Colors that go with navy blue can create a rich, sophisticated, and deeply comforting interior scheme. While some colors add depth to blue, others contrast with it, injecting a fun vibe to an overall tranquil scheme.
'Navy is such a classic and beautiful color to live with,' says Amy Krane, architectural color consultant and founder of Amy Krane Color. 'Though a cool color, it can skew warmer (purple-blue) or cooler (green-blue or teal). Knowing which it is will help you choose colors to accompany it. As a darker color, it will require a lot of light (natural preferred) to look good in a room; though a little powder room in navy is fine too.'
While colors that go with blue are easy to find, you may need to think a little before pairing tones with navy blue. Here are some designer-approved schemes to take inspiration from.
When it comes to colors that go with red, navy blue can be a great companion, but the pairing needs to be handed with care. While red is a strong, fiery hue, blue can be deeply pensive, creating a cave-like interior. But when the two are well-balanced where neither is stepping over the other, the palette can look eye-catching and stylish, as in this smart New York apartment.
'This is a library in a gut renovation of an apartment with a somber aesthetic, done for a young couple in Greenwich Village,' say Alexander Poma and Leslie Steven, founders of PomaSteven Design & Architecture. 'The room's walls are covered with Maya Romanoff's Weathered Walls wallcovering; a look-alike for lacquered leather. The room's millwork is painted in an intense glossy navy. The velvet sectional is a custom sleeper paired with a Josef Frank coffee table and a vintage French lounge chair in red from Magen H Gallery. This cozy room was designed as a quiet decompression zone with this palette, for reading and TV watching that works as a very private room for guests.'
Navy blue is among the best colors that go with yellow - a pairing that looks equal parts striking and modern. Yellow is a warm, versatile color that adds an instant ray of sunshine to an otherwise sultry dark blue room. If it's a more energetic and lively vibe you're looking to create, consider using pops of both these colors against a neutral backdrop, as in this modern scheme.
'The soft, velvety blue Camaleonda sofa by B&B Italia is complemented by the pop yellow Roly Poly armchair, and the colors in the room are reflected by the mirrored coffee table,' says Giorgia Cedro, founder of Olbos Studio. 'An eye-catching Tobia floor lamp by Foscarini completes the composition by opposing the horizontality of the sofa in a playful manner.'
Navy blue is a color that goes with purple, too - striking the most soothing, comforting, and warm visual.
'Navy, being a deep and dark color, exudes a calming ambiance,' says Kashi Shikunova, director at Yam Studios. 'To maintain balance, I find it works particularly well with deep purple or lilac shade. Its pink undertones complement the navy perfectly by adding warmth. The lighter shade of lilac contributes to the overall sense of tranquillity, creating a harmonious combination that feels soothing.'
'The color palette for the primary bedroom was selected to elicit slumber and relaxation,' say Corey Kingston and Liza Curtiss, principles of Le Whit. 'The dark blue of the walls allows the deep purple upholstered headboard, the blush-colored bedding, and the warm accents to co-exist without too much visual upset.'
White is a classic match for navy blue if you want the color to take center stage. But how should you use it?
'Using such a dark hue on the ceiling as well as the walls can produce a very different feel than using a lighter color for the ceiling,' says Amy Krane. 'A white or off-white ceiling and/or trim with navy is a high contrast situation. Make sure you like that look before you take that route. Alternatively, be careful not to create a cave-like atmosphere covering the whole room with navy which sometimes is a risk with a dark ceiling. If you don't want a navy or white ceiling try a light neutral to give the room a more airy feeling.'
'Navy with white has a nautical, even preppy vibe,' says Amy. 'Navy suits all types of decor from traditional (think Ralph Lauren), to transitional, contemporary, or even modern. It’s not a color associated with mid-century modern environments but that shouldn't stop someone with that type of space if they love navy.'
When you're looking for colors that go with burgundy, navy blue might be a little unexpected, but it pairs beautifully with the color, creating an interior that is rich with depth and timeless sophistication. Other jewel tones like gold or silver especially pop out in this palette.
'For the interiors, we drew on high-end European styles and brought together a careful curation of pieces from local and international designers,' says Guillaume Coutheillas, founder of frenchCALIFORNIA. 'We sourced collectible design pieces from internationally renowned galleries and showrooms including Capellini, B&B Italia, CC Tapis, and Flos, working closely with them to create an exhibition that is meant to evoke the ‘Modern Dolce Vita’. The color palette for this room was dark and moody, creating a cozy yet sophisticated office/library space. Jewel tones like navy blue, burgundy, and a silver-grey blend together to create an alluring design.'
Lilac and lavender have been gaining quite a bit of traction recently. It's a very calming hue, that much like pink does need something darker to ground it and give it a less saccharine quality. Plus, many colors go with lavender. Hence why it works so well with navy blue. It has the same cool undertones but adds a softness to the darker shade and you can find lilac shades that are so subtle, they almost just act like a neutral.
