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Is blue too dark for a living room?

Is blue too dark for a living room?

When selecting a color for your living room, blue is a popular choice. However, some shades of blue can come across as too dark or somber for this main gathering space in your home. The key is choosing the right tone of blue that creates a soothing yet uplifting ambiance.

Quick Answer

Blue is not inherently too dark for a living room if you select the right shade. Lighter blues like sky blue, powder blue, and robin’s egg work well. For a bolder blue, look for tones with gray, green, or purple undertones to avoid going too dark. Deep navy or royal blues can be too dramatic unless used sparingly as an accent wall.

The Benefits of Blue

There are many reasons blue is an excellent color choice for a living room:

  • It has a calming, tranquil effect which is relaxing in a living space.
  • Blue evokes feelings of trust, loyalty, and depth according to color psychology.
  • It complements many other colors like beige, white, yellow, and green.
  • Blue works with a variety of decor styles from coastal to modern.
  • It makes a room feel larger and more open since blue recedes in space.

With so many positives, it’s easy to see the appeal of blue walls, furniture, and accessories in a living area. The key is sticking to light or mid-toned blues to keep things airy and uplifting.

Lighter Blue Hues

The following pale blue colors work beautifully in a living room without being too somber or dark:

  • Sky blue – Has a light, dreamy, cloud-like effect. Pairs well with white trim.
  • Powder blue – A very soft, muted blue great for creating a soothing retreat.
  • Ice blue – Crisp and clean-looking. Works well in modern spaces.
  • Robin’s egg blue – A cheerful pastel blue reminiscent of spring.
  • Periwinkle – Has a touch of purple for a warmer, quaint feel.
  • Baby blue – Youthful and sweet. Great if you have kids.

These lighter shades of blue are recommended for walls, furniture upholstery, area rugs, and accessories like pillows and throws. They provide tranquility without darkness.

Bolder Blues

Some deeper blues can also work well if they have subtle gray, green, or purple undertones to soften them. Here are some bolder blue options:

  • Denim blue – Has just enough gray to keep it friendly and relaxed.
  • Duck egg blue – Touches of gray and green tone down the brightness.
  • French blue – A romantic Parisian-inspired shade softened with gray.
  • Teal blue – Vibrant but still inviting with hints of green.
  • Indigo – A deep purple-tinged blue that adds drama.

These stronger blues are great as accent walls or on one large piece of furniture like a sofa. Just balance them out with lighter tones elsewhere.

Avoid Dark Royal & Navy Blues

While beautiful colors, royal and navy blues may be too bold and dark for a whole living room. Here’s when to exercise caution:

  • Royal blue can feel imposing and theatrical if overdone.
  • Navy blue can read as stark and cold in a larger area.
  • Dark blues like these absorb light which can make a room feel small and cavelike.
  • Too much deep blue can come across as formal and stuffy.

If you love rich royal or navy blues, use them sparingly on one accent wall or piece of furniture. Balance it out with plenty of lighter blues, off-white trim, and warm wood tones.

Tips for Decorating With Blue

Here are some top tips for stylishly incorporating blue into your living room:

  • Select a lighter blue for walls. Use bolder blues for accents.
  • Mix multiple shades of blue for visual interest.
  • Add warmth with wood furniture and accessories in tan, beige or brown.
  • Incorporate creams, whites and pale yellows to keep things airy.
  • Add pops of contrasting colors like orange, red or deep purple.
  • Layer in natural textures like linen, wool and wood to soften blue’s coolness.
  • Display fresh flowers and plants to add life and vibrancy.

With the right mix of hues and smart use of darker blues, you can easily pull off a stylish, welcoming blue living room.

Blue Color Schemes

If blue will be a dominant color, choose two or three complementary shades to build your color palette around. Here are some pleasing blue combinations:

Color Scheme Description
Light blue, navy, tan Navy blue accentuates lighter blue walls and tan furniture
Sky blue, denim, white Crisp white trim makes sky blue pop alongside denim accents
Periwinkle, teal, yellow Vibrant teal and yellow accessories enliven soft periwinkle walls
Powder blue, indigo, brown Deep indigo sofa stands out against powder blue and brown wood tones

Look at photos of living rooms you like and identify three core colors to recreate the look. Blue lends itself to so many possibilities!

Paint Colors

Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams offer extensive collections of tried-and-true blue paint colors for interior spaces. Here are some top picks for a living room:

Brand Paint Color Name
Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Blue
Benjamin Moore Brecken Blue
Benjamin Moore Baby’s Breath
Sherwin Williams Reflecting Pool
Sherwin Williams Raindrops
Sherwin Williams Tradewind

Be sure to get color swatches and view paint samples on walls before deciding. Lighting can alter tones.


For wooden furniture, medium-toned woods like oak or walnut work well with blue walls. For upholstery, lighter blues are always safe. Some options include:

  • Linen sofas in sky blue, navy stripes, or indigo prints
  • Velvet chairs in robin’s egg or periwinkle
  • Cotton slipper chairs in nautical stripe patterns
  • Leather ottomans in tan, brown, or white to lighten the space

Distressed wood coffee tables and sideboards also complement blue’s airiness with natural texture.

Window Treatments

Finish the look with window treatments in compatible colors:

  • White or ivory sheers for brightness and airiness
  • Navy roman shades to frame windows and complement lighter blue walls
  • Periwinkle curtains to add a pop of color while filtering light
  • Neutrals like linen or jute in tan or gray to warm up the space

Tie the curtains or shades back with nautical rope trim and decorative blue and white tassel tiebacks. Hang sheers close to windows and other draperies further out to layer textures and colors.

Area Rugs

Large area rugs define sitting areas in an open floor plan. Opt for muted tones like:

  • Light blue shag rugs for plush softness underfoot
  • Braided jute rugs for natural texture
  • Overdyed rugs in pale grays or taupes to anchor furniture
  • Navy patterned dhurries to contrast lighter walls

Avoid rugs with busy patterns. Go for simple stripes or geometrics so the blue walls stand out.


Finish the space with fun pops of color and beachy accents:

  • Ceramic garden stools in bright yellow or coral
  • Throw pillows with nautical stripes, shells or anchors
  • White and blue decorative bowls filled with shells, pebbles or sand
  • Vases of blue hydrangeas or white orchids
  • Mirrors and artwork with crisp white mats and navy frames

Keep accessories minimal and let blue be the star. A few well-chosen decorative pieces make more impact.


Blue is a versatile, inviting option for living rooms that creates a laidback yet sophisticated vibe. Stick to lighter shades of sky blue, powder blue, ice blue, and robin’s egg for a timeless look. For variation, weave in bolder blues like denim, navy, or teal through accessories and accents. With the right balance of dark and light hues, plus warm metallics and wood tones, blue is a perfect living room color choice.