masculine feel? You enjoy its calming effects in the living room but would rather avoid falling asleep? Here are a few combinations you might want to try to bring a little energy and activate those blues.

Blue and Yellow: Exotic Waters

Remember Dory from Fiding Nemo? This exotic and quizzical little fish is deep blue and bright yellow. The combination of ocean blue and pure yellow brings up images of deep oceans dotted with colorful fish, of tropical parrots and of a field of flowers against a blue sky.

Blue and yellow is great for kids’ bedrooms or play rooms. Bright yellow encourages memory and activity. It’s the color of the sun and of daylight.

Using yellow alongside blue will help control the serious and sometimes sleepy blue, and the blue will dampen the potential hostile effect of yellow. You will want to use more blue than yellow, because yellow can be very distracting and even lead to hostility. But if you strike a good balance, you can decorate a room for just the right amount of fun while not forgetting the quieter moments of life. As a bonus, you’ll feel like you’re living in a warm tropical lagoon!

Blue and Orange: Thoughtful Attention

Orange is one of my favorite colors to use against blue. They are complementary, so you’re never going to miss the mark with this combination.

Orange and blue is a great color combination because the orange is a call for attention and action. It’s less abrasive than yellow and less aggressive than red. Orange stands in this happy middle of positive enthusiasm and warmth. Orange is the color of fire, of bright autumn leaves and of pumpkins. It recalls the fall season when children go back to school and life regains its normal speed after the summer break.

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Orange will have a similar effect to yellow when paired with blue, but it has maturity that the blue-yellow combination lacks. Blue and orange are perfectly suited for a guest bedroom, a living room or a kitchen. Because of its brightness and its use to call attention in ads and driving signs, it’s best to use orange as an accent color. Blue will keep its enthusiasm under control and call for a positive but thoughtful attention to your surroundings.

Blue and Violet: Spiritual Royalty

Because violet sits right next to blue in the primary and secondary color wheel (it is a mix of blue and red), they tend to work well together. However, if you want to use those two colors in a room, you need to watch out for a few things.

Violet is a color that represents both spirituality and wealth. In the times where sumptuary laws were still in place (laws that controlled what clothes and color people could wear according to their class or role in society), violet was reserved for royalty, and the consequences for wearing it without being part of royalty were severe. Any room with a sizable amount of violet will have an instant feminine feel that will call to mind princesses or Audrey Hepburn.

Blue and violet is perfect for a quiet reading room, a meditation room or even a crafts room. Adding violet to blue in a bedroom will add a touch of femininity, but it might exacerbate the sleep-inducing effects of blue. Both colors are considered cold, and a room using them will induce quiet contemplation rather than action.

Blue and Green: A Walk in the Woods

Green is on the other side of blue on the primary and secondary color wheel (being a mix of blue and yellow) and is also considered a cool color. However, green is a compromise between blue’s collected coolness and yellow’s bright activity: it recalls slow growth and the powers of plants.

Green appears aplenty in nature, and the combination of green and blue, as seen in a forest against a blue sky, is a common one. Green will counteract the static effect of blue with a spurt of growth, fertility and prosperity. Green means go: it is a positive color that invites happiness and a strong connection to nature.

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Blue and green are perfect for a master bedroom, a living room or a kitchen. Blue and green will give a touch of maturity and wisdom to any room; use this color combination in places where discussions and dialogue happen. It is a bit bland for older children or teens, but is suitable for babies because of its links to both calm and growth. Blue and green will bring you closer to nature and make you feel like you’re taking a hike through sun-dappled woods every day.

What’s your favorite color to use with blue? Have you tried any of these combinations in your own home? Share your stories!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.