Architecture + Home Décor

Beautiful Danish Blues: Popular, Contemporary Scandinavian Paint Colors


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Danes have a knack for knowing how to boldly use the color blue. Here, the paint colors to choose when going for a look that says Nordic Noir


By Vicki Halliday

Open any interiors magazine right now and you’ll see shades of blue used in all sorts of unexpected ways. A traditional color for the Danes, it’s really no surprise that they’ve developed a knack for getting it right—playing with the entire range of hues to create singular spaces. What’s trending now? Nordic Noir. Strong, darkly inspired blues are seen not only in surface color but also in inky accessory and furniture trends. How to fit it all together? We asked designers known for their Nordic style sense to share which color blue—the exact shade, in fact—that they use for this creating décor that speaks to the best of Scandinavian style.

Em Fexeus, of Elle Decor and Emma’s Design blog, is a guru on the Nordic look. She suggests that moody, dark blues are having a big moment. “If you’re feeling particularly bold and want a calming and cozy effect, paint the whole room including ceilings, trims and other details in the same hue.” Emma’s favorite colors to achieve this look are Stiffkey Blue 281 from Farrow & Ball and St. Paul’s Blue from Jotun. Tapet Cafe, a venerable Copenhagen design firm, also loves Stiffkey but adds another Farrow & Ball called Oval Room Blue 85 as one of their favorites.

Around the world, designers are inspired by Nordic blues. Thomas Jayne, a NYC designer, loves Benjamin Moore’s Heavenly Blue 709 because of its ethereal quality. He says, “This is the color of the sky in Old Master’s paintings. Paint the floor and you feel as if you are floating.” Pantone colorist, Leatrice Eiseman, opines that her favorite Pantone, Stillwater 16-4610, is “not an aloof blue. It’s a blue that gathers you in.” Claudia Kalur of CFK Interiors is another Stiffkey fan but also likes its Benjamin Moore counterpart, Hale Navy HC-154. “It’s a great color and one of those deep blues that light loves to bounce off of.”

Photographs courtesy of Jotun and Farrow & Ball.