18 Ways to Use the Color Blue

From aquamarine to indigo, this versatile color weaves its way through every room of a California house. Take the tour with HGTV Magazine.

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Victoria Pearson

Ready for a Change

Rosie and Joe McNamara’s light-filled house in Los Angeles once looked more Italian villa than beach bungalow. “When we bought it a decade ago, there were lots of small rooms that I filled with Mediterranean-inspired pieces in red, gold, and mustard shades,” says Rosie. The couple kept the moody palette for years, until three kids (from left, Maddie Jo, 7; Jack, 4; and Joey, 6) and two yellow Labs joined the family and the space began to feel cramped. After knocking down walls and adding a third floor, Rosie was ready to redecorate.

Victoria Pearson

Soothing Shades

“It was hard letting go of the color scheme I’d been married to for so long,” she admits. Then one day she stopped by her friend Suzanne Ascher’s design shop, Waterleaf Interiors in Manhattan Beach. She loved everything in the store and worked with Suzanne to fill her house with sea-to-sky tones. “Blue is calming and easy to live with,” says Rosie. “Finally we have a home we won’t outgrow.”

Victoria Pearson

Dining Nook

Do blue with: cushions. Cabana stripe and solid blue fabrics were laminated before they were made into cushions in this family dining spot, so they’re easy to wipe down.

Victoria Pearson

Living Room

Do blue with: fabric. Open to the kitchen and patio, this family space is a far cry from its former stuffy self. The blue quotient is filled with a linen slipcovered sofa, Lacefield Designs pillows, and a ceramic garden stool (emissaryusa.com). The rest of the room has lots of quiet sandy tones, including a jute rug (meridameridian.com), raffia ottoman, and seashell-frame mirror.

Victoria Pearson

Kitchen

Do blue with: cabinets. The fabric inside the pantry cupboard doors (Zanzibar by F. Schumacher) has just a hint of robin’s-egg blue, but it was enough to inspire the color palette for the rest of the house.

Victoria Pearson

Kitchen

Designer Suzanne chose Irogon Blue paint by Dunn-Edwards for the cupboard itself and the kitchen island base. The 2-inch Calacatta marble countertop and pendant lanterns keep the room looking light. The caned barstools with arms and backs feel secure for kids.

Victoria Pearson

Master Bedroom

Do blue with: wallpaper. Rosie was nervous about trading her sandy-gold walls for gray-blue sisal wallpaper. “But it’s amazing—sophisticated yet still warm and casual,” she says. Choosing the fabrics—from the leaf print for the cushions and pillows to the striped linen for the bench—showed Rosie how versatile blue can be. “You can use so many different shades and they all work well together.”

Victoria Pearson

Joey's Room

Do blue with: a drum shade. Joey’s bedroom has a nautical feel, with its built-in twin storage beds connected by a latched storage unit for stashing books and trophies. Rosie went with a preppy vibe for her middle child, adding blue and red stripes—in the rug (melrosecarpet.com), window treatments, and bolster pillows—and a navy plaid drum shade.

Victoria Pearson

Maddie Joe's Room

Do blue with: bedding. Maddie Jo wanted a really girly room, so Suzanne teamed lots of pink and coral with shades of blue. The bedding and the turquoise pouf are from Serena & Lily, and the oyster linen Roman shade is trimmed with a 1.5-inch border of aqua banding.

Victoria Pearson

Kids' Bathroom

Do blue with: tile. In the bathroom shared by all three kids, Suzanne incorporated a row of blue glass mosaic tiles on the walls and a blue flower design in the hexagon-tiled floor. The watery shades are tied together with a damask shower curtain from Target.

Victoria Pearson

Playroom

Do blue with: a rug. “An extra sleeping area for guests is always a bonus,” says Suzanne. She designed the kids’ playroom with a daybed surrounded by a bright floral curtain, which makes it the perfect spot for hiding or playing pretend theater. The 5?.5-foot wool rug (meridameridian.com) has soft blue, cream, and green woven in.

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