Indigo, a natural blue dye made from the flowering Indigofera plant, has been used for centuries. While blue jeans might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of indigo, this delightful and authentic hue is as popular in interior design as it is in our longstanding favorite apparel.
Its many familiar yet fresh variations means indigo lends itself to bold choices such as paint or wallpaper. But even the smallest accents — like soap dishes, drawer pulls or switchplate covers — can also make an impact.
Painting a single door or a pair of window frames in indigo sheds a whole new light on white walls. By incorporating different finishes from matte to high-gloss, indigo paint can help provide the specific vibe you’re seeking for a space.
An accent wall papered in a textured indigo design, such as raw linen, adds not only amazing color, but also texture that you can build on throughout your interiors. Bedding, drapes and furnishings such as poufs and bar carts are other great ways to incorporate indigo.
Dalara Holm of appreciates the Zen aspects of indigo as the color of intuition and perception. “It is helpful in opening the third eye,” she says. “It promotes deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation, helping to achieve deeper levels of consciousness. Indigo stimulates right-brain, creative activity and helps with spatial skills.”
Here are some tips on how to use this magical color effectively in your living space.
Room by Room
“Indigo is a beautiful accent color,” Holm says. “Try integrating indigo in kitchen tile, and play with accent pillows on chairs or a breakfast bench.”
Holm also favors indigo place settings; its rich color is beautiful for a more traditional setting, she says. “An impeccable combination is indigo with different shades of purple and deep blue. A mustardy yellow is a harmonious accent.”
Don’t overlook small spaces as options for rich hues. “I love deep colors like indigo in powder rooms; it makes it so dramatic,” Holm says. “In large spaces, I would use indigo as an accent wall; in bedrooms, on bed sheets or throws.”
Shades and Textures
Eric Ross, owner of , has his own ideas about working with indigo. “I find a grayed dark blue/charcoal paint more pleasing,” he says. Two of Ross’s paint picks: and .
“For indigo on the wall, I’ll go to a grasscloth in the color; it tends to have more variable shades. You can bring in indigo fabrics to create a more dimensional look and it’s not as overwhelming.”
Ross offers this great tip: Don’t overlook art. “Sometimes you can find a landscape at night, which I always find appealing due to the navy sky and white moon,” he says. “Plus, they are very rare in art.”
Ross suggests pairing purple shades with indigo, “particularly lilac for a more serene effect,” he says. “Do amethyst for a jolt. Turquoise is another good option and would create more energy.”
As it can be masculine to the eye, Ross likes an indigo tea kettle and cookware for a kitchen. Add in turquoise or orange to soften the look.
Ross is designing a study/home office off a master bedroom, using indigo and tan as the principal colors. He’s also bringing in celadon and gray to relate the room to the master and add a bit of lightness.
Indigo can be both calming and exciting, depending on its tone and placement in a space, and it works for all ages, genders and design styles. The sheer versatility of this glorious color offers endless options for your own creativity.
How would you use indigo to enhance your living space? Check out our photo gallery for 25 ideas to inspire you!