Blue dining rooms. So here! So now!

I know Honeysuckle Pink is the color of the year, but I seem to be recommending blue for dining rooms these days.

Why is that, I wonder? I’ve never thought of blue as a particularly appetizing color, but it seems as though blue has been just the ticket for several dining rooms I’ve been working on.

For the client below, we (I) just couldn’t bring ourselves (myself) to paint the walls goldy beige, which was the original plan.


But don’t the blue walls look great with the paisley drapes and Jaipur rug? The client is so pleased. And we all know that a happy client = happy bossy.

Blue and brown dining room Benjamin Moore Buxton Blue

Benjamin Moore’s HC-149 Buxton Blue

Benjamin Moore Another client is moving into an adorable bungalow, and the winning color for that DR is Benjamin Moore’s 2062-50 Blue Jean. Not that ANY color wouldn’t have been a vast improvement over the Merry Marigold that’s in there now. (That name’s a guess.)


Dining room with Oriental rug

I think one of the reasons blue keeps presenting itself as The Dining Room Solution is that it pulls out the blues in Oriental rugs so nicely. This is a dining room I did for some super duper clients several years ago. The rug was a given, but we didn’t want neutral walls. We used Benjamin Moore’s HC-150 Yarmouth Blue, if memory serves…

Blue dining room Benjamin Moore Yarmouth Blue

I don’t go in for blues that are too periwinkle, as in this dining room:

Blue dining room

Jamie Creel and Marco Scarani in Elle Decor

It’s my own bias, but periwinkle will forever remind me of Laura Ashley bedrooms. (It sure looks fab w/ those red/orange light fixtures, though, doesn’t it?)

Warmer blues are safer for a dining room.

Blue dining room green chairs

Tony Fornabaio in Elle Decor

No, you have to be careful that a blue dining room isn’t too cold. My mother told me that her English mother-in-law had an ICE BLUE dining room, and the effect was, well, chilly. (Mind you, I bet Grannie looked fabulous in that room, which may not have been unintentional.) I can see how an icy blue dining room might be a 40s holdover, can’t you?

Blue dining room Steven Gambrel

Steven Gambrel in Elle Decor

A client and I are planning to do a navy blue dining room this fall. (We’re renovating, or we’d be doing it tomorrow, we’re so excited about it.) In LACQUER, no less. Yum.

Navy blue breakfast room

T. Keller Donovan in Elle Decor

First dinner guest caught licking the walls should win some sort of prize. Suggestions?

Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She’s also the creator of the “bossy basic,” a one-time service to jump-start the interior design process in your home.


  1. says

    I have been recommending blue more lately too. I have never really been a big blue fan but I do love the warm/cool contrast with blue and wood tones. Buxton Blue is a wonderful choice! Great job as usual, Annie!

  2. Mary says

    I’ve been hearing a lot about lacquer walls lately. Can you explain how this is done? What is the difference between lacquer & high gloss paint?

  3. flyingcarrot says

    Blue can sure work with persian rugs, esp the red ones. But I really like a grayer blue…toned down. I always hope to make a room where people want to linger and talk. If the blue has too much reflective value, it has too much Get Out of Here energy. :)

  4. katkins says

    Yes, please talk to us more about lacquer, enamel, texture, etc. We have ignored anything that smelled of “faux finishes” in the last 15 years, but now you have our attention. And we already covet the navy blue lacquer dining room, especially with matte metallic finishes.

  5. says

    You know, katkins and Mary, I myself need more information about the shiny finishes. A TRUE lacquer finish requires something like 7 layers of paint, sanding, shine, paint, sanding, shine…I tried to have a bedroom lacquered not too long ago (another blue room, now that I think about it), and the faux finisher talked me out of it, citing expense and possible technical shortcomings.


    I’m still not a fan of most faux finished walls. Hard to explain why, really. If it looks like Venetian plaster, it’s ok. Anything else, and I start to have hallucinations about ’80s sponging techniques. I know it’s come a long way, but old biases die hard.

    Thanks for the comments, all of you!

  6. flyingcarrot says

    Regarding Dining Rooms…some day, could you do a post about chairs with glass tables?

    I am having kittens over working with a client’s bossy glass table, very contemporary. Must I use upholstered chairs with it? I have viewed nine million photos and am losing it…

    What are the RULES?

  7. says

    Bossy you, bossy me…not fond of the blue dining room, and boy those colors change alot when you look in the deck. When I’m with a client I ‘will’ tell them that part of what comes out in the consultation is my opinion, about everything, I will Not push my big fat opinion on them, but they will get it and I will explain why. So part of why I don’t care for blue dining rooms is that I want to eat in a space that ‘feels’ warm and embracing, leisurely and conversational. Blue is my fav color, I have it on right now, no kidding, however, I would prefer warm colors as opposed to cool in the dining area.

  8. Vicky Kelly says

    Looking for a dining room color….furniture is country, golden oak. Have a beautiful Persian carpet that is navy blues, reds, and creams. Chair rail and crown molding and big baseboards. Husband doesn’t like strong colors….but want something besides white or offwhite. Looking at dark blue and red valances on the windows with plantation shutters on the sliding glass doors. What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *