The combination of true blue with bright white is still a timeless home decor palette. Take a little design inspiration from these 15 beautiful rooms, all of which wear the colors well.
Designer , author of the new book Beautiful (Rizzoli, $45; ), has a soft spot for the timeless country combo of blue and white. While Mark's beloved stripes certainly have a place in this bedroom (note the French armchairs and the tape trim on the window treatments), the designer's favorite accents here are the blue-and-white ceramics—from porcelain jars on the mantel to the garden stool side table. "You can use ceramics sparingly as an accent, but I like a lot of pieces displayed together as a collection. It gives instant color and detail that's intricate and alluring," he says. He lists and as his go-to sites. When doing your own searches online, use the key words "ginger jar" or "temple jar."
Sikes is a firm believer that most rooms need a touch of black to balance out the textures and the softness of fabrics. "Black is especially nice in a blue-and-white space because it gives the classic color combination a bit of an edge," he says. Start small with matte lampshades, or add a little more drama with a black coffee table or bold artwork, like the charcoal-print botanicals above. Sikes even suggests using a dark stain on floors to allow everything else in the room to be highlighted.
Sikes says your garden can be your best source of design inspiration. "I like to create interiors that are an extension of what you see just outside the window," he says. Here, he complements the blue-and-white French bistro stools and sky-blue walls (painted in Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball) with a mossy green island.
"Different geometrics — especially stripes — in similar tones [like this mix of inky indigos] add layers and richness to a room without becoming 'too much' pattern-wise," Sikes says. In this bedroom, a striped textile over the headboard, a striped inset on the custom linen ottoman (with a bias stripe as the welt) and a trio of (yes!) striped vintage throw pillows play well together alongside a paisley block-print duvet.
Rattan, rush, rope and wicker: Sikes is a huge fan of them all. "There is a classic crispness to blue and white, and woven natural materials counterbalance that crispness with rustic texture," he says. "They immediately warm up a space and bring it casualness." Take his cue and consider natural-fiber carpets, such as jute, and then top with striped dhurries and patterned rugs; nestle rattan-topped tables next to sofas and beds; add woven seating around dining tables and kitchen islands; and bring on the baskets containing plants large and small.
For this home, designer chose classic milky shades, as well as the palest robin's egg blue (Albermarle Blue by ) in the master bedroom. He even convinced the homeowners that their dark-brown four-poster bed could make the move from relic to marvel with light-gray paint. 's Ashmead Gray transformed the master bedroom's mahogany four-poster.
A pretty white plate rack gives easy access to blue dishes and mugs — perfect for grabbing while prepping food on the butcher-block-topped peninsula. A pendant light directly overhead provides the necessary task lighting.
Here the blue-and-white palette is reversed: The walls become a bold blue while the fixtures and shower curtain remain white. A dark wall color is easier to handle in the bathroom because time spent here is brief. With a chrome shower curtain rod — outfitted with two white terry-cloth curtains — this bath feels like a spa retreat.
Bring color into a bathroom not only through a bright wall hue, as seen here in this small space, but also through fresh flowers, like blue hydrangeas. They'll provide a pleasing pick-me-up every morning.
Designer , from HGTV's Sarah's House, used a wide-stripe fabric from , aptly named Summerside, on the back of the armchairs in the lovely white dining room of her summer cottage. Richardson also piled on pillows in fanciful patterns, including a blue paisley.
Use an all-white bathroom as a backdrop for blue accents. Here, a shower curtain has three different white trims stitched on top of it — a theme that is picked up, in reverse, on the towels.
In this eating area, dish-towel stripes have been fashioned into chair covers and a bread bag, which offer a graphic counterpoint to the toile wallpaper. The wood table and chairs lend a warm balance to cool blues.
A plaid blanket by laid across an iron bed from adds color and pattern to the guest room.
A double-basin sink and separate commode room make this ideal for two people. The beadboard on the walls create a nautical feeling.
Lemon-painted drawer fronts add zest to this sky-blue bathroom without diminishing the peaceful vibe.