The Highs and Lows of Blue and White

Written by Natalie Aldridge.

Each January shelter magazines, bloggers, and influencers scramble to predict what will be “in” and “out” for the upcoming year. We’ve decided to take a walk down Memory Lane and review our controversial 2018 analysis of the timeless classic, #blueandwhiteforever…

It is an enduring combination, blue and white. First invented during the Tang dynasty in China, white ceramics with cobalt blue pigment have been widely circulated and re-created by makers worldwide. Moving through numerous dynasties to other Asian culture and eventually throughout the world, blue and white ceramics have become one of the most enduring products of porcelain. In its modern incarnation, blue and white ceramics, though rarely produced using traditional techniques, remain historically inspired from its many iterations around globe.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In 2018, the height of HomeGoods-style blue and white mania, The Glam Pad dared to ask, “Has Blue And White Reached Saturation?” While blue and white ceramics are classic and will always have a place, it seemed our passion may have become too much of a good thing. Blue and white vases, plates, and more made their way to home good stores high and low. Motifs of ginger jars were emblazoned upon stationery, plastic tumblers, napkins, needlepoint, clothing, dog collars, phone cases, and even fingernails. So, we took to our readers to for insightful discussion…

“I still love blue and white – it’s timeless and classic. But to go out and buy a bunch of cheap blue and white knock offs just to cluster them together because one sees it in magazines qualifies for ‘trendy’. Collect what you love and edit with a discerning eye!”

“I think blue and white is classic but I prefer it in small doses. Too many people use the combination as a fall back because they know it is sure to work and you can buy a boat load of blue and white vases etc. cheaply. I am tempted to conclude that heavy reliance on blue and white shows a lack of imagination and personality.”

“I love blue and white, but I think it is definitely overused. It has definitely become a trend. Lately, I have thought it to be so overused that it looks a bit tacky. I agree with the previous commenter that it shows a lack of imagination. When used in moderation, it will always be a classic.”

“I have always loved it. And always will. Can never have too much! But I won’t hate it when places like Ballard and HomeGoods have had their fill and move onto something else. Blue and white is a classic and deserves to stay that way, not trendy and mass produced and marketed.”

“I am definitely not tired of blue and white , there are so many ways to combine these colors . . Maybe we just need to find more unusual combinations . . Actually Chinese porcelain has been overused , but I am confident in the genius of decorators to avoid beaten tracks.”

Blue and white never goes out of style, as demonstrated by Lauren Elaine Interiors
A timeless and classic bedroom by Cathy Kincaid
A Blue and White Christmas by Betsy Anderson Interiors
Home Goods

Five years later, our Instagram feeds once overflowing with clustered mounds of blue and white have seemed to fade away. While moments of blue and white still appear, ceramic piles en masse have fallen by the wayside.

As one Grandmillennial noted, “Blue and white is and always will remain my favorite scheme but we’ve got to give it a break – we’ve put in jeopardy exactly what we all love about it from overuse. The crispness is gone. I’m pairing back – think Bunny Mellon – time for lots of WHITE, green, chintz and antique (or as Mario Buatta calls it ‘old brown’) furniture.” Fast forward and this is exactly what we are seeing now!

Have we reached blue and white fatigue? What will be next for this ever-lasting duo? We want to hear your thoughts!

To read more on The Glam Pad’s exploration of this subject, please check out our 2018 Instagram poll, our 2018 online poll, and our 2018 trend analysis.

x Natalie and Andrea

Follow TGP on Instagram: @theglampad

Follow Natalie on Instagram: @natalieealdridge


  1. Totally agree! So over it! Too much of a fad. And all the stuff from TJMaxx we’ve been encouraged to “mix in” doesn’t help.

  2. I think it’s still timeless, but with everything, it’s how someone styles it and the items they use. Mark D. Sides does a gorgeous job in his blue and white rooms, and I don’t think his rooms will ever go out of style. But, I can always spot the cheaper mass produced Home Goods blue and white items and it doesn’t bring as much personality as the antiques (but I can also understand trying to achieve that look on a budget). For those who regularly go with trends, they will move onto the next one. For the traditional decorators, collected blue and white pieces will always be a timeless look.

