Blue-Green and Envious

by Donna on April 16, 2011

Blue-Green, a Color with Popular Appeal

This serene bedroom by designer Jamie Drake is an example of the charm and appeal of blue-green in interior decor.
Bedroom in blue-green colors by designer Jamie Drake.

(Image from Elle Decor.)

Before the development of man-made pigments and dyes, turquoise had no doubt been long admired in nature.
Chacoan turquoise and turquoise browed motmot - colors we admire in nature.

On the left, Chacoan turquoise. On the right a turquoise-browed motmot found in Central America. (Images from Wikimedia Commons.)

But man-made pigments and dyes eventually made turquoise tones, and a plethora of blue-green colors, readily available in fabrics, paints and other materials. That striking color found in nature had not longer to be a source of envy.

Colors in the blue-green range can be bold and bright, or mellow and subdued. The brighter hues of blue-green are cheerful, yet have a cool freshness. Subdued hues are calm and soothing.

Blue-Green, a Sometimes Ambiguous Color Range

We have few common names for blue-green hues. Some I can think of: turquoise, teal, aqua, and azure. We can mostly agree on colors that fall into a ‘turquoise’ range, and to some extent, ‘teal’. Similarly, the color term ‘aqua’ could conjure similar hues for individuals; then again, maybe not. We probably wouldn’t be sure about a color named ‘azure’. Would it be a hue of blue or blue-green?

In fact, we could very easily disagree on whether a color in the blue-green range was in fact blue-green. Some of us might think a particular color in that range was more accurately called ‘blue’ and others would say that same color was a ‘green’ hue.

Author Hazel Rossotti talks about this phenomenon in her book Colour, Why the World Isn’t Gray. (Rossotti is British, hence ‘colour’ rather than the American word ‘color’.) There is “a tendency to muddle green and blue” the author says, and that many people “differ about whether a given hue in this range should be called blue, turquoise, or green.” When it comes to blue and green, “individuals”, she goes on to say, can “find it particularly difficult to distinguish between them.”

When discussing blue-green, the intermediate color between blue and green on the standard color wheel, it might help, at times, to turn the term around use ‘green-blue’. We need to understand, too, that many colors in the blue-green/green-blue range will lean in one direction or the other: some towards blue, some towards green. Likewise, blue hues can lean in the green direction; green hues can lean in the blue direction.

Blue-Green in Room Decor

I’ve selected a gallery of rooms that employ what I perceive as blue-green colors: those colors falling within that general range on the color wheel; a range that allows for those above mentioned differences in perception. (And, we need to bear in mind differences in how computer screens displays colors.)

The colors used in the room schemes range from bright and fully saturated to muted tones; from deep and dark hues to pale and pastel. The blue-green hues may be the wall color, fabric color, or rug color among other elements.

Blue-green is often used in a color scheme with reds or versions of red: bright red, deep-red, orange-red, or various intensities of pink. Blue-green is found combined with limeish greens for a scheme in a cool range. Sometimes the scheme is just blue-green and white; or black as well.

Here are two rooms by designer Eric Prokesh with greenish-blue wall colors:
Designer Eric Prokesh - living room with blue-green wall.

Living room with blue-green wall from MyHomeIdeas.

Eric Prokesh - bedroom in blue-greens.

Bedroom in blue-green tones from Southern Accents.

The next four rooms are from Lonny magazine:
Living room by Colleen Locke with deep teal walls.

Living room with deep teal walls. Designer: Colleen Locke.

Living room by Angele Parlange with bright turquoise wall.

Living room with bright turquoise walls and deep pink accent pillows. Designer: Angele Parlange.

Living room designed by Lulu Powers with blue-green walls.

Living room with bright blue-green walls, deeper blue-green accent pillows, and red accents. Designed by Lulu Powers.

Living room by Victoria Thompson with blue-green accents against beige tones.

Blue-green accents against neutral beige tones. Designer: Victoria Thompson.


Sitting area by Tobi Fairley with light blue-green chair and red accents.

Tobi Fairely is the designer of this room with softened blue-greens and red accents.

Bunny Williams designed blue-green bedroom.

Bunny Williams designed green-blue bedroom.

Family room by  Michael S Smith using blue-green elements.

Mixed patterns in greenish-blues. Interior design by Michael S. Smith

Living room by Jamie Drake with green-blue wall.

Living room with green-blue wall; by designer Jamie Drake.

For a brief pause: Blue-green in a colored lithograph by artist David Hockney.

David Hockney colored lithograph of swimming pool.

“Water Made of Lines and Blue Wash”. From Litchfield County Auctions; (Sold.)

Jennifer Post - bedroom with ocean view

Jennifer Post designed bedroom with light blue-green accents and ocean view

Designer Frank Roop - banquet with soft blue-green striped wallpaper.

Banquet area by Frank Roop. Soft blue-green striped wallpaper.


Designers Guild - Manhattan fabric - Madison pattern, color: turquoise.

Manhattan fabric collection from Designers Guild. Pattern: Madison, a design of “abstract lily blossoms on a twirling leaf trail”. Color: Turquoise.


Designer Jamie Drake - table vignette in blue-greens

A table vignette in blue-greens. Designer: Jamie Drake.

Jamie Drake - bright blue-green walls with chaise and red accents.

Bright blue-green walls with chaise and red accents. Designer: Jamie Drake.

Kemble Interiors - Celerie's cabinet in turquoise.

From Kemble Interiors. Celerie’s turquoise cabinet against coral wall color.

Kemble Interiors - graphic wallpaper in teal tone.

From Kemble Interiors. Graphic wallpaper in a nearly teal tone.

Tobi Fairley designed dining room with turquoise chandelier.

Dining room by Tobi Fairley with turquoise chandelier.

Stephen Gambrel designed dining room with blue-green colors.

Kitchen area with blue-green colors. Designer: Stephen Gambrel for Town & Country, Designer Visions Cinema Style.

Paint Colors in the Blue-Green Range

A sampling of paint colors in a range of blue-green/green-blue colors:
Twenty-five blue-green paint colors, 5 each from: Behr, Benjamin Moore, Pratt & Lambert, Sherwin Williams, and Valspar.
Paint color numbers from left to right:
Behr: 490C-2, 480A-2, 490B-5, 490D-4, 480D-4.
Benjamin Moore: 2046-60, 2047-30, 2048-30, 2048-50, 2050-50.
Pratt & Lambert: 22-23, 23-29, 23-25, 22-8, 22-13.
Sherwin Williams: SW6758, SW6945, SW6760, SW6757, SW6947.
Valspar: 5005-10A, SR1005, SR1104, SR1109, 5005-8A.

(Wall paint colors should never be selected using the digital color representations as these may not closely match the paint color. Use the paint chips provided by paint companies. It’s best to try out a sample first on an area of a wall. See my post on The Changing Nature of Color for more information.)

Blue-green: An Ever Popular Color

I think we’re all attracted to blue-greens in some form. While it may not be everyone’s choice for room decor, the above rooms can provide ideas for those considering something in the blue-green range for an interior space.

See you next time.
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