Blue is an insanely popular color and I believe that’s what makes choosing the ‘perfect’ blue so hard.


As a color consultant, I’ve helped many clients choose all kinds of blues over the years and I’ve come to a conclusion:  We see so much blue around us everyday — the sky, the ocean, our denim jeans, in advertisements and products, and in numerous homes online. With so much ‘blue overload’ it can be hard for our eyes to ‘remember’ which shade we like the best when we go to pick it out of a bunch of paint chips. So, what should you do?

by Kelly Porter
by Kelly Porter

One way to make this process easier is to find a blue ‘inspiration item.’ The item doesn’t have to be entirely blue, but it should include the type of blue that really catches your eye. This is a good exercise to do with any color choice but mainly with blue because of its dominance in our daily lives. It’s important to zero in on the type of blue we like.

blue stuff

A note about your inspiration item:  It’s best to use an actual thing, not a picture of something. Even a picture of a blue room will produce varying shades of the the same color because of lighting and shadows. Also, the paint color you select will probably not be an exact match to your inspiration item, even if you have your paint store do a color-match. The goal is to get close enough so that you can narrow down your choices of paint chips.  I suggest you choose no more than 3 or 4 paint chips. One should be as close as possible to an exact match and the others should have slight differences — lighter, darker, bolder, more muted, etc.

Tiffany box
A Tiffany gift box was my inspiration item, shown here with 3 of the 4 paint chips I chose.


Here’s my story:  When I repainted my living room, I used a Tiffany box as my inspiration item and selected 4 paint chips. Then, I chose a color (Mexicali Turquoise by, shown below) that matched the closest. Loved it! But after I painted two walls, my husband announced that he thought it was too bright. Ugh, men!

mexicali turquoise

But that was OK because I was able to easily choose another color from the other paint chips. I selected one that was a little softer (Spectra Blue by It worked perfectly! Had I not narrowed my selections, I would have wasted time and would’ve been very frustrated if I had to begin my color search over. Get the picture?

KPorter_blue room
Spectra Blue – design by Kelly Porter


kporter_blue room
Spectra Blue – design by Kelly Porter

The wonderful thing about color is that when you find the right one, even (and especially) if you go through a process, it’s pure magic.

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2 Comments on How to choose the perfect blue

  1. Julie
    April 10, 2015 at 9:12 am (3 years ago)

    OMG, Kelly- I LOVE it!! And disagree with your dh, is there such a thing as “too bright”?! Call me crazy, but my favorites are the colors you see in the Caribbean. Or the colors that were everywhere in the ’60s. FUN colors. Why/when did we stop having FUN with color?
    Brown. Ugh. Grey. Ugh. B-O-R-I-N-G.
    I’ll take Tiffany Blue walls with red chairs any day!!!
    It absolutely SINGS! A happy song.

    • Kelly
      April 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Julie! You’ve certainly made my day! Yes, when did we stop having fun with color? Probably, when we left childhood…but I’m trying to get us all back to that sense of creativity and freedom, so I’m glad you’re on board! Kelly


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