11 ways to brighten up kitchens with blue

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  • When it comes to blue kitchen ideas, navy blue has been high in the style stakes for quite some time. Yet it’s not the only shade of blue that can make an impact in your kitchen. There’s an array of alternate blues to choose from, if navy is too dark for you to embrace.

    From the palest sky blue, duck egg and pretty periwinkle, to teal, aquamarine and punchier electric hues, there are plenty of shades to consider when dipping your toe into this invigorating kitchen color palette.

    “We all know that kitchens can sometimes be stressful places. This is what makes blue such a great color spectrum to use in any room where food is prepared. It’s tranquil, soothing and above all still stylish,” says Susie Spence, trend expert and interiors manager at B&Q.

    Blue Kitchen Ideas

    There’s no denying that blue units look good and make a bold statement, but you don’t always have to change everything. Of course, if it’s time for a new kitchen, that’s exciting. Still, there are other ways to introduce shades of blue that don’t involve huge expense. “Painting your kitchen cabinets is a simple and cost-effective way to upgrade your kitchen without too much effort,” says Susie Spence, trend expert and interiors manager at B&Q.

    It’s pretty easy to figure out how to paint kitchen cabinets or tile a backsplash, if you want to be careful with your money or prefer to update rather than replace.

    1. Make a splash with patterned tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Wreford

    If you’ve ever scrolled through white kitchen ideas and opted for neutral cabinetry, give it a boost with some pretty patterned tiles and accessories. A combo blue splashback is a perfect partner for white worktops or whitewashed cabinetry. With traditional fittings, this color combination can lead to a heartwarming feeling of nostalgia.

    “Patterned tiles are back in full swing and it’s easy to see why. They provide an easy way to add interest and color to a kitchen without being overbearing,” says Colin Lincoln-Evans, Buyer, Tile Mountain. “Whether you’re creating a simple splashback behind a sink or a tiled floor above your kitchen cabinets, remember that a little pattern can go a long way.”

    “Small kitchens can easily be mastered by intricate designs. So choose carefully and look for one that will create a focal point without dominating the space.

    2. Go bold with electric blue cabinetry

    blue kitchen with patterned tile backsplash

    Image credit: Ca’ Pietra

    If you want something unique, choose a company that can match your favorite colors, like Better Kitchens. Or create them yourself by painting existing units. Once you have found the best paint for kitchen cabinets, you can let your imagination run wild with color. A bold hue, like electric blue, will instantly inject personality into your space, especially when coordinated with vibrant tile.

    Just make sure it’s a color you can live with, it’s not called electric blue for nothing. It stimulates your senses and is therefore best suited for kitchens that are not open plan.

    3. Create a feature with a blue island

    blue kitchen ideas

    Color doesn’t have to take over all of your kitchen cabinets. Break up a large space or a long series of white units with an island in a striking shade of blue. Where an all-navy kitchen idea might seem too much, choosing just an island in the most dominant hue allows you to embrace the color without overwhelming the space.

    Keep the scheme consistent with worktops in the same material on all base cabinets and choose a finish that complements both colors, like this sleek marble example. The introduction of bar stools with seats in the same metallic finish as the door handles and accessories will tie the scheme together.

    4. Combine soft and contrasting hues

    blue kitchen ideas

    Image credit: Olive & Barr; Blue kitchen shaker

    Periwinkle is another blue tone that is becoming popular. Recently announced by Pantone (under the moniker “Very Peri”) as its color for 2022, expect to see it pop up in interiors everywhere. Inspired by the lovely periwinkle, this blue-violet hue is considered by color experts to exude “carefree confidence.” This makes it a great color for a kitchen in our eyes, but divide the space with a minty tint, as a stump for the sweet undertones of periwinkle.

    “Blue kitchens have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity for several years and for good reason,” says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr. “It feels bold and creative, giving your space extra depth, balance, and dramatic edge.”

    5. Create impact with teal and stone tones

    Teal kitchen with ladder and hood titles

    Image credit: Future PLC

    This teal kitchen is a must-have, with its bold floor-to-ceiling painted cabinets. To balance the strong blue-green hue, the color is interrupted by wide areas of pale stone gray tones throughout the marble worktops, tiled splashback and extractor hood. The different tones of the tiles and work surface provide a natural feel that adds subtle movement you wouldn’t see with a solid color block.

