Cyan is a color that is achieved by mixing blue light with green light, and so it sits right between blue and green on the color wheel. However, anyone looking at the color cyan would most likely say that it is a shade of blue and not green.
This is a bright and vibrant, heavily saturated shade that can be used to promote feelings of relaxation and good health. This is a color that is commonly associated with tropical themes because it is the color of tile used in swimming pools and is also the color of tropical lagoons. For these reasons, many people associate this color with vacations and the feeling of being relaxed or re-energized.
Make the most of the positive qualities of cyan by using it in home decor, in rooms where you want to feel calm or refreshed. As cyan is a very bright and vibrant shade, the colors it is used with need to be chosen carefully so that a space doesn’t feel overstimulating or garish.
Here we will look at stylish ways to use cyan in interior design and which are the best colors to pair with it.
Interior Decor Themes for Cyan
No tropical style is complete without some cyan accents. In a vacation-themed space, paint walls in a stark white and then add cyan and magenta decor pieces, such as a magenta sofa and cyan curtains.
This theme would also look great with lime green or bright lemon yellow. Introduce a quirky motif into the space, such as pineapples or flamingos, to really commit to the tropical style. These are popular decor motifs at the moment, so you should be able to get hold of a flamingo print wallpaper for a feature wall, for example, or a pineapple-themed lamp shade.
Cyan has a really powerful calming and soothing effect when it is used with the right shades. Choose very pale beige colors to use with cyan, and this will result in a space that feels fresh yet warm. The warmth in beige will balance out the cool tones in cyan, making for a room that feels inviting and relaxing.
Cyan can also be used with white to achieve an atmosphere that is more invigorating and refreshing while also maintaining a calming sense. Avoid contrasting shades in this kind of interior decor style, and instead, use other shades of blue if you want to create some depth in the space.
Cyan is a great color choice in retro-themed spaces because it has a vibrant vintage feel. In a kitchen, choose blank and white checkered floor tiles or vinyl, and paint kitchen cabinets in cyan blue.
You could also add accents in cherry red if you want to completely commit to the retro style, such as a glossy red blender or set of coffee mugs displayed on the countertop.
A monochrome kitchen or dining room would also take on a retro vibe if you introduced cyan blue faux leather bar stools with silver metal legs and a cyan-framed retro-style wall clock.
Coastal decor themes can be interpreted in so many ways. You could use a variation of white and gray for a breezy coastal theme or navy blue and beige for a more formal coastal theme.
One way to interpret a coastal theme is to use cyan and beige or cyan and pale yellow to create a more exotic beach feel. This can be done by using a soft beige on the walls to represent sand and cyan-colored accents, such as curtains or a rug to represent the ocean.
Colors to Use with Cyan
Cyan is a vivid and bold color, but it can be toned down if you use it with shades of dark blue. If you love cyan but feel like it will be too overstimulating, navy blue will create a more conservative tone.
In a bedroom, paint walls in navy blue for an intense depth, and lighten up the mood with cyan bed sheets, topped with cushions in a variety of shades of blue.
Cyan is a color that matches really well with any shades of gray with a cool undertone. Paler cool grays will feel airy and contemporary, while dark charcoal or slate grays will add a distinct modern depth to a cyan room.
You could use pale grays with cyan for an updated coastal look that is cool and breezy or try dark grays with cyan in a bathroom for a refreshing spa-like space.
In a room that has been painted entirely in dark gray, you can brighten up the space and make it feel more positive by introducing cyan accents, such as cyan throw cushions and a cyan patterned rug.
If you don’t feel very confident in choosing colors that go well together, then white is a safe color choice for cyan that will work in any style you choose. These two colors offer simple yet playful minimalism that is ideal for use in a Scandinavian-style space, or they could work well in a coastal or beachy-themed home.
White and cyan are popular color schemes for a bathroom because they look fresh, clean, and modern. Opt for an entirely white bathroom to achieve a hotel-like elegance, including white floor tiles, a white vanity unit, and white walls. Contrast this with small touches of cyan, such as cyan towels and a cyan soap dispenser, to bring life to the space and make it feel invigorating.
Red is the opposite color of cyan, and cherry red specifically looks particularly appealing when used with this color. Cherry red and cyan are an ideal pairing for a retro or vintage look if you want to recreate a 1950’s look. They can also work well for an art deco theme if you want to turn the clock back even further to the 1930s.
Glossy finishes are key in a retro color scheme, so look for high-shine cherry red tiles to use as a kitchen backsplash, and set a shiny cyan vase against it. You can add black to this color scheme to give it a diner-style look, and use silver metallic finishes for any metal details, such as light fittings, handles, and furniture legs.
Magenta is a purple-pink color that is bright and vibrant. Cyan is a color that can pair with magenta – it makes for a really fun and energetic pairing with cyan, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t also use a neutral third color.
In instances such as this, where two of your color choices are very vibrant, it is a good idea to also use a third color to help create balance and break up the vibrancy a little. Even if you want to achieve a vibrant look, too many of these colors will look garish instead of bright and fun.
A good rule of thumb is to use the 60:30:10 system, in which you choose a base color to cover 60% of the space and use the accent colors for 30% and 10% of the space.
As cyan and magenta are so intense, these should be used for the 30 and 10 proportions, with a neutral color as the main 60 proportions. For these colors, a pure white or a soft white would work well, or a pale cool gray shade.
Yellow and cyan bounce off each other really well, with yellow bringing warmth and a sense of uplifting joy to the cyans’ cool and soothing qualities. This is a color scheme that can look very quaint or very modern, depending on the style you choose.
Use lemon yellow as a base color in a country cottage bedroom with cyan floral print cushions and a quilted comforter to achieve a homely, vintage look.
For a modern Scandinavian style, paint a dining room in pure white and then paint alternating dining chairs in cyan blue and bright yellow with furniture paint. The result will be a quirky, contemporary style.
Orange is a contrasting and complementary shade to blue, so this is a color that looks great with cyan.
Pumpkin orange is the best shade of orange to use because it is deep and saturated enough to be able to stand up to the strength of cyan without being outshone. As these colors are both very intense, use a neutral color alongside them, such as gray or white.
Blush pink is a really popular paint shade right now, which can be used to make cyan blue feel a little more delicate. As blush pink is dusky and subdued, it is a great way to incorporate pink in a room without it being overwhelmingly feminine and frilly.
Choose blush pink in a child’s bedroom as the main color, and then introduce a fun personality by adding cyan touches, such as a series of cyan pictures framed on the wall or floral print curtains with some cyan accents.