    • Diana, I enjoyed your response. This is so well said ! it is how you style the blue and white.
      I am traditional in New England and have collected antique Chinese export pieces which have meaning because of theChinese ship trading history here. However, I do not display them all over the house, only on the shelves in our living room which has an antique rose background and a turkey red and blue oriental rug. The furnishings are French inspired, neutral colors and a few antique desk and tables with lovely patina. So the room is not all blue and white but showcases the blue and white
      But I never tire of blue and white rooms. Especially in the master bedroom. There are many sophisticated shades of blue. And blue and beige as well…. I obviously could go on and on. My kitchen has Portuguese tiles and enough touches of blue to call it a blue and white kitchen.

  3. I believe blue and white will always be a classic if well done. A well trained eye can tell the difference between inexpensive Homegoods products and quality pieces. When considering a collection, keep it small enough to be interesting. Too much of anything can look tacky.

  4. It’s the old saying You get what you pay for! Blue and white is always appropriate when done tastefully. The trick is layering old pieces with patina, and texture like the designers you mentioned. A great classic book discussing blue and white is Mark Hampton’s book.

  5. I am a designer and I have always believed that using design classics will never go out of style. Unfortunately we are in an age of anything being prone to overkill. The bottom line in decorating, as with most things is moderation. Too much of anything is, well, just too much. Trends limit your choices, then look dated. If you really love something it should be in your home. I don’t have any issue using inexpensive items from the big box retailers, as long as you choose things that are well designed and not use them in abundance. Not everyone can afford antiques, and even those who can don’t choose to spend a lot on everything. I am also over the overstated everything blue and white trend, but a well designed blue and white room will always be beautiful.

  6. Even Mario Buatta succumbed to the allure of a Homegoods treasure as noted in his estate auctions. It all comes down to a curated collection. Remember todays “Maxx for the minimum” finds will be the next generations treasures… provided they don’t all end up at Goodwill.

  7. I think antique blue and white is a classic. But not the mass produced poor quality items. I am a collector, so I have a lot, and it looks good because it is high quality. I’ve been collecting for 35 years, but I started with 2 jars on my mantle, and now I have a house full of it. You don’t have to get everything all at once.

  8. I’ll never tire of b/w. I think the secret of those that might be tiring of the look in their home is to add some color to the b/w room For instance add a wonderful green piece of furniture. I love the palm beach colors added to a blue room. Not much, but something else to draw the eye.

  9. I have been an avid collector of blue and white porcelain during the Meiji Period rather than the Chinese blue and white porcelain before I started reading this blog regarding interior designs. I will never get tired of Quality blue and white porcelains, Blanc de Chine style beautiful porcelains, and antique potteries tastefully decorated together. I get turned off by looking at any photos of interiors with any cheap mass produced potteries and porcelains even though the designer spent tons of money on furniture. Changing porcelains/potteries together with season plants and flowers as a decoration and as a part of interior design, I strongly believe that you will never get tired of blue and white

  10. I still love it. I’ve always loved blue and white pottery and porcelain so it’s never been just a trend for me. Decorate with what you love; the cheaper b/w pottery from Home Goods, etc. is no less attractive.

  11. is nothing sacred ?! this article made me smile bravely puncturing, in an emperor wears no clothes way, the painting by numbers treatment of styling blue and white. The barely disguised snobbery was also joyful !

    yes, blue & white, has been mistreated in the hands of some. in the hands of others, see Kathy Kincaid, it is a triumph ! like many things it is in the hands of the user. This article may make us think, which is always a good thing, but then….do what you want with blue and white. if it brings YOU joy it is better than empty walls and shelves. I have old blue and white that I use…meat plates, all sorts. my home is not a temple to blue and white. But, thank you for the bravery of this article, It was fun and insightful.


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