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The Best/REALLY GOOD Blue Paint Colors That I’ve Used, Experienced, And Still Love

Dear A.I. Robots/Santa, Can you please create a building where we color-loving humans can walk through and experience every single paint color (in both natural light and dark) before we commit to it on our walls? Now that I’ve designed a fair amount of houses and painted many a room I feel extreme confidence in certain colors, even as my fear of trying new ones and getting them wrong runs deep (and at times keeps me from taking some color risks). Wouldn’t it just be magical if Sherwin-Williams had a physical room for every single color??? So I could stroll in, grab Brian’s arm, and say “Ooh I love how this feels!! This is perfect for our family room” instead of painting the room, say, multiple times? Because while the amount of light, direction of the sun, location on the planet, and your hard finishes of course can change the tone of the paint color, for the most part, the fear of getting it wrong lies in whether the color itself is one that you like enough to be surrounded by while enjoying the room. And at times that is just so hard to predict from a 10×12 sample. Trust me.

So today I thought I’d start rounding up my favorite blue paint colors that I’ve personally experienced, and would ABSOLUTELY use again. This all stemmed from me helping design my brother’s river house where we painted 7 different colors – all SO GOOD, and it makes me want to invite the whole world over so you can experience the color versus just looking at it online (which y’all, it’s just hard to trust). I’m going to leak the colors we chose at the end (without photos, yet) because they are all so freaking good. But first, let’s start with what we do have good reference photos of:

Dew Drop by Sherwin-Williams

Soothing, light, and airy, with some green in it – this super light blue is so dreamy, especially in a lot of natural light. I think in a dark room it might not read as a “color” per se, but here against the white and wood it’s so good. My friend painted her teenage son’s room this color and he LOVES it. It’s not baby nor does it feel pastel, just light if that makes any sense.

Sleepy Blue by Sherwin-Williams

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland project laundry room

Now for this no-natural-light laundry room, we chose something more saturated (than our well-lit room) which was the right call because it needed to have more pigment to really show up (I’ve had to learn this lesson a bunch of times!). Sleepy Blue is definitely more on the pastel side, thus being so happy and bright. Less grayed out sophisticated and more clean/fresh and happy. I think this color would be awesome in a well-lit room as well, but test it out because it might read more pastel and bold baby blue or it just might be a bright happy sunny blue.

Good Jeans by Clare Paint

We used Clare Paint’s Good Jeans in our basement bathroom (a pandemic budget upgrade we did right before we sold the house). While bolder than most of my denim, this color felt saturated and calming. It might be even better in a room meant to be darker and cozy like a den or a media room.

Debonair by Sherwin-Williams

photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse primary bedroom

I LOVE this color and have it in my bedroom, obviously. Now the only thing I’ll warn you about is I think it’s better in a room with less natural light so that the moodiness is embraced. it has a lot of undertones in it that play differently throughout the day and it’s so cozy at night or when it’s cloudy. Now, sometimes when the light hits it the pigment pops in a way that is jarring, which is why I think this is best for a room with less direct natural light – a room that is meant to feel cozier (dining, office, den, family room). I’ll use it again, but not in a room that has 4 windows and 4 skylights (and if I could snap my fingers I’d change it right now to Eventide – a color we used in my bro’s house that is INCREDIBLE and has the exact amount of blue pigment I want while remaining light and still neutral).

Slate Tile by Sherwin-Williams

photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse pantry

Such a great blue – I wanted it multiple places after I painted this room. While the trend seems to be greener blues right now this grayed-out blue is super timeless, not bold, and has a point of view without being risky at all (IMHO). Also best for rooms with less natural light (y’all, if you want my #3 design rule it’s keep light rooms light and dark rooms dark).

Waterloo by Sherwin-Williams

The basement of the Portland Project, in Waterloo, sure is a happy yet muted blue. Admittedly, it looks like Slate Tile but lighter and perhaps a tiny bit less green? It is a good one and I think great for mid to low-light rooms (this basement looks bright in the photos but it opened to a huge covered patio so it’s def less bright on a normal day.

Here it is in another room, without natural light (except coming from the kitchen). Pretty happy and great 🙂

Grays Harbor by Sherwin-Williams

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland project landing cabinets

Clearly, I’ve got a type…this darker moody blue is SO GOOD. I’ve almost used it so many times and it’s always one of the top contenders, and now seeing it here I remember why. What a lovely dark yet still happy shade of a moody blue.

Blue Note by Benjamin Moore

So dark and cool and definitely best for a room that has some but not too much natural light. It can go almost black, in a really good way.

