Blue is an omnipresent color; nearly everyone can remember a blue sky or a blue body of water that fulfills their understanding of blue. However, blues can run the gamut from turquoise to violet.

The more 0’s we see in the RGB code for any blue blend, the more of a contrast this color will provide in your decor.

man pointing to blue colors

Azure vs Sapphire vs Cobalt

Azure

Azure a bold color that will provide contrast with any color in the red spectrum, including peach and orange. Curiously, azure also does not work and play well with colors on the green spectrum.

Unlike the other two colors listed below, azure has a fairly high saturation of green.

In this case, the green saturation percentage in azure boosts the intensity of the blue past the simple clarity of the blue tones listed below.

If you want to use this color in your home, you will get much better results if you let it shine.

To keep things simple, use this color in small doses. For example, this blue would be lovely on a cushion if you want to use a solid color.

It would work beautifully as a featured color in a stripe as long as the other colors were saturated enough to hold their own.

Be very careful with this shade if you’re pairing it with lighter colors; pastels will likely be quite pretty against this blue, but you may produce a juvenile palette with a

  • mint green
  • shell pink
  • mist grey

Budget decorators may be able to use this color to brighten up a hand-me-down piece. For example, if your current home includes a second-hand sofa in a color that doesn’t thrill you, an azure blue throw can add a bright, fresh pop of color.

Azure does have a high percentage of yellow. If spaces in your home get a great deal of sunlight, you can get good results by pairing this with rust, cinnamon, and other browns.

Burgundy will also work with this color if it leans toward brown. If your burgundy colors lean toward purple, azure may not be a good match.

RGB: 0, 138, 216
Hex Code: #008AD8

Azure paint color splat on a wall

Sapphire

Sapphire blue offers more options thanks to the small amount of red in this color blend. When you add red to a pure blue, it will drift toward purple.

However, if you have a conversation of blue and green, adding add just a touch of brown. Brown added to blue takes the strong edge off the color.

It’s obviously still blue, and it’s still vivid, but it won’t be as likely to go to battle with other colors.

sapphire colored box with paint cans

If you love a wide variety of bold colors, sapphire will hold its own. It will also back up a bit if you pair this with pastels.

Because there’s just a bit of red in this mix, it can lean back a bit.

Sapphire can also work well with richer tones, such as navy and cadet blue.

It should be noted that, as a permanent color, sapphire blue can still be quite strong. If you aren’t really committed to it, consider using a color this strong in ways that you can clear it away when you need a break.

For example, you can use sapphire in a fabric. Tablecloths, pillows, and throws are wonderful sources of these strong colors that you can fold away or spread out when you want them.

Sapphire pairs beautifully with other shades that include yellow and red as long as the edge is taken off with that corresponding brown.

azure, sapphire, cobalt paint colors

Goldenrod, caramel, and sand tones can all work well with sapphire if you can balance out the real estate.

Of course, if you love sapphire, you should use it wherever you want it. Do be aware that extremely saturated colors, including all the blues in this listing, can be quite visually agitating.

Sapphire blue walls may get in the way of a restful, relaxing home.

RGB: 15, 82, 186
Hex Code: #0F52BA

sapphire paint color splat on a wall

Cobalt

Curiously, cobalt blue is one of the few colors with a “0” in the RGB code that can work with yellow tones. In fact, cobalt can also pair with cool greens as well as pastels. The more yellow you try to pair with cobalt, the more contrast you’re going to create.

As with sapphire, you have options to add some sneaky reds. Make sure you take a hard look at the RGB codes of these colors. Of course, the R number will be higher. Look for a balance between blue and green.

Rustic red and Bordeaux can hold their own without generating a lot of contrast, and salmon tones can also work.

However, if you stray too close to pumpkin, you’re going to get a sports logo type contrast.

cobalt colored box with paint cans

There’s a reason that sports logos feature bold colors with lots of contrast. They draw the eye.

On a team uniform, it’s exciting. In your living room or bedroom, it can quickly get painful.

If you’re working with any shade of blue and want to mix your own colors, be very careful with any lightening paint colors. You need a pure white.

Primers can turn chalky and bright white contains blue. Any cream tone, such as a Navajo white, will load your blue paint with yellow.

If you want a more subtle shade of blue in your custom mix but you aren’t going for a pastel tone, carefully add a bit of red to dull the blue a bit. If it tends to purple at the edges, mix in a little (very little) green.

Maintaining a strong, rich blue that will take a step back when you want a restful field of color is possible. Don’t add black unless you’re really going for navy.

Do remember that black can have a blue or a yellow base; you want the blue base black for consistent results.

When you’re working for a pastel version of blue, start with white and add blue. When you’re going for a darker shade of blue, start with blue and add a tiny dab of black.

Custom mixes take practice, but they are a great deal of fun if you’re so inclined. Use them in very small spaces to get the hang of it and always step away and let them dry fully.

RGB: 0, 80, 181
Hex Code: #0050B5

cobalt blue paint splat on a wall

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