Why Dark Blue is the new Black

Choose a moody navy, petrol or inky blue for a look that’s bold, dramatic, yet very liveable...


Sophisticated, smart and pretty darn sexy, deep blue is the warmer way of embracing on-trend dark side hues such as grey. It also has
a rather luxe feel – just think of all those châteaux and stately homes, where it is teamed with plenty of gold or used as a backdrop to collections of Old Masters.

These associations are less surprising when you realise that blue pigments once cost more than gold. Historically, blue was a colour that was one of the most expensive to produce and spoke of the wealth and extravagance of the homes it appeared in.

Get the look: The walls and joinery are painted in Squid Ink emulsion/ eggshell by Paint & Paper Library. This is Oka’s Petworth dining table. These are Tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll and Beat pendant lights by Tom Dixon. The gold vases are from Zara Home.

In art, blue paint was reserved for depicting royalty, dignitaries and religious figures and still, to this day, holds that same luxurious appeal.

Navy shades are adaptable, with a useful ability to offset other colours, as well as straddling many seemingly contradictory moods: timeless or contemporary, glamorous or relaxing. It’s ultimately usable and versatile.

Get the look: The door is painted in Black Blue by Farrow & Ball. The wreath is by The Shop Floor Project.

See Also: Moody And Dramatic Dark Living Room Ideas

Not only that, navy is particularly useful for us Brits, as our northern light enhances its pigments, giving a sense of endless space and opportunity.

Because it’s on the warmer side of the blue spectrum, navy creates an inviting, cocooning feel. Put this down to the fact that all blues evoke feelings of calm and serenity, as well as aiding concentration, making navy the perfect antidote to our 24/7 lives.

Get the look: This is a Devol kitchen.

It’s no wonder we love it so much, and why it’s also become such a popular colour for kitchens. But how to decide on the best shade, and where to use it?



Navy is a surprisingly versatile neutral that works well paired with other colours. For something quiet, colours like grey-greens, pale pink and white look amazing.

Get the look: The kitchen is by Woodwork Traditional Handmade Furniture, painted in Railings estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball.

If you’re more daring, go for browns and oranges, or even a hot pink– just remember that a small amount goes a long way.

Get the look: The walls are painted in Down Pipe estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The Eames Stool A (aka ‘Time Life’) is available from The Conran Shop. The vintage armchair is upholstered in a Designers Guild velvet; its Varese in Cassis is similar. The Pia tray, in the fireplace, by Rachel Convers for Ibride is available from Made in Design.

See Also: Stylish Dark Bedroom Ideas


Don’t struggle against the poorer light you get in north-facing rooms, rather take the opportunity to go for a bold navy-based scheme. Instead of trying to fight the gloom with a white, embrace it and make a virtue of its potential for drama. 

Get the look: The walls are painted in Juniper Ash absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene. The sofa is by George Smith, trimmed with a linen fringe by Nicky Haslam. This is the Pigeon print by Hugo Guinness at John Derian. The Baobab table lamp is by Porta Romana. The curtains are made in Raoul for George Smith’s Madras in Delft.

Navy is fantastic for the way it creates a timeless feel and adds style. The living room below has a moody, cool and clubby feel, with walls painted tip to toe in inky blue.

Get the look: The floral painting is by Will Ayres. This is the Martini side table from West Elm. The sofa is by Designers Guild. The Graphic cushion on the sofa and the table lamps, opposite and in the family room beyond, are from House Curious. This is the Atomium pendant light by Lambert & Fils. The parquet flooring is from The Natural Wood Floor Company.


Painting walls and ceilings the same inky shade makes a statement and plays a visual trick by blurring boundaries between different areas – useful in smaller spaces or low-ceilinged rooms.

Get the look: Walls and ceiling in Squid Ink 698 pure flat emulsion, £48.50 for 2.5L; woodwork in Squid Ink 698 architects’ eggshell, £66.50 for 2.5L; woodwork and cornicing in far room in Lead I 681 architects’ eggshell, £66.50 for 2.5L; wall in far room in Lead V 685 pure flat emulsion, £48.50 for 2.5L, all Paint & Paper Library


Even in small doses, navy can create an atmosphere of cosiness and protection. In this long and thin corridor, the colour was only taken half way up the wall. If the narrow space had been blue all the way to the ceiling, the space would have felt very enclosed. By using a light shade at the top, the area feels more open.

Get the look: The lower half of the wall is painted in Inchyra Blue; the upper half in All White, both by Farrow & Ball. The overhead light is from Gong. The bauble decoration is from Habitat.


If you are not yet ready for coloured kitchen units, try using navy as an accent colour instead. Navy on a kitchen island will ground the space and create a focal point for the room. 

Get the look: Virtuoso kitchen by Mowlem & Co. Original BTC’s Titan pendant, £249, Heal’s, makes for a fine finishing touch. A similar Mowlem & Co kitchen starts from around £35,000.

Or in a small galley kitchen, paint the shortest wall navy – it will create a feature and bring the wall forward, creating the illusion of a more symmetrical space.

See Also: 10 Stunning Blue Kitchen Ideas


When building up a softer colour story with a deep blue base, look to our Scandi cousins for ideas for complementary colours. Their northern landscape informs the palette: navy and faded denim blues are paired with soft chalky white, fern green, slate blue and lead-pencil grey. There is a natural coolness to it, yet it doesn’t feel cold.

Get the look: This is the Miconos wall light by Artemide. Find the Paille japonaise RM 101 12 wall covering by Élitis at Abbott & Boyd. The studded headboard and chest of drawers were made bespoke. The mattress is by Tempur. The bed linen is from The Linen Works. The David vase is from Rockett St George.

See Also: 2018 Christmas Decorating Trend: Scandinavian Winter


Dark blue is infinitely flexible and works just as well in a bedroom or bathroom. Because it’s such a deep colour it’s universal.

Get the look: The dark wall is painted in Thunder Blue emulsion by Sanderson. These are Kartell basins. The vanity unit was made bespoke and painted in Black Blue estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball. The vanity unit legs are by Swedish outfit Prettypegs.

When using it in different rooms, you just dress them differently. For instance, in a child’s room, you could add lots of pictures. The navy makes a tremendous backdrop and the images would make it a little more playful and colourful.

Although still dramatic, the royal blue in the living room below feels light and fresh as it’s offset with sanded blonde flooring, a white marble fireplace and white painted armoire. A light painting and pastel coloured ornaments also help lighten the mood of this room.

Get the look: The walls are painted in Hague Blue estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The armoire is a vintage find. The woodburner is from Wingham Woodburning Stoves. The painting is a family piece. The wall lights are vintage Italian.

See Also: 25 Fun And Playful Kids Room Ideas


A moody blue can take on a restful vibe when teamed with classic white and warming wood. Keep the ceilings white as well for a harmonious look and to make the room appear more spacious.

Get the look: De Nimes estate emulsion, £45 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball



Napoleonic Blue chalkpaint, £19.95 for 1L, Annie Sloan

See Also: Stylish Dark Bedroom Ideas


Mythical Nights Premium Blend v700 Walls & Ceilings, £28 for 2.5L, Valspar


Midnight Navy Feature Wall matt emulsion, from £14 for 1.25L, Crown Paints


Blueprint matt emulsion, £46 for 2.5L, Mylands

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