Cyberspace by Sherwin-Williams

Another great “almost black” dark blue that was so nice for this room. It had a lot of natural light because you could see the pigment. I have found that sometimes in a room that has almost no natural light, a super dark paint color is hard for your eye to read and just looks “dark” (see Still Water commentary below) so if you want to see that it’s a super dark blue it needs some light to pick up the color.

Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball

Hague Blue is one of my all-time favorites that I haven’t used in a while! It has the slightest tint of green in it, making it a super dark indigo? I painted the exterior of The Fig House this color as well. Farrow & Ball is always a splurge (and color matching can be tricky because their pigmentation process is extremely sophisticated and nuanced), but if you have the budget for certain special rooms I love this color.

Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball

photo by zeke ruelas | from: ginny’s dining room

For those willing to go more bold, Stiffkey Blue is incredible. It’s not “BRIGHT BLUE” but it sure has a lot of solid pigment that makes it pop regardless of being in a well-lit room or a darker space. It reads as blue no matter what. Gosh, I love it so much and hadn’t thought about it for a while, but it’s for sure one of my favorites ever for rooms like this that can handle a lot of color (Ginny executed it perfectly, of course).

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: emily’s old la primary bathroom

I used Stiffkey Blue in our old primary bathroom in LA which by the way I hadn’t seen in a while and I love it SOOOOO MUCH. I have a bunch of that leftover wallpaper that I’m kinda inspired to put in our little tiny hallway heading into our bedroom now. It’s just so good! Anyway, so is Stiffkey Blue. A solid choice my friends and great for small rooms like this, especially if only on the bottom (it could have worked all the way up but also might have felt a little overwhelming for a small bathroom.

Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball

Arlyn perfectly executed this super dark blue-gray-green. I love how its color drenched on the ceiling and she added all the art with white borders to break it up and add so much life.

Still Water by Sherwin-Williams

photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse family room

Now this color, Still Water by Sherwin-Williams, has a lot of green in it but it still falls more in the blue category for me. This color is so unbelievably perfect in here because it’s meant to be a dark room so it still really reads as this dark blue/green/teal. If it were in a room with a ton of natural light it would have probably read extremely bold and TEAL (when we have the overhead lights on it’s a bit too much for me), but in the cozy lamplight, it’s perfect. So yes, just make sure that if you have a really bright room you like the boldness of the pigment. Here, it’s so perfect (THANK GOD).

French Beret by Benjamin Moore

Now I didn’t choose this color (the architect William Hunter, did) and it’s just so good. Certainly muted and leaning towards charcoal, this French Beret blue does have a lot of gray in it, helping it read muted, sophisticated, and wonderfully moody. We LOVED it in person so much and it was great for this darker space (the doors lead to a covered patio) and made this smallish bedroom feel bigger (kudos for doing the closets and curtains in the same color, William).

If you are into this we are going to do other colors as well, and I can’t WAIT to show you what we used in Ken’s house. Spoiler – Rain Cloud (a dark blue that is sooooo pretty, bold yet muted if that’s even possible??), Eventide – the perfect light blue/gray that doesn’t read as “BLUE” or sad gray (I want it in our bedroom!) and a few greens I’ll share next time 🙂

Oh and here is a great graphic Gretchen made so you can easily pin all of these for easy access!

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: Family Room Reveal – By Far The Coziest Room In The House And Here’s Why

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3 months ago

I used Sherwin Williams Whirlpool in my living room and it is a beautiful color in every light throughout the day.

My sister recently used Quietude by Sherwin Williams and my mom liked it so much she used it too. That is more of a green with blue undertones though.

3 months ago

Looking forward to other color roundups

3 months ago

Great post.
I would love to see a post about paint colors and weather — not just light. For example, the light in Portland and Seattle is often a cold/grey light. Do grey-blues look too cold in bright but grey lighting? Would bright colors look garish? Do warm paint colors balance out that light or do they turn a weird shade? Does that kind of light bring out certain undertones?
You could have a similar discussion about bright, warm light like you have in Florida. There have to be colors that look good there in warm light that don’t look good in grey light.

3 months ago
3 months ago

Waterloo is such a wonderful, rich blue. We painted our family room with it, and we call it “the cozy room” because it’s north facing and we’ve leaned into the moodiness. We have a big emerald green velvet sofa, and dark blue botanical curtains from Anthropologie, and those elements with the paint combine to make such a delightful little jewel box of a room.

