Parade Sapphire FabricParade Sapphire Fabric
Parade Sapphire FabricParade Sapphire Fabric

Classic blues are the mainstay of today’s bold and beautiful interior design schemes. Spanning indigo to royal and Wedgwood to chambray, this universal colourway has charted its way through the history of interior design thanks to its enduring appeal and versatility.

From the ancient Egyptians, who used the pigment of the semi-precious stone Lapis to decorate temple walls, to the lavish Tudor Blue Room at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire and the aristocratic 18th century The Blue Drawing Room at Powis Castle in Wales – blue has long represented style, prestige and panache.

“Since the birth of the Warner brand in 1870, blue has been a hero colour category in our extensive archive,” says Lee Clarke, the founder and owner of Warner House. “The curated blues that you see in our collections today are all derived from heritage colours with an authentic history, and are reinterpreted for today’s home by our specialist in-house colourists.”

In this article, we take a step into the world of how to style a space with historical blues and explore six blue-hue interiors that will help you create an elegant and life-long look.

How to decorate with archival blues

Amoli Indigo Fabric & Lilou Blush WallpaperAmoli Indigo Fabric & Lilou Blush Wallpaper
Image: @manwithahammer
Amoli IndigoAmoli Indigo

Today, there’s a shade of blue that will suit every room and every decorative mood. Cool blues are associated with calm, reassurance and peace, whereas the warm blues bring energy, pace and confidence. Before starting on your project, take time to consider how you want to use blue in your chosen room and the ambience you would like to create – soft and relaxing, sleek and tailored, flamboyant and exuberant?

Archival blues can be applied to flat surfaces (walls and ceiling) via paint or wallpaper; to soft furnishings on curtains, blinds and upholstered furniture; and as finishing touches in the form of accent cushions, trimmings and lampshades. Each will bring its own effect so be sure to take these two design-savvy steps before embarking on your project…

Firstly, understand the depth and combination of colour based on the room and its orientation. Your fail-safe schemes are: monochromatic (all blue in varying shades); complementary (where a colour is paired with its opposite on the colour wheel) such as blue and orange; or analogous – the colours adjacent on the colour wheel, such as blue and green or blue and violet. Of course, you can also pair it with white and black in their many shades.

Secondly, there’s the question of whether to use a pattern, or a plain, or a mix and in what proportion?

There’s plenty to consider, especially if you want that tradition-with-a-twist look we know you love! We’ve shortlisted six premium looks – adored by stylists, decorators and interior designers – to get you started…

Wrap walls with China blue chinoiserie

Les Pecheurs China Blue Fabric & WallpaperLes Pecheurs China Blue Fabric & Wallpaper
Les Pecheurs China BlueLes Pecheurs China Blue

China Blue derives its name from the oriental blue and white porcelain highly prized by European collectors in the 17th century and onwards. The now classic colour combination of China Blue and white lends a light and airy ambience to a room scheme in both town and country properties thanks to its clean and contrasting appearance.

When used on a design such as Les Pecheurs China Blue Wallpaper (shown), a late 18th century Chinoiserie style fishing scene, it brings a lively and playful narrative to walls. Create an enveloping toile effect with blinds or drapes made in its twin sister, Les Pecheurs China Blue Linen Mix Fabric. Don’t forget to stabilise the look with an accent plain, as shown here on the window seat using the heavyweight, pure linen cloth Campbell Blue Jean Plain Linen Fabric.

Drape windows with rich indigo

Deauville Indigo SilkDeauville Indigo Silk
Deauville IndigoDeauville Indigo

Indigo feels regal and sumptuous when used on a silk jacquard fabric. For best effect, head for unashamedly stately and fulsome window treatments that will showcase the deep colour of the classical damask pattern beautifully.

Consider Deauville Indigo Silk Fabric (shown) with its elegant floral trail that seeks inspiration from the decorative French designs of the mid-18th century Rococo period. Trimmings and tassels are a design must for embellishment. Use the refined silhouette of Onion Fringe in Blue on the inside edge from top to bottom for shapely elegance. Hold the drapes in position with a traditional Luxury Tie Back in Taupe.

Wondering on a paint combination? Keep it warm with Fournier Street. A soft taupe shade, originally sourced from Georgian townhouses occupied by wealthy silk merchants in the heart of London’s Spitalfields.

