When it comes to paint, few colors are as versatile as blue. Blue can be used with a wide range of decorative styles due to its vast spectrum of undertones and ability to pair seamlessly with other hues. For our home library project, the goal was to choose a beautiful, saturated, bold blue that was sophisticated and timeless, and most importantly not moody. Living in the mid-west you become sensitive to what feelings paint colors evoke and my goal is always to pick a color that evokes happiness.
THREE TIPS FOR FINDING A TRUE BOLD BLUE
Before we dive into all the blues, it is important to remember a few things about this versatile color. Blues, much like greys, can take on a chameleon-like quality on your walls as light changes throughout the day which leads us to our first tip.
Tip 1: Test the blue on multiple walls in the room.
For example, here are some blues I was testing on our built-ins. I was almost certain that I would go with the top right blue but after painting a swatch on another wall in the same room, it no longer looked like the same vibrant saturated blue I was after. Instead, the blue on this wall looks much more murky due to its gray undertones coming through more dominantly.
(Add picture of built-in and side wall view)
Tip 2: If you are going for a true bold blue, watch out for the sneaky purple undertones.
(Show a picture of a blue with purple undertones)
To avoid those sneaking purple undertones above you need to be able to visual recognize them on the paint swatch. You might be thinking, how do I do that? If you don’t know what undertones you are after, you can ask your paint specialist which undertones are in your favorite blues but I think we should all be able to rely on our own judgment which leads me to my final tip.
Tip 3: Compare your blue to a blue with no undertones.
The easiest way to determine undertones is by comparing your paint to a true color – one with no undertones. The colors with no undertones are pure white and the true primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. In my case, I would compare my five favorite blue to a pure blue and it quickly became evident which undertones were present. Or, if you don’t want to overthink it, simply study the color – does it look warm or is it cool? Warm colors usually have orange, yellow, or red undertones. Cool colors typically have undertones that are blue, green, or purple.
BLUE PAINT COLORS TESTED
For week three of the One Room Challenge, I tested five blue paint colors extensively, or rather obsessively. After all, I would be using this blue to not only paint the built-ins we created, but also everything below the chair rail, and crown molding. Given the big size of this room, I’m going to be all on with this color.
I started off with two blue-grays by Benjamin Moore called; Van Deusen Blue and Kensington Blue.
I was in search of a timeless blue but quickly realize that these types of blues have a ton of gray in them that my mid-western self can’t handle.
When I painted the two sample on my built-ins, it immediately felt two dark and too gray. While they are beautiful colors, they were not saturated enough nor bold enough. If you want safe and timeless, this is it friends.
These two samples only pushed me to try something bolder and more saturated. So what did I find?
I almost chose this color. See how beautiful and vibrant it looks on my built-ins. Third color on the very right.
But then I tested the same color on another wall. Remember Tip #1?
It did not look bold and bright anymore on this side of the room. I would have been pretty sad if this is the color I ended up using for the entire room because it would have completely missed the mark on what I’m going for.
I finally came across a pretty bold hue.
It also looked like a true blue on the built-ins.
Bottom row blue in each column representing Down Pour blue.
To be sure, that this is the color, I test another bright but lighter blue, called Blueberry by Benjamin Moore because I wanted Downpour blue to be a hint lighter.
But lighting is everything and Burberry blue looks too vibrant for the look I’m going for. If you missed my design plans for the library room, check them out HERE. This color is really beautiful if you want a vibrant saturated blue but you don’t get enough light in the room. It really comes through nicely in darker settings.
Since we have a window to the right of the bookshelves, Blueberry (#5) blue looks lighter in the bottom right column than the top middle column and top left column. See how beautifully it adjust to less lighting on the top left column? While Down Pour Blue (#4) has stayed consistent regardless of which column it was painted on.
BEST SATURATED BLUE PAINT COLOR
So which blue did I end up choosing…?
My pick for the best saturated consistent blue is Down Pour blue by Benjamin Moore. Its overall consistency and vibrancy make it stand out from the rest. I mentioned earlier I wanted it a hint lighter and by a hint I mean 5% so I’m really getting picky here. I realized that will be achieved by going with satin or semi-gloss sheens vs the eggshell sheen these samples are created with. Higher sheens reflect more light making the color appear lighter.
This unlikely candidate is part of their Color Preview collection. This collection is made up of bold, saturated colors that bring spaces to life for those looking to illuminate their homes. It has a Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of 5.5 which is why it is able to stay so consistent throughout the room.
Thank you for following along! If you want to watch as we transform these built-ins, follow me on Instagram for daily updates and videos on documenting how we built these.
Don’t forget to check out other One Room Challenge participants HERE . There are so many fun projects to check out.