3 months ago

Love these! Great compilation. I used Sherwin William’s Seaworthy in my bedroom and we love it. It’s similar to Hague Blue, with a touch of green in it. It’s lovely in a matte finish in a room without much natural light, just like Emily’s family room. So cozy.

3 months ago

Has anyone tried Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year – Nova? I’m still hemming and hawing about a bedroom colour and I’m considering this one.
I have a couple of other BM blues I love – Amsterdam is a lot like Waterloo from the looks of it and is and exact match for these affordable amazon curtains: I used it in our TV room and love it there.
And then Gossamer Blue is my favourite lighter blue – just seems to look good everywhere I’ve used it. Light without feeling childish.

3 months ago

This was an awesome post! Can you do another one with favorite green paint colors? 🙂

3 months ago

I used Waterloo in a bright south-facing office and Cyberspace on the vanity of my basement bath — both worked super well, so I’d say they both work in both darker and lighter rooms!

3 months ago

Inchyra Blue is SO GOOD. I’m obviously biased because it was in my own home but it’s such a chameleon of green and blue depending on the light. I’ll definitely be painting another room that color one day.

3 months ago

I have a tiny dark kitchen with no windows or exterior light at all. Currently painted white, it looks dingy. Add in dark brown cabinets, brown LVP floor and brown/Burgandy granite, (it looks like a diseased liver) and it’s depressing. Not my happy place. I’m wondering if some shade of medium brown would work? I’m thinking, ’embrace the darkness’.
Anyone have suggestions?

3 months ago
Reply to  Patricia

Maybe a mid-tone taupe or sage/olive green could work? Or a creamy gray? I imagine something warmer toned, but that’s just me. I definitely think going darker could help you embrace the coziness. If you can swap out hardware maybe try nickel or brass, if that’s not what you already have. And maybe check your light bulbs too? The color of your bulbs may sway you one way or the other. Hope this helps 🙂

3 months ago
Reply to  meredith

Without seeing pics it’s just a guess, but her idea of taupe may work. (Check undertones) Brushed gold hardware is pretty with browns!

3 months ago
Reply to  meredith

I’m stuck with overhead florescent lights. But I’m looking into replacing the bulbs with LED in 2700 -2800 lumens. Hopefully that will warm it up also.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I knew this community would have ideas.

3 months ago
Reply to  Patricia

Hi Patricia. I also find white to be dingy at times, depending on the undertones. I just painted with Sherwin Williams’s Icicle. It’s a white, but with a little bit of blue undertone. Very light and airy and cheerful.
Maybe add gold accents/hardware.

Pamela T
3 months ago

I love each of these blues and look forward to your highlighting other colors. Perhaps not closely related, but adjacent, I would love thoughts/guidance on painting furniture in shades of blue. I’m thinking about painting dining chairs and an accent table in different hues and find myself vascillating after spending hours building Pinterest folders.

3 months ago

Has anyone tried Benjamin Moore Hale Navy? I’m considering it for a library / office in our home.

3 months ago
Reply to  Melissa

I haven’t yet. I’m painting a wall behind my tv to camouflage it and I’ve narrowed the colors down to Blue Note and Hale Navy. I’m leaning towards Blue Note because it’s got a black undertone, but I’m still having trouble deciding. Hale Navy is beautiful and if it doesn’t work behind the tv, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it somewhere else.

3 months ago
Reply to  Melissa

We painted our dining room in our last house Hale Navy, and I loved it so much. My mom took her cue from us and painted her bathroom, which also looks awesome in it. I can’t recommend it enough!

3 months ago
Reply to  Melissa

If you’re interested in a deep dive on paint colors, I really like Kylie’s blog at Kylie M. Interiors. She posts a ton of reviews and usually shares photos of her client’s homes, which can be helpful seeing different spaces/light exposure/etc. I know choosing a paint color can be hard enough, so just be warned that you may feel like it’s information overload… Ask me how I know 🙂

3 months ago
Reply to  Melissa

I have used Hale Navy twice and absolutely LOVE IT!!! In a previous house I painted it above a white wainscot in a bedroom and in this house I used it for my front door. It is one of my absolute favorites!

3 months ago

Great post! Although still loving my Loyal Blue room by Sherwin Williams!!

Beth B
3 months ago

I used SW Waterloo in my basement after seeing the Portland project, and I love the results so much. We get less natural light so it’s darker than the Portland pictures but still so good.

3 months ago

Just when I had convinced myself I didn’t really have to paint my living room dark blue to go with my soon to arrive navy sectional you remind me of the Portland basement and Waterloo. I’m off to get paint samples now, lol.