French-British Interior designer Anoushka Emson lives between the UK and South Africa. We’ve met her between two house remodeling projects and asked her about blue colour combination – or in other words: what colours go with blue? how to best match the colour blue, in fashion or interior design


Anything Blue January Edition – What colours go with Blue? A blue colour combination interview with Anoushka Emson (featured: a colour wheel from the House of Colours)


Not only blue is a best-selling colour in the fashion industry, but its various shades are also popular in interior design and home decor.

We know a blue bedroom has soothing effects on the mind and bodya study has shown a slower heart rate and increased sleep times – and why: it turns out that specific cones in the eye are receptive to the blue colour, sending out a positive message to the brain.

So there, the science: the bluer the environment around you, the calmer and happier you are.

And it doesn’t need to be all blue – Anoushka explains how to best combine different shades of blue with other colours.


(Anything Blue) Anoushka, what’s the secret? How do interior designers, stylists, brand managers and so on match colours together? Is there a science behind colour combination?

– (Anoushka) There are some tools indeed; for interior design as for fashion styling, I personally refer to Johannes Itten’s colour wheel work.



Itten taught at the Bauhaus School of Art in Germany in the 1920s. He devised the rules of colour theory and identified what we now refer to as “the wheel of colour”, which shows us how colours work in harmony.

Then, Itten segregated them into four seasons, shown here from winter to autumn:



So wait, harmony in colour combinations can be divided into four seasons of mixed colours… Where are the blue shades?

– Everywhere. There are blue shades in each of the four seasons.

Interestingly artists tend to paint in a particular season and are drawn to using particular blues. Picasso and Matisse painted using a winter blue which is very bright, whereas Monet painted using the summer blues which are milky and blended. John Constable painted using the autumn blues which are yellowtail blues like kingfisher or teal, and are blended, whereas David Hockney painted in the spring blues, which are bright blues like aquamarine and turquoise.




Now let’s take some examples and see how to best match the different shades of blue.

How to match Blue


– This is a winter colour and looks amazing with so many combinations. For a sultry look, I’d be inclined to say go for burgundy or damson, but it can also look very chic with a crisp white.

See India Jane Blue & White China Collection 2016, from £35+


Royal/Electric Blue

– This is also a winter colour and works well with light grey or silver, something that contrasts with the vividness of the colour, or a pale ice lemon.

See Trellis Pillow Cover, Kain Kain (from £19.96+ – different sizes available) @Etsy



– The only true turquoise sits in the spring palette. I would recommend a shocking pink for a bright impactful look, or a shell pink, or even poppy red can all look divine.


Light or Baby blue

– Light Blues are from the summer palette and therefore look great with more milky colours like lavender or a dusty pink or a primrose yellow.

Blue Rugs from KuKoon

See 4 Blue Rugs from the Rug House

See PANTONE colours of the year 2016: Blue Serenity & Rose Quartz


Cornflower blue

– I love this colour, it’s so romantic! From the summer palette, again looks great with milky pinks and purples and yellows and jade.

All pictures also on Anything Blue’s Pinterest board about blue colour combinations


Navy blue

There is a navy in every season, that just varies slightly in tone so I would say pretty much any colour works with navy – possibly with the exception of black, although I personally think you can do navy and black.


So it looks like Itten’s four seasons theory is the ultimate tool to find harmony in colour matching. Does everyone use it?

To match colours and also to clash them.

For instance, today when brands want to look cheap, they clash colours so they take an orange from autumn and put it with a bright white from winter (Easy Jet). On the other hand, when brands want to look luxurious, they stay in the same colour palette, in the same season, like Harrods – so here the olive green and gold work in harmony, they both belong to the autumn palette. Fascinating!

If you look at BA (British Airways), they use navy, red and white – these are all winter shades and they command authority so they can be taken seriously – if their brand was electric blue and shocking pink, people would struggle to trust the brand as its too playful.

Conclusion, pleasing or not, a colour combination sends a message.


What would be your ideal blue bedroom decor?

– I’d go for batik with old wooden floors and white washed walls. Ralph Lauren nails this look. So beachy and dreamy.


Indigo Ikat Pillow cover, nestables, Etsy (£14.53+)

You will also like: India Janes Blue and White China collection

If I was going to do a blue room for my daughter who is called Aura Blue, it would have to be this one (below)!


“If I were to do a blue bedroom for my daughter named Aura Blue” Anoushka Emson (picture from


Look at all of these soothing blue shades, and I love the idea of sticking paper leaves on the blue trees with little messages for her, telling her how wonderful, unique and special she is.


What’s your favourite blue, or colour combination including a blue shade?

– I love navyI’m half French, what else can I say…. Fashion wise, it’s classy, it’s sophisticated, it looks great with white, but also with a pale pink cashmere – its so versatile, whats not to love?!

In terms of my favourite colour combination with blue, I conclude it has to be yellow, whether it’s a caramel, a gold or a bright yellow, it just looks sensational.


Navy Blazer Look from danacaseydesign

You will also like: Why is the French flag blue?


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