Frame a view with cool blue

Mughal Trail Pearl Blue FabricMughal Trail Pearl Blue Fabric
Mughal Trail Pearl BlueMughal Trail Pearl Blue

At the cool end of the scale, pearl blue forms a serene background for spaces that receive a good amount of warm, natural light. This muted blue with a hint of grey works effortlessly in south and west facing rooms that enjoy the heat of the day.

For a sophisticated yet lighthearted air, Roman blinds made from sophisticated linens take this colourway well. Look to Mughal Trail Fabric in Pearl Blue (shown), inspired by an early 19th century Persian shawl design, to frame a pleasing view. Its stylised floral design with highlights and lowlights of charcoal and stone can be teased out across the rest of the scheme on metalwork, lighting and flooring. Choose a white paint like White Ribbon as a classic accompaniment on walls and window frames.

Push the midnight hour on upholstery

Jannah Midnight ArmchairJannah Midnight Armchair
Jannah MidnightJannah Midnight

Midnight blues continue to get the vote from interior decorators thanks to their decadent and hypnotic vibe. When applied to plush fabrics, such as velvets, these inky hues form a deep and handsome backdrop for holding charismatic patterns and riotous complementary colours.

Upholstered armchairs, sofas and headboards are an amusing way to experiment with these flamboyant designs in rooms upstairs and down. The Bailey Chair in Jannah Midnight Velvet Fabric (shown), covered in a design adapted from the Indian Tree of Life patterns sought after during the 18th century, serves as a room eye-catcher.

Pair with dark wood furniture and pops of aged gold for a bohemian English country house scheme that feels like it has a story to tell.

Layer delicate Wedgwood onto walls

Summerby Wedgwood WallpaperSummerby Wedgwood Wallpaper
Image: @manwithahammer
Summerby WedgwoodSummerby Wedgwood

Let Wedgwood blue take the lead in relaxed and country-inspired properties. This blue brings with it the dreamy feel of warm summer skies and gentle breezes. It makes a good foil for vintage-style bedrooms with romantic brass bedsteads and lace edged bed linen.

Grace a wall with the delicate fern trail wallpaper, Summerby Wedgwood Wallpaper (shown). Based on an early 18th century English dress print, this organic vertical instantly brings delightful rhythm and movement to neutral walls in need of character.

A slubby linen curtain makes a good companion. Try Campbell Parchment Linen Fabric or for something a bit warmer Campbell Biscuit Linen Fabric. As a little finishing touch, add brush fringes to cushions, such as Brush Fringe in Linen, or Onion Fringe in Blue to curtains and blinds.

Call it the blues on everyday rooms

Warner Blue Paint and Giverny Indigo WallpaperWarner Blue Paint and Giverny Indigo Wallpaper
Image: @thejollytownhouse
Giverny IndigoGiverny Indigo

A classic blue paint shade with subtle green undertones makes for chic colouring in everyday rooms, such as powder rooms, pantries and kitchens. A failsafe livery is Warner Blue (shown) – the colour was discovered in the Warner archive amongst a collection of silk hanks, dating back to 1927 – and is available as a matt emulsion and eggshell for internal woodwork.

Paint wooden surfaces - cabinetry, paneling and doors- to bring warmth and depth to the space. For added height, pair it with a small repeat wallpaper, like Giverny Indigo, for a pleasing combination that feels charmingly considered.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at historical blues from Warner House. As one of the great names in British textiles, our blue range is rooted in a history of beautiful, bold and adventurous design that works every time you use it. Don’t forget to head over to the website and filter via blue under each channel to see all the products available. And don’t forget, you can order free samples before you make your final decision.

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About the author

Rhoda Parry


Rhoda Parry has spent her media career reporting on the best of interior design and decor. She is the former Content Director of Ideal Home, the UK’s best-known media brand, and its sister titles, 25 Beautiful Homes and Style at Home. Previous to that, Rhoda was the Editorial Director (Homes content) of Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home, Country Homes & Interiors, 25 Beautiful Homes, Style at Home and Woman & Home. Rhoda has also held the Editorship of Country Homes & Interiors, 25 Beautiful Homes, 25 Beautiful Kitchens, 25 Beautiful Gardens. She is a seasoned journalist with a nose for what's new, now, and forever in the world of homes.