Una mano sta dipingendo di color blu fiordaliso, con un piccolo rullo, in diagonale, una parete bianca

Cornflower blue: from Vermeer to interior design

It is named after one of the few flowers that is actually blue, and with its delicate yet enveloping hues it gives brightness to interiors, whether on furniture, accessories or walls, managing to catch the eye without being intrusive. It is the cornflower blue colour, or cornflower blue. Here are a few tips on how to combine it.

What is the colour of cornflower?

Detail on a group of cornflower flowers

Cornflower is a plant in the Asteraceae family, like sunflower, camomile, dandelion, thistle, artichoke, radicchio and lettuce. Its scientific name is Centaurea cyanus, derived from the colour itself and a legend. The colour is cyan blue, which characterises the flowers of the subgenus cyanus. The legend concerns the centaur Chiron: struck by a poisoned arrow, he cured his wound using the juice of this very plant. Cornflower blue is a medium-light colour with a hint of green. It was also a favourite colour of the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, who often used it in his masterpieces. It also features in the most famous of his paintings, The Girl with the Turban, better known as Girl with a Pearl Earring: the turban is actually cornflower blue.

In the language of flowers, it is a symbol of sweetness, lightness and sincere friendship.


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How to match cornflower blue walls

Scandinavian-style living room with cornflower blue wall, light grey sofa with wooden frame, white, grey and brown cushions, white round coffee table with natural wood legs, wicker chandelier, open bookcase in natural wood with books and knick-knacks

One of the distinctive characteristics of cornflower blue is its versatility, which is reflected in the many ways in which it can be successfully integrated into domestic environments. On walls, it is advisable to use it sparingly, opting for one or maximum two walls, leaving the others white or in neutral colours (such as grey, ecru, beige, peach).

  • In the living room it goes well with timeless white, which enhances the brightness of cornflower blue. Grey, on the other hand, emphasises its subtle elegance: you can opt for a palette of different shades of grey, from light to medium-dark. Together with beige, cornflower will instead communicate warmth and cosiness. For a nice dose of vibrant energy, you can go for earthy yellows, such as ochre and mustard. Muted greens, such as sage green, will give an idea of relaxation and tranquillity.
  • In the dining room: neutral tones or white, with cornflower blue fabrics, metallic accents, and light or dark wood seating and table. Fresh plants and flowers will add a natural touch to the room.
  • In the kitchen, in addition to the ‘usual’ white, it matches natural wood, neutral tones, metallic accents, warm lighting and complementary accent colours such as burnt orange and mustard yellow.
  • In the bedroom, with its “calming effect”, cornflower blue is in the right place. It can be combined with white or natural wood furniture, as well as with dove grey and beige.
  • In the bathroom, cornflower blue is reminiscent of water, and can be combined with white sanitary ware and furniture, natural wood and stone.

How to match cornflower blue furniture

Modern and essential living room with sofa, armchairs, coffee table, floor lamp, wooden partition, chest of drawers, carpet, mirror and pictures, all in shades of white and grey, with black details, and a cornflower blue armchair

The colours to match cornflower blue furnishings are more or less the same as those recommended for walls of this colour: white, grey, beige, sage green, yellow ochre or mustard (but only for small areas). To these are added pale pink and peach, for an unusual but fascinating combination. Cornflower blue is at its best in rooms well lit by natural light. If the room is small, it is better to use it only for a few ‘central’ pieces, such as a sofa, a cupboard, a dresser or a hutch. To create contrast, you can opt for combinations with complementary colours such as yellow or orange.

Materials to match cornflower blue

Detail of a kitchen in cornflower blue and natural wood, with island with white marble top, cornflower blue stools, light blue vase with flower sprigs

  • Wood: light, for Nordic-style interiors; white, for shabby chic; or dark, for more classic or, on the contrary, ultra-contemporary interiors.
  • Marble: in light or white shades, especially in the kitchen (for the worktop) and bathroom, but also in the living room.
  • Rough stone or concrete: for spaces with an industrial flavour or with hints of oriental essentiality (see japandi).
  • Ceramics: strictly white or blue, for ornaments and plates. It is ideal in rustic or Mediterranean style spaces.
  • Metal: chrome/silvered for more minimal rooms; gold or brass-coloured for precious details and Art Deco-inspired rooms. In both cases, we recommend our Golden Prestige line of metallic paints for use on metal as well as wood, plastic, wall, glass or fabric.
  • Fabrics include linen and cotton, in cornflower blue or neutral tones, for those going for shabby chic, Provençal or rustic. Silk and velvet, on the other hand, where elegance and luxury are sought.

What colour is cobalt blue? And what is the colour octanium?

Palette of three colours: cornflower blue, cobalt blue and octanium blue

Cobalt bluewe have discussed it extensively here – is darker and much deeper than cornflower blue.

Octanium, on the other hand, is a dark turquoise combined with petrol green.

Modern living room with large window with black grid frame, white wall with cornflower blue arched decoration, Scandinavian-style wooden sofa with cornflower blue cushion, wicker lamp, armchair and various decorative items


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