Klein Blue Is the Color Du Jour, But What Exactly Is It?

The next Millennial pink.

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Surely you’ve seen it: as a pop of color embraced by one of your favorite ceramicists, as the grounding color in a Matisse-inspired art print, or even on the cover of our spring issue. International Klein Blue is having a distinct moment in 2019.

Of course, this color is hardly new. The precise shade and name were developed and coined by artist Yves Klein in 1960, which is why you’ll often see the hue referred to as Yves Klein Blue. It’s close to being a pure primary color, but its intensity (powered by ultramarine pigment) makes it far more impactful. It’s practically the exact opposite of terra-cotta and blush hues that have come into popularity over the past few years, and that’s precisely why this color is perfect to embrace right now.

photography by aaron bengochea

We’re fans of neutral-hued rooms and, to be totally honest, still love a good Millennial Pink interior, but International Klein Blue makes the perfect contrasting color to enliven a space swathed in neutrals. Not to mention that it sits on the opposite end of the color wheel as 2019’s Pantone color of the year, Living Coral, so it’s particularly suited to be paired with a pastel palette.

This blue can easily act as a burst of energy, preventing your space from getting a little too safe or serene. A simple bookend or a sculptural lamp in this hue proves to be instantly invigorating. Whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, a splash of blue might just be the mood-booster your interior needs.

If You Want a Pop of Color on the Side

The rounded-edge shape of this side table makes it well-suited for modern taste. Consider placing it in an all-white space to make it a dramatic focal piece.

If Your Bar Cart’s Got the Blues

Give your bar cart the International Klein Blue treatment with a geometric decanter from Jonathan Adler’s Now House line. At $58, this piece (available on Amazon Prime) also makes a great host gift.

If You’re All About the Appetizer

Liven up your dining table with a bread basket that’s anything but boring. The irregular cutouts of this design by HAY lend it a playful vibe.

If You Want to Lighten Up Your Space

If you’re going to invest in a pricey artwork, consider one that has an added functional value: Danish artist Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s floor lamp doubles as a minimalist sculpture.

If Your Bookcase Needs a Boost

Amp up a basic shelf with this acrylic bookend that doubles as a simple sculpture. To make it stand out even more, consider placing it on a stack of coffee table tomes or magazines.

If You’re Looking for a Splash of Blue

A splash of vibrant blue on a neutral sofa or all-white bedspread is just the thing for spring. With neon yellow tassels, this quilt by Meri Meri is especially invigorating.

If Your Wall Needs a New Hue

A tasteful nude against a rich blue background makes an eye-catching addition to a gallery wall. Artist Kate Worum draws inspiration from Matisse’s similarly hued figural works.

If Your Stove Could Use a New Accessory

It’s true: Meal-prepping becomes fun when your cookware is as playful as Great Jones’s Dutchess. A sweet copper-toned handle makes a cheerful contrast.

If Your Side Table Is Looking Barren

For less than $30, this tall vase makes a great piece to add to a living room vignette. Set it out next to a few candlesticks and a few other tchotchkes or elevate it by using it as a vessel for a simple flower.

If You Want to Spruce Up Dinnertime

You can always count on Areaware to make colorful pieces to energize a dining setup: This set, featuring a pitcher and glasses, is perfect for a cozy dinner for two at home. Bonus: Their ridges give them an added ergonomic function.

If You Need Your Cup of Joe to Really Wake You Up

The blue glaze of these mugs is likely just as energizing as the coffee you’ll pour into them. Portland-based artist Sarah Wolf contrasts this vibrant hue with natural red clay.

If You Want to Be the Hero of Your Next Party

It doesn’t get much simpler than a bent nail–style bottle opener. A wash of International Klein Blue transforms this humble object into a statement piece.

If You Need to Dress Up a Dresser

This ridged candlestick made by Mimi Ceramics proves that taper candles are anything but old-fashioned. Consider placing this one on a side table or dresser, instead of the typical dining room spot.

If You Want a Rug That Will Do the Talking for You

Aelfie’s tiger rug, designed in collaboration with Gentle Thrills, is wildly playful, thanks to both its tongue-in-cheek design and its electrifying color palette. Who says rugs need to blend in?

If You Want to Have Technicolor Dreams

No need to swap out your entire bedspread: Two Yves Klein–inspired pillowcases look totally fresh when paired with all-white bedding. Sweet dreams.

If You Want to Go All-Out on Authencity

If you want to truly go all-out on your love of this dramatic hue, Yves Klein’s original coffee table will set you back a cool $22,500, but authenticity is priceless.

See more color inspiration: The Founder of Edie Parker Invites Us Inside Her Technicolor Upper East Side Apartment Would You Try Ombre Floors? Design Star Camille Walala Shares the Secret to Pairing Prints and Colors Without Fear

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.