'I’ve always been lavender skeptical, perhaps because I’m insecure in my masculinity?' says designer Jonathan Adler 'Well, I’m insecure no more! Lavender is the pastel du jour and I am obsessed with it. It feels dreamy and floaty and surreal. And lavender plays well with others – navy, chocolate brown, taupe, and white.'
Grey and navy blue may sound like there would be too many cool tones going on and it would risk making a space feel frosty. However, pick the right warm, deep grey and pair it with a beautifully dark midnight blue and the mix becomes one of the coziest and most cocooning combinations on the color wheel. This navy living room is a great example.
‘In a classic, vintage homes, the rear section of a double reception room is often lacking in natural light as the rear of the house can leave it in shade,' says Andrew Griffiths, founder of A New Day. 'Rather than see that as a negative, we decided to lean into that by making this space a cozy and cocooning TV snug. The wraparound color of rich walls creates an atmospheric space that has a distinct feel from the lighter, brighter front section of the space which we separated with pocket doors. The ceiling is finished in a warm greige to create a lightness overhead but with a softer contrast than using white. A limewash paint is used on both the walls and ceiling, introducing a mottled and chalky finish which brings real depth to the flat surfaces.’
8. Light blues
Blue on blue might sound bland living room paint color idea, but going all over with a single color always has a surprisingly striking effect. Trying pairing navy blue furniture, whether that be a sofa or a chair, with slightly lighter rich blue walls for a calming and cocooning look. Add some much-needed warmth with wood accents.
'When pairing navy with other blues, look for shades that can provide contrast, like pale shades of blue,' says Sarah. 'Introducing additional colors or using neutrals to break up the blues can help the space feel overly monochromatic while leaning into a blue aesthetic.'
9. Rust orange
The color wheel already tells us this is a combination that's meant to work. Complementary colors sit opposite each other so orange was made to pair with blue; the warmth balancing out the cool of the navy. Plus many colors go with orange. And it doesn't have to be a dramatic high-contrasting scheme (although we do love how tangerines zing against navy). A deep rusty orange looks beautiful against the moodier tones of a dark blue.
'While navy blue and rusty oranges can look beautiful together, they can also be high-energy colors when paired,' says Sarah. 'To create a more balanced and grounding environment, look to earthy oranges paired with warm terracotta's and browns that can be accented with shades of navy. Navy and rust orange can also work well in tandem to help activate a more neutral space, such as an ivory sofa paired with textured throw pillows in shades of navy and orange.'
10. Fresh greens
Blue and green should never be seen right? Wrong! Navy blue and a fresh bright can be a sophisticated, traditional pairing, and blue really should be considered as a color that goes with green. The green lifts the navy, giving it a much fresher and livelier look.
'Navy often pairs well with deeper, cool-leaning greens and sage tones,' says Sarah. 'The blue-grey tones of sage green make it a soothing counterpart to navy. It can also help lighten a navy space without as stark a contrast as whites or creams. Deep greens in similarly cool, more desaturated tones can also work well with navy, particularly in patterning that may lean towards a more historical or traditional aesthetic.'
Amongst the colors that go with pink is navy blue – a combination that looks sophisticated and grown-up look. The shades work well to balance each other out. The muted warm, rosy tones counteract any of the cooler tones of the deep blue and the navy prevents the pink from looking too sweet and sickly.
The key is to get the undertones right. The majority of pinks do have that blueish undertone; it's what gives them their muted tone, but be sure to order samples of your paint or fabric and see how the two shades sit together.
'Pink can often be seen as a youthful color, but when put together with navy, it instantly matures and can act as a soft neutral,' says Juliette Thomas, founder & director of Juliettes Interiors. 'Pairing navy with pink is a great combination, due to how well they balance one another out, as the cool undertones of the navy are warmed up by the pink, resulting in a clever decorative scheme. As both colors are quite bold, so it’s best to choose one dominant color for the walls or the larger, core items such as a sofa or bed, and add subtle hints of the other shade via home accessories.'
How can I use navy blue in an on-trend way?
One of the boldest ways to use navy blue is to go all-in on the shade. 'There are so many ways to use this color but one of my favorite approaches is to bath a room in navy blue,' says interior designer Jewel Marlowe, founder of Jeweled Interiors. 'Visually, this will take up about 50-60% of the room.'
To make the overall scheme more interesting, Jewel then suggests layering in other shades, especially those from the other side of the color wheel. 'I might layer in the neutral sofas and drapes, but I then punch it up with pops of red or pink,' Jewel suggests. 'A design like this results in a room that is soothing, yet visually interesting.'
3 colors that pair with navy blue
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Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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