Navy living room ideas - 10 ways to use this sophisticated, smart and stylish shade

Our selection of navy living room ideas will coax you to play with this dark hue with confidence

A navy blue painted living room with a bright yellow couch
(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

With navy living room ideas, two things are guaranteed – style and comfort. Deep hues can work wonders in a living room, and create a snug, inviting feel. To that end, navy blue is a stylish choice. The color can be used as a backdrop for bold colors and patterns, or as the hero shade that dictates the room's design. 

'I love navy and have it in almost every room. I never tire of the bold but soothing feel it gives me,' says Jennifer Morris, interior designer and founder of JMorris Design. 'It’s classic like black but is just a touch softer and richer.'

When it comes to living room ideas, one of the boldest and most daring shades to use (second only to black) is the deep navy blue. If you think about it, the color isn't all that unapproachable. After all, it's present in nature, from the pitch-perfect beauty of the dark skies to stormy ocean waters. 

We asked interior designers to suggest ways to use this color and they came back with a long list of easy solutions. Take notes.

10 navy living room ideas to steal

1. Layer with different navy blue tones

A living room layered with navy blue tones

If your living room is the most frequented space, and especially used a lot in the evening, consider drenching it in all blues – the perfect evening color. Paint the walls navy blue, and let the color flow to the furniture and even carpet. Choose lighter tones of blues on the accessories and other furnishings, lest the room becomes too dark.

'Navy is one of the few rich, bold colors that are calming and adds an instant feeling of coziness while still feeling fresh year after year,' say Alice Arterberry and Barrett Cooke, interior designers at the design studio Arterberry Cooke (opens in new tab). 'Make sure you're choosing a navy with green/grey undertones instead of red/violet undertones.'

When layering a room with the same tone, remember, a disparate selection of objects can look quite haphazard if not displayed well. Create the living room color scheme in a clever manner with the right positioning of proportioned objects that have similar scales, for a harmonious feel. The dark navy walls can ground everything into a cohesive whole.

2. Consider painting the walls and ceiling navy blue 

A dark navy blue living room with a pink sofa

(Image credit: Design by Jeanne Schultz. Photo by Leonid Furmansky)

'Paint your walls and ceiling in blue,' says Natasha Bradley, interior design director, Lick (opens in new tab). 'It has a positive effect on the body and mind as this hue reflects the color of the sky and ocean. If you paint your ceiling a dark blue, it will cause the body to produce a chemical that is calming and provide a feeling of tranquillity. If you want to cocoon yourself then choose a dark color like our Blue 07.'

For a cocooning effect and a cozy living room, taking the paint around the length and breadth of the room can be an interesting idea.  Here, the navy blue walls and ceiling have given the space a wonderfully contemporary twist, and the bright pink sofa adds another layer of color to this vibrant space.

'If you have a smaller space with lower ceilings we suggest you paint the whole room, including the ceiling, in satin finish navy,' say Alice and Barrett. 'Painting the ceiling helps extend the height of walls and makes the room feel larger and more loungy. Accent the room with a cream-colored rug and brass light fixtures with cream shades.'

3. Bring in a bold navy sofa to add a touch of elegance in your living room 

A white painted living room with artworks on the wall and a bold navy blue sofa

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

If you're looking to add a statement piece to your room, a navy blue sofa can be an ideal modern living room furniture piece. It's a great choice as it works well with a variety of tones and seasons. Blue, being a regal color can instantly elevate your space. Navy is perfect, not too loud or bright.

'If you're wondering what type of sofa to bring in, then a navy velvet sofa can be the right choice. It is inviting, pretty, and sophisticated,' says interior designer Jennifer Morris (opens in new tab)

Interestingly, the days of beige and off-white being the only neutrals are long gone. If you have a vibrant interior design scheme, a dark blue sofa can actually become a chic new neutral, used to ground a wider palette of say, red, peppermint green, and yellow.

Consider mid-century furniture in a mix of wood, leather, and metal with upholstery in navy blue for a stylish atmosphere.

4. Add navy blue in unexpected ways

A section in a living room with blue-toned accessories

If you're unsure about drenching your home in navy blue, we suggest you dip your toe in with a few accessories to introduce the color. 'Be adventurous; bring in blue in unexpected ways like a raffia-covered console, lacquered side table, or through curios,' says Jennifer.

Navy blue is so eye-catching that even a hint of it can transform a space. In your pared-back, elegant living room, sprinkle navy via cushions and artworks, so the color stands out but does not dominate the space.

5. Drench the millwork in navy blue

A living room with blue painted doors and blue tufted sofa

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

'If you have a large living room with high ceilings, we suggest using navy on an area of functional millwork such as an entertainment center, doors, bookshelves, or bar areas,' say Alice and Barrett. 'It will help anchor the space and focus your attention.'

By painting the door navy blue, you can introduce some color into your room without having to select a random wall and paint it. Go all the way and paint the architraves and skirting boards – since it's just the door you're paining, the effect won't look overwhelming.

Painting the internal door can become a great living room DIY project. Keep in mind that the best paint for interior doors is semi-gloss because it is easy to clean and has a finish that lasts a long time. If you are re-painting the door, you will have to remove it from the hinges, strip the existing paint, and sand the door. Otherwise, you can simply paint a plain door while it is already hung on its hinges.