    6. Complement exposed wood with navy blue

    large blue kitchen with brick walls and exposed beams

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes

    There’s a reason why colors you see in nature like navy blue work so well with natural materials, like oak. That’s because our eyes are used to seeing them together, so it makes for a winning combo in a country kitchen, too. The marbled shades of bluish gray and honey of the flagstone floor unite the cool tones of blue and warm oak. At the same time, a trio of shiny copper pendants add a touch of glamour.

    7. Choose a soothing tone for a lively kitchen

    blue kitchen

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    A soft shade of blue-green, warm in winter and cool in summer, is ideal for a kitchen where you want to spend all your time. Pale blue is also a timeless shade that’s easy to live with and can help ease the chaos of family meals.

    Pair the cabinets with simple white worktops and sleek brass door handles to enhance the color.

    8. Consider the amount of light

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Do you prefer darker shades of blue, like aquamarine? Before you commit, consider how much natural light your kitchen has and whether it can take on the color.

    “From soothing light shades of sky blue to bold navy, there’s something in this palette to suit everyone’s style, whether you’re a fan of modern or traditional kitchens,” says xx Homebase. “Lighter blues can make the room look brighter and bigger. But if you like darker shades, make sure you have enough lighting, both natural and artificial, to keep the space from feeling too cramped.

    9. Contrast sky blue with pale wood

    Cream and blue kitchen with wooden kitchen island

    Image credit: Future PLC

    “There’s no one right shade of blue for kitchen cabinets, it all depends on the vibe you’re trying to achieve,” says Susie Spence, Trend Expert and Head of Interiors at B&Q. “Dulux experts have predicted Bright Skies™ to be the color of the year for 2022. The pale blue hue exudes an airy, fresh tone that opens up and breathes new life into any space.”

    10. Enhance the gray with glazed vertical tiles

    blue kitchen ideas

    Vernisse blue glossy ceramic wall tile, B&Q

    Gray kitchen ideas have been popular for a while, but as glorious as these smoky-toned cooking areas are, they can look a bit dull without an accent shade. Spruce up gray cabinets by pairing them with blue tiles; ideally a shade with a grayish undertone. These glazed blue tiles from B&Q work wonders. Laying them in a vertical pattern (rather than the traditional horizontal style we’re used to) makes them look instantly modern.

    11. Go for the trendy blues

    blue dining room

    Image credit: Dulux

    One shade of blue that is expected to become popular is the recently announced Dulux Color of the Year 2022: “Bright Skies”. Use this trendy paint shade to set the tone for the kitchen wall idea.

    “What better source of inspiration can we take than the endless sky around us?” says Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director, Dulux UK. “It’s well known that nature makes us feel better and taking steps to bring the outdoors in improves our sense of well-being.”

    What shade of blue is suitable for kitchen cabinets?

    “Navy is a classic shade for kitchen cabinets, it’s bold and sophisticated,” says xx Homebase. “However, pastel blue is becoming more and more popular. It’s a great choice for someone looking to add a splash of color to brighten up their home.

    Susie Spence, Trend Expert and Head of Interiors at B&Q adds: “Cerulean will transform your kitchen into a coastal paradise, while cobalt will create a more modern and energizing look. If you’re looking for a sophisticated, contemporary feel, darker blues should be your go-to.

    What color of walls to associate with a blue kitchen?

    It depends on the shade of blue, so look at the shades. They can be gray, green or yellow, so use them as a pointer. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with white walls.

    “Two-tone decorating in the kitchen is an ongoing trend. Pair bold colors for cabinetry with muted walls in a complementary or contrasting color and it works really well with blue kitchens,” says xx Homebase.

    How to decorate a blue kitchen?

    “Be sure to look for paint that’s washable and scrubbable,” says Susie Spence, trend expert and interiors manager at B&Q. “If you’re looking to make an impact with blue, place it next to neutral countertops to really bring out the color.”

    “Tones of gray and white with darker blues are perfect for creating those cozy moments. Lighter shades of blue, such as sky blue, can work well with grays, whites, or blacks and create a more vibrant feel.

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