Discover what colors go with navy blue, and build color schemes that maximize impact of this rich, classic color.

By Ann Wilson

Valued for its neutrality, weighty presence, and classic-meets-comfy associations, navy blue is a versatile hue that adapts to suit most color schemes and every room and decorating style. Its dark tones capture the eye, cause lighter and brighter colors to pop, and complement interiors boasting coastal, classic, and contemporary character. Though navy blue's benefits are many, it is a very dark color that needs to be applied in proper proportions and balanced by other colors to ensure it doesn't overwhelm and create dreary, closed-in room designs. Overall, color companions should be clear, crisp, and bright. Black-shaded hues like dusty purple, hunter green, and maroon share navy's intensity and are likely to fade when paired with the dark blue hue. Luckily, you'll find plenty of colors -- from pale yellows to primary reds -- that go beautifully with navy blue. Here's a look at hues you can use to create navy blue-based schemes.

Navy Blue and White

Picture whitecaps breaking atop dark blue waves and an azure sky beyond, and you'll immediately realize why whites and blues go so well with navy blue. White is a classic high-contrast partner that sets off the deep-sea hue and gives navy blue a lively lift. White-painted furniture, fabrics with white backgrounds, and breezy sheer curtain panels handily partner with navy blue. When it comes to blues, choose dusty-blue shades and true blue hues to create easy-on-the-eye compositions. If Caribbean rhythms appeal to you, choose green-tinted water colors, such as aqua and turquoise, to pair with navy blue. Off-whites, creams, and most mid-tone and lighter blues also make fine partners for navy blue.

Navy Blue and Brights

Lighten up navy blues by introducing vivacious colors that suit your design preferences and evoke the mood you want to create. Tone down navy blue's serious overtones by layering in terra-cotta, lime green, lemony yellow, orange, and coral to fashion cheerful calypso cadences. Cultivate garden-fresh cottage looks by introducing flowery fabrics sporting touches of navy blue, leafy green, cornflower blue, daffodil yellow, and carnation pink. Refresh formal spaces by accenting navy blues with Kelly or emerald greens, golden yellows, and raspberry reds. Combine red and white with navy blue to fashion patriotic country schemes and playful nautical kids' rooms. If you're stumped on what colors to use in your design, find inspiration at fabrics or wallpaper stores or at online fabrics and wallpaper sites. Look for patterns that combine navy blue with other colors in a manner and ratio that appeals to you; then, use that pattern's palette as your color scheme.

Navy and Neutrals

Got a penchant for peaceful places? Look outside to find calming hues and earthen textures that complement navy blue. Piney backdrops, verdigris patinas, whitewashed brick, seashore paint colors, black furniture finishes, straw-hued wicker and rattan accents, and concrete-gray countertops partner perfectly with navy blue hues. Pick neutral accessories and materials that are lighter or much darker than a room's navy blue finishes and furniture to emphasize color differences and lend distinction to each element. No matter which colors you pair with navy, employ this contrast-creating strategy to prevent muddied-up views and supply noteworthy resting places as you draw attention around your navy-blue-cued room.

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Comments (1)

August 14, 2018
My counter tops are navy blue in kitchen and both bathrooms. I currently have painted the house a sand color. It still clashes to me. The cabinets are all white. What would be a nice color to brighten up the kitchen and bathrooms.