Flat doors are the easiest to paint, as you simply need a roller to color them. Panel doors can take time as you need to fill in the panels and work in the direction of the grain of the wood. 

6. Soak the living room curtains in navy blue

A navy blue living room with a dark toned, heavy curtains

If you’re just testing waters with navy blue, why not try injecting the color with a few soft furnishings rather than committing to paint? Floor-to-ceiling velvet or twill living room curtains will block the light, so you don’t get disturbed by the evening chorus of noise and streetlights. Don’t skimp on fabric and make sure the curtains are well lined for further insulation.

'If you don’t have any discernible build-outs in your space, floor-length curtains work just as well,' say Alice and Barrett. 'Walls should stay a warm white with all trim being painted a medium tone cream to layer the space and add depth. Accent the room with a dark rug and light fixtures.'

If you live in a period-style property, consider cornicing to conceal the curtain tracks – a neat trick that means the floor-length drapes don’t distract from the decor of the room. You can also install double tracks or poles so you can hang voiles or muslins behind your curtains.

7. Pair navy with other complementing tones

Navy blue living room with internal crittall doors, grey sofa and yellow armchair

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

A big tip in pairing color is picking two tones with comparable depth, so your scheme doesn't look too off. When you choose two colors with extremely competing tones, say a matte with a florescent, the result can be jarring.

When choosing combinations, there are several colors that go with navy. From the classic creams, whites to earthy greens and greys, these are some of the most fool-proof combos. Jewel tones such as burnt orange, emerald, saffron, and even glossy blacks when paired with navy look fantastic.

Here, the soothing tones of inky blue work perfectly when teamed with a bold hit of mustard. The navy walls give the space a formal feel, while the mustard armchair creates a playful contrast that adds a contemporary twist.

8. Try a bold navy wallpaper to bring in pattern

A living room with a blue wallpaper and a navy blue sofa

(Image credit: Design by Danielle Brustman and The Stylesmiths. Photo by Nicole England)

To make a real impact, try a bold patterned wallpaper in the living room. Be clever with the tone color, the prints, and even the wall where you want to display it.

While choosing a wallpaper, it's never a good idea to do so in isolation. Think about how different elements in your room will sit together around the patterned wall. Ensure the color of the wallpaper is mirrored in any one or two more elements in the room. 

In vintage homes, a trompe l’oeil wallpaper can go a long way in sealing the space's royal design story. If it's an exploration of materiality you're after, a tile or fabric-effect wallpaper in navy can look superb. 

Wallpapering the ceiling can add character, and visually adjust a room’s proportions. If you have a small apartment living room, a geometric wallpaper high up can pack a punch, turning a small space into a real treat.

9. Pair navy with metallic tones

A deep blue living room with a pink sofa and a large gold chandelier

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Make the most of the decadent dark tones by mixing your navy walls with luxurious materials. When paired with bright metals, navy can make a room feel opulent and grand. The somber tones of blue allow the gold to radiate without seeming gaudy or glaring. 

Unless you’re taking a deep dive into opulence, gold usually works best in small, subtle doses. Consider bringing in a contemporary or mid-century modern chandelier for your living room lighting scheme. With just a touch of gold on the fixture, paired with blue walls, a glorious interior can be designed. 

Gold-colored fabrics with hints of glitter are also the perfect partner for warming up deep and dramatic colors such as navy.

10. Tone down dark blue with neutrals

Dark blue living room with white ceiling, blue sofa and stone fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

 If you want a bright, fresh look to your living space, a reflective white or cream background is a lovely foil for blue. The color combo also has a nautical feel to it. Perhaps add some wooden elements to further warm the interior. 

To create a luxury living room vibe and to stop it from feeling too clinical, incorporate different luxe textures such as wool, fur, high-end linen, and tactile throws. 

Another neutral that can offset the moody navy is light grey. The reason why navy walls and grey sofas don’t visually cancel each other out is that the colors create a wonderful light and shadow effect without looking too stark. 

When looking for the perfect grey and blue to pair, you might find the answer in the great outdoors. Grey-blue and pebble grey are perfectly complementary.

Is navy blue a good color for the living room?

Sherwin Williams Naval

(Image credit: Sherwin Williams)

For decades, blue has played an important role in interior design, and today, as homeowners are becoming more daring and risky in their choices, the time for deep, moody colors has arrived. Navy blue being a strong color is a favored choice as it can be paired with other hues and it helps create the coziest of spaces.

When it comes to blue living room ideas, fresh interpretations of this color are making this space look dramatic and luxurious. Navy blue looks fabulous in upholstery, fabrics, and painted furniture finishes. The tone grounds a space and instantly dresses up any room. 

How do I add navy to my living room?

When used as wall paint, navy envelopes the space and gives it a cocooning effect. The same can be said when the color is used up to the ceiling.

A popular combination with navy blue is yellow. As the two are opposite each other on the color wheel, the contrast they create is stunning to look at. Consider painting a wall navy and add a mustard sofa in the mix.

Apart from furnishings and accessories, even joinery painted blue looks stunning. The color brings out the architectural features of a room brilliantly and gives the space an inherent grandness.

If using navy abundantly isn't your thing, the easiest way to play with this color is through accessories. Choose navy blue vases, pots, curios, or a tray. These pieces add a pop to the color scheme and can be moved out should you wish to change the look of